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Three reasons the Eagles couldn't hang on against the Falcons

The Eagles made it a game, and even took the lead Monday night -- but costly mistakes resulted on an opening day loss.
Sam Bradford threw two costly interceptions in the Eagles' loss Monday.Getty Images

Last season, the Eagles closed a 17-point gap at halftime to win their opener.

This year the 17-point gapwas closed, but a missed Cody Parkey field goal and last-minute interception ended Philadelphia'shopes of a win Monday night in Atlanta. The 26-24 setback has the Eagles at 0-1 to start the year.

The run-game was slow to develop, when it did at all, the offensive line committed too many penalties for the resilient offense to overcome, and the secondary had no answer for Julio Jones.

Slow to run

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The Eagles ran the football 16 times for 63 yards. They threw the ball 52 times.

DeMarco Murray, a workhorse who averaged more than 100 yards per game with Dallas in 2014 ran eight times for nine yards.

And though the Birds were able to work their running backs into the swing of things with the short passing game in the second half (and Darren Sprolestallied 50 yards running mostly east and west in the second half) the Eagles were one-dimentionaland that's no way to win a football game.

The backs combined for 14 receptionsand the Eagles mounted a serious comeback effort, taking the lead 24-23 early in the forth quarter. But with the lead they were unable to continue their last drive of the game and Parkey's missed field goal proved Philly's undoing.

Secondary woes

The Eagles brought in Byron Maxwell because they had no answer for the elite receivers in the NFC. But Julio Jones made short work of Maxwell and the rest of the Birds secondary as Jones picked up nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

Two big interceptions certainly helped the Eagles' cause, as did their third down attack, holding the Falcons to a 4-for-14 mark. However allowing 114.6 QB rating is never acceptable for an NFL defense with Super Bowl aspirations.

Penalties and mistakes

The Eagles committed a lot of penalties -- 10 for 88 yards. On their big, long, 13-play 97 yard drive to seize their first lead of the season the Birds overcame four penalties in the drive.

But aside from those setbacks the offensive line looked positively rusty and out of whack. One key penalty took back a big Ryan Mathews screen pass that may have allowed the Eagles to score more easily on their second-to-last drive.

The mistakes were numerousand in a first half that saw the team outscored 20-3 it is remarkable the Eagles were even able to make it a game. But the biggest mistake of course, wasParkey's.

"It was a 44-yarder, we had great confidence in Cody," Chip Kelly said of his decision to kick on fourth and one. "The ball was in the middle of the field I didn't think it was a tough one."

 
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