October 18 Philadelphia Daily News:
“The Eagles’ defense really needed this, after the early beating the Redskins inflicted 2 weeks ago, after the unseemly late-game foldup last week at San Francisco that made a solid win a nail-biter.
Atlanta’s first five possessions yesterday, the Falcons managed two first downs. The score was 21-0 before Matt Ryan got cranking, and the Eagles, going back to the Jim Johnson days, are in their element when they force a run-first team to throw. The Falcons briefly got back into it late in the first half on a touchdown set up by an interception, but the team that led the league in possession time had the ball just 25 minutes, 57 seconds to the Eagles’ 34:03. After watching the 49ers convert eight of 13 third downs last week, the Eagles held the Falcons to four of 14, two of eight in the first half, when it still mattered.
The Falcons’ ground game came in ranked second in the league, but it left the Linc with just 65 yards on 19 carries and a long run of 9.
“The biggest thing was, I didn’t want them to keep the ball away from our offense,” defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said after his unit held Michael Turner to 45 yards on 15 carries, despite missing starting defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. Antonio Dixon started in Bunkley’s place, for the first time in his career, and was impressive, with lots of help from Trevor Laws and Darryl Tapp. “I wanted us to give our offense a chance, and our players did that, our defensive line and linebackers stepped up, our secondary, and held them to 65 yards on the run game, gave our offense a chance to score.”
“If anybody tells me we can’t stop the run, we showed them right there,” said defensive end Trent Cole, credited with two sacks and five tackles.
Laws said: “People played their assignments. No one was giving up the edge. Ends, as well as linebackers, were setting the edge, waiting for the ball to cut back. D-tackles, they were in their gaps. No one was getting out of their lanes. We played real disciplined in the run game.”
One of McDermott’s biggest early season moves came before the San Francisco game, when he reinstated Moise Fokou at strongside linebacker, in place of Akeem Jordan. Fokou forced a fumble last week, and managed four tackles yesterday.”
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