The top-seeded Eagles embraced their role as an underdog. "And it's the underdog mask and I wasn't going to field any questions but I decided I would field them in the dog mask".
Eagles coach Doug Pederson's message to Nick Foles this week was "just be Nick". "There was a lot of outside noise. You're aware of it because you're human but we blocked it out". Philadelphia had to call upon its defense to preserve the lead, with Matt Ryan's fourth-and-goal pass to Julio Jones with just more than one minute remaining falling incomplete. We're disappointed that we didn't make the play, but I thought it was a good call.
Despite being the NFC's top seed and hosting the NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Falcons, the Eagles entered Saturday's contest as three-point underdogs.
"Obviously, there will be some scheme from that game that we'll take, what went well and what didn't go well and try to improve on that", Ryan said. "There were too many times that we were a little bit inconsistent". ". We don't care what anybody else says". "The defense said all week long they're not gonna let us lose the game, and they didn't".
Foles was 23 for 30 for 246 yards over all, while Ryan was 22 of 36 for 210.
Receiver Alshon Jeffery said of Foles: "We never doubted him. Us running backs we just had to run hard", Ajayi said after the 15-10 victory. We've got home-field advantage throughout. We believe in anybody lining up back there at quarterback. Last year, it was the most gobsmacking loss in Super Bowl history, the evaporation of a 25-point lead and an overtime loss to the New England Patriots.
"That's one of the areas we are dialed in from the beginning of the season to where how we make sure those aren't field goals and they turn into touchdowns", coach Dan Quinn said. "For now, it's just tough".
The Eagles then went 15-10 ahead with another Elliott field goal in the fourth, crucially taking almost eight minutes off the clock with a 14-play, 80-yard drive.
Then the Eagles (14-3) held when Atlanta (11-7) got to the 9-yard line with a first down, and to the 2 for a fourth-down play.
"It really doesn't matter what you guys talk about because that locker room in there is united and I'll go to bat for every one of those guys and I'll go to war with every one of those guys in that dressing room". "The Eagles brought me in and I'm going to keep working and show I belong".
It's even more impossible when you essentially send just two pass catchers out on routes and have them stand in place, within yards of each other.
The Falcons received a break when they recovered their own punt on the next possession to take over at the Phildelphia 18-yard line.
A 12-play, 74-yard drive on which Foles threw for 70 yards led to Elliott's 37-yard kick into the wind that made it 12-10. LeGarrette Blount ended up doing the honors on the next play to give the Eagles a 6-3 lead (the extra point was missed).