Eagles Hold On Against the Falcons to Reach the N.F.C. Title Game

Eagles Hold On Against the Falcons to Reach the N.F.C. Title Game


Matt Ryan’s final pass sailed over Julio Jones’s head in the end zone, assuring the Eagles’ first playoff victory since the 2008 season.

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The Eagles’ Jay Ajayi (36) was upended in the first half of the game against the Falcons on Saturday in Philadelphia. Ajayi, a midseason acquisition, carried for 54 yards over all.

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Michael Perez/Associated Press

Next Sunday, the Eagles will host either Minnesota or New Orleans to decide which N.F.C. team will play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 4. The Eagles have reached the Super Bowl twice, losing both times — to the Oakland Raiders after the 1980 season and to the New England Patriots 13 years ago.

Despite being the No. 1 seed, the Eagles were underdogs because of quarterback Carson Wentz’s absence.

“We just kept believing in each other,” said Foles, who became the starter when Wentz tore a knee ligament in December. “That was it. Our team never wavered, defense did an amazing job, special teams — that’s just been the story this year is that we just all stuck together.”

Foles was 23 for 30 for 246 yards over all, while Ryan was 22 of 36 for 210. Neither threw an interception.

On the Eagles’ 74-yard drive, Foles was 5 for 6 for 70 yards, the only incompletion being a drop by Jay Ajayi. The drive ended with Elliott’s 37-yard kick into the wind that made the score 12-10 in the third quarter.

The Eagles then put together an 80-yard drive covering 14 plays, but again faltered close to the end zone. Elliott added a 21-yard kick with 6 minutes 2 seconds remaining after Coach Doug Pederson briefly considered going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 3.

Then, as the Philadelphia fans held their breath, the Eagles held on deep in their territory.

“Man, just stay calm,” said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who was a force all day. “We always talk about that. We’ve been in those situations during the regular season, so we kind of know how to handle those situations, not try to make a play but let the play come to us.”

And the road to the Super Bowl remains through Philadelphia.



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