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Shield Talk: News and notes

Brent Jansen, Columnist

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It’s official. The NFL is back!

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons 18-12. The game went down to the last play as well, but the Eagles defense held strong. Here are some of the top stories from the night:

Falcon’s S Keanu Neal Tears ACL, out for the season

The Falcons were subject to a number of injuries last night, especially on the defensive side. Most notably was safety Keanu Neal. Neal left the game in the first half with an apparent knee injury but returned in the second half. Neal left again and didn’t return. After the game, it was announced that Neal tore his ACL and is out for the remainder for the season. Neal’s back-up, Damontae Kazee entered for Neal and caused a dropped pass to be intercepted.

Julio Jones’ Monster Performance (outside of the red zone)

Falcons’ star wide receiver, Julio Jones, had a dominant performance with 10 catches for 169 yards. During the Falcons’ final drive of the game, in need of a touchdown, Jones had 3 catches for 63 yards, but failed to connect in the end zone. Over the past two seasons, Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ QB, is 1-20 when targeting Jones in the end zone. Last night, Ryan was 0-3 with an interception when targeting Jones in the end zone. In Ryan’s defense, Jones was being double covered by the Eagles on every play in the red zone. Nonetheless, if the Falcons want to win games, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones need to connect in the end zone.

Eagles call Philly Special 2.0

During the Eagles Super Bowl win, they performed a wildcat end-around pass to QB Nick Foles for a touchdown. The play has been since called the “Philly Special” or “Philly Philly”. The Eagles decided to call that play again last night. It led to a 15-yard gain, an Eagles first down, and the drive ended in the first touchdown of the NFL season. The play got the fans out of their seats after being unimpressed by the Eagles lack luster offense in the first half. After the play, the Eagles soared past the Falcons thanks to the help of running back Jay Ajayi, who had two touchdowns on the night.

Penalty Problems

There was a total of 26 penalties called on the Eagles and Falcons combined. Both teams were racked up over 100 yards worth of penalties, an embarrassing number on both sides. The referees were also making some questionable calls, notably a Julio Jones catch that was

declared incomplete because he was out of bounds when he finally gained possession. After reviewing the play, it looked as if Jones had possession and was in bounds, but the referees stuck to their original ruling.

The rest of the NFL plays their games this upcoming Sunday as well as two games on Monday night.

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