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By Matt Ryan, Sports Talk Philly Contributor
The Eagles open up their season, and the Nick Sirianni era, in Atlanta where they take on the Falcons who finished last season with a 4-12 record. The Eagles enter the half with a 15-6 lead. Here’s what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:
WR DeVonta Smith and QB Jalen Hurts
In his NFL debut, Smith starred in the first half, racking up 52 yards on five catches, and hurling in the Eagles first touchdown of the season: a 18-yard dime from Hurts. The wide receivers have struggled for the Eagles over the past couple years, but it seems like Smith has separated himself as the team’s number one wideout this season. Hurts also shined in he first half, throwing for 169 yards, rushing for 37 yards and tossing two touchdowns.
Eagles Red Zone Defense
The first two drives of the game saw the Falcons march right down the field, inside the Eagles 20-yard line. On both drives, the defense stopped the Falcons on goal-to-go situations and held them to field goals. If not for stellar play on D in a short field, this would be a much different ball game.
The Eagles didn’t give up any huge plays, but they did miss some tackles resulting in solid, drive-continuing gains. Jonathan Gannon’s defense needs to make their open-field tackles, or the Eagles could be in for a second half of big Falcons plays.
RB Cordarrelle Patterson
Patterson had a big first half for the Falcons, rushing for 54 yards and multiple first downs. Overall, the Falcons offense had a good first half but struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone. If the Eagles can slow down Patterson and continue their tight red zone defense, they should set themselves up for a week one victory.