• Falcons pull out dramatic win with Jones' touchdown

    By: D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


    ATLANTA - With things looking kind of bleak, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan tossed a short screen out to wide receiver Julio Jones on a fourth down and 3.

    After picking up a nice block from left tackle Jake Matthews, Jones took off on a 54-yard touchdown run and became the franchise's all-time leader in career receiving yards, passing his mentor Roddy White, as he lifted the Falcons to a 24-20 victory over the Eagles on Sunday night before a raucous crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

    The Falcons kicked away a 17-6 lead and could not stop a 13-play, 73-yard touchdown march. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz scored from a yard out with 3:13 to play.

    He then tossed a two-point conversion to tight end Zach Ertz to put the Eagles ahead 20-17, for their first lead of the game.

    On the ensuing drive and staring an 0-2 start in the face, the Falcons eased up to their 46, but had to go for it on fourth down. With the game on the line, Jones and Ryan connected for some football magic to lift the Falcons to 1-1. The Eagles dropped to 1-1.  

    The Falcons weren't in the clear, until Vic Beasley came up with a sack on third down, forcing a fourth and 14 from the Eagles' 39 with 1:29 left.  

    Wentz connected with Nelson Agholor for a 43-yard gain to move to the Falcons' 18.

    Keanu Neal and Isaiah Oliver stopped tight end Zach Ertz short of the first down to seal the victory. 

    Jones finished with five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley had eight catches for 105 yards and 1 TD. 


    Ryan is 11-1 in home openers. 

    The Falcons were opportunistic, as they scored two touchdowns off of the three turnovers they created to open a 17-6 lead in the third quarter. 

    The Falcons, in their home opener, needed to play much better after a listless performance in the 28-12 loss to the Vikings. 

    The run defense shut down the Eagles and cornerback Desmond Trufant came up with two interceptions, but the team could not withstand quarterback Matt Ryan tossing three interceptions.

    Trufant, who didn't have an interception last season, had his last pick 23 games ago against Seattle in a 34-31 win on Nov. 20, 2017.

    Falcons right tackle Kaleb McGary left the game with a knee jury with 8:10 left in the second quarter. He returned to the game in the fourth quarter. Punter Matt Bosher, who normally handles the kickoffs, did not against the Eagles.

    No injury was announced. 

    The Falcons are already without first-round pick Chris Lindstrom, who was placed on injured reserve after suffered a broken fifth metatarsal in his foot against the Vikings.

    McGary was injured on a running play on first down-and-10 from the Falcons' 36. Running back Devonta Freeman picked up four yards on the play.  Ty Sambrailo went in at right tackle for the Falcons. 

    The Eagles played most of the game without wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin).

    Turnovers played a role for both teams.

    The Eagles made a field goal and a touchdown off two of Ryan's interceptions. The defense forced a punt.  

    This was Ryan's 176 career start and just his 10th game with three interceptions. Ryan didn't have two interceptions in any game last season. The last time he threw three in a game was in a 20-17 win over the Saints on Dec. 7, 2017.

    This article was written by D. Orlando Ledbetter with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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