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Underdog Eagles oust Falcons, advance to NFC Championship Game  3 Months ago

Source:   USA Today  

PHILADELPHIA — Take that, doubters. Turns out that the Philadelphia Eagles can indeed win a playoff game with Nick Foles.

Especially when they add a big-play defense, determined running and clutch play-calling to the mix.

The Eagles are headed to the NFC Championship Game on the heels of a 15-10 victory against the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday that was preserved by a goal-line stand in the final minute.

Foles, filling in for injured star quarterback Carson Wentz, led the Eagles on two long field goal drives in the second half, then left it up to Philadelphia’s defense to close the deal.

Matt Ryan’s chance to rally the Falcons to victory in his hometown came down to a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Ryan sprinted right and looked in the corner for Julio Jones. But Jones was unable to snag the ball over cornerback Jalen Mills.

Poof went the chances of the defending NFC champions to return to the Super Bowl.

Many believed that the Eagles’ chances were even worse, with Foles subbing for Wentz. For the first time since the 1970 merger, a No. 1 seed in the playoffs was considered an underdog by oddsmakers.

But the Eagles were not deterred — even after committing two first-half turnovers that led to 10 Atlanta points.

Foles (23-of-30, 246 yards), though, avoided the big gaffe even while missing on potential big plays. Instead, he was a steady hand that helped Philadelphia collect points on scoring drives that went for 14 plays, 12 plays and finally, 14 plays in crunch time.

Meanwhile, the Eagles defense stiffened with its back against the goal post. As has been the case for much of the season, the Falcons struggled after reaching red zone. Atlanta mustered just one TD on three trips inside the 20, and in the end it cost them a chance to advance.

***

PHOTOS: NFL divisional playoff action

 

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