Eagles hold off Falcons to begin title defense

The Philadelphia Eagles came up with another goal-line stand against the Atlanta Falcons and eked out an 18-12 victory in an ugly, flag-filled affair to open the NFL regular season Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.Matt Ryan threw five incompletions from the 10-yard line in the final seconds, including a 5-yard fade caught by Julio Jones on the final play, but Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby kept Jones from coming down inbounds. That was after an extra chance for Atlanta after Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks was called for illegal contact on fourth-and-goal from the 10.The Falcons had driven 70 yards on 12 plays before coming up short, as Jones made three grabs for 60 yards on the series, including an 18-yarder on third-and-17. But the failure on the final play was all too reminiscent of Ryan’s incompletion to Jones on fourth down with 1:05 left in the divisional playoffs in January, again helping Philly survive.Jay Ajayi’s second rushing touchdown, an 11-yard rumble, gave the Eagles the lead with 2:25 remaining, after Darren Sproles converted a third-and-8 and Corey Clement had a 21-yard run earlier in the drive.Ajayi also scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter, after the drive was extended by a 15-yard reception by Nick Foles on a variant of the famous “Philly Special” to convert a third-and-5.”We needed to do something,” Foles told NBC of the “Philly Special II” in an on-field interview postgame. “Went over to [head coach] Doug [Pederson], we were both thinking the same thing. He called it. It was the right time again. We needed a little boost, a little something, we needed to make a play, so it was just the right time for it.”The Eagles’ offense was booed on its way to the tunnel for halftime after gaining just 68 yards on 30 plays. Even after a second-half surge, Foles finished 19 of 34 for just 117 yards and an interception.Atlanta’s offense managed just nine points in five red-zone trips, failing on a fourth-and-1 on the opening possession and coming up empty again on the final drive. The Falcons led 6-3 at the half on a pair of Matt Bryant field goals.

Question of the Day

Sept 20

Q: Nearly half of people admit finding a good one can be stressful… A: Parking spot

Sept 19

Q: Men tend to do this twice as much in the course of a day than women… A: Sweat

Sept 18

Q: Just over half of people believe they do this more than their friends… A: Give to charity