ATLANTA - Kicker Matt Bryant scored 14 of Atlanta’s 26 points on four converted field goals and two extra points following touchdowns as the Falcons defeated the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 Saturday night in the NFC Wild Card game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Regardless of field goals or touchdowns, the sixth-seeded Falcons (11-6) kept their postseason dream of winning a Super Bowl alive.
The Falcons will now travel to the great northeast to take on the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) Saturday evening in the NFC Divisional Round at Lincoln Financial Field.
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Atlanta is no stranger to Philadelphia as the two teams have played each other 33 times, with the Eagles winning 18 games and the Falcons winning 14 games. The two teams played to a tie (13-13) once in 1970 at Franklin Field.
Dating back to 2008 – the beginning of the Matt Ryan era in Atlanta – the Falcons are 3-4 against the Eagles in the regular season.
Even more, when playing at Lincoln Financial Field during this same timespan, Atlanta is 0-4 against Philadelphia.
2008 – Falcons lose to Eagles, 27-14, at Lincoln Financial Field.
2009 – Falcons lose to Eagles, 34-7, at Georgia Dome.
2010 – Falcons lose to Eagles, 31-17, at Lincoln Financial Field.
2011 – Falcons defeat Eagles, 35-31, at Georgia Dome.
2012 – Falcons defeat Eagles, 30-17, at Lincoln Financial Field.
2015 – Falcons defeat Eagles, 26-24, at Georgia Dome.
2016 – Falcons lose to Eagles, 24-15, at Lincoln Financial Field.
2016 Highlights/Results: Eagles’ Carson Wentz threw for 231 yards and running back Ryan Matthews rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles defeated the Falcons, 24-15. Atlanta finished the game with 303 yards of total offense but only 48 rushing yards in the game. Ryan finished the game with 267 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Falcons struggled to convert in third-down situations (2-for-11), loss the battle in time of possession (21:50 to the Eagles 36:10), loss the battle in number of first downs converted (11 to Eagles 25) and the third-down struggles and penalties kept Atlanta away from the end zone for touchdowns. Instead, the Falcons went 3-for-4 in field goals.
Follow Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein as he brings you the latest coverage from the Falcons-Eagles game Saturday evening from Lincoln Financial Field.
This year’s divisional playoff game marks the fourth time the Falcons and the Eagles have played in the postseason. The Falcons are 1-2 in the playoffs against the Eagles, with their only victory coming in 1978 when Atlanta defeated Philadelphia 14-13 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the former home of the Falcons before the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons more recent playoff games against the Eagles date back to when Michael Vick led the team as quarterback. Vick led the Falcons at quarterback in the Falcons playoff games against Philadelphia in 2003 and 2005. Both times, however, Atlanta suffered losses to Philadelphia, a team that featured former quarterback Donovan McNabb and running back Brian Westbrook on offense and a defense anchored by Brian Dawkins and Corey Simon, to name a few.
2003 Postseason – The Eagles defeated the Falcons, 20-6, in the 2002 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Veterans Stadium.
2005 Postseason – The Eagles defeated the Falcons, 27-10, in the 2004 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field.
While the previous numbers may not favor Atlanta, the game is played on the field. Ryan hopes to lead the Falcons to their first postseason road win against the Eagles and their second postseason win against Philadelphia all-time.
Atlanta, which finished the regular season ranked ninth in total defense, will not be given the task of stopping an Eagles’ offense that was led by quarterback Carson Wentz, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a 43-35 victory against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 10.
Wentz, who was having a stellar year for the Eagles, finished the season with 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Instead of Wentz, the Falcons will be charged with stopping quarterback Nick Foles who will be leading the Eagles’ offense Saturday evening, an offensive unit that finished the regular season ranked seventh in total offense (366 yards per game) averaging nearly 29 points per game, 13th in pass offense (234) with 38 passing touchdowns, the most in the NFL and third in rush offense (132).
In the final three games of the regular season for the Eagles, Foles threw five touchdowns and two interceptions in victories over the New York Giants, the Oakland Raiders but a loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Against the Cowboys, Foles threw the second of his two interceptions and finished the game 4-of-11 for a dismal 39 yards before being replaced by quarterback Nate Sudfeld. The majority of the Eagles’ starters also did not play in their season finale.
The Falcons ended the season ranked ninth in total defense (318), 12th in pass defense (214), 9th in rush defense (104) and limited their opponents to nearly 20 points per game. Against the Rams in the Wild Card round, the Falcons held the NFL’s top scoring offense to 13 points.
Look for Falcons coach Dan Quinn and first-year defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel to put together a game plan for the Falcons to get after Foles in hopes of disrupting the Eagles’ offense and the Falcons moving one step closer to playing for a Super Bowl in 2018.
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