De­fense, ground game lift Ea­gles to vic­tory

Ea­gles slow down Matt Ryan, Fal­cons in much-needed win

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rob Maaddi

Ryan Mathews ran for 108 yards and two touch­downs, a tena­cious de­fense held down the league’s high­est-scor­ing of­fense and the Philadel­phia Ea­gles beat the At­lanta Fal­cons 2415 on Sun­day.

Car­son Wentz threw for 231 yards and led the Ea­gles (5-4) to a come­back vic­tory for the first time this sea­son. Caleb Stur­gis made three field goals, in­clud­ing a clutch kick from 48 yards to seal the win late.

Matt Ryan threw a 76-yard touch­down pass to Tay­lor Gabriel in the fourth quar­ter to give At­lanta (6-4) a 15-13 lead, but Philadel­phia an­swered.

Mathews ran in from the 5 and also con­verted the 2-point con­ver­sion for a 21-15 lead with 7:14 left in the game.

On At­lanta’s en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, Julio Jones dropped a pass on third-and-12 and the Fal­cons punted away. Jones couldn’t make a dif­fi­cult catch on fourth-and-5 on At­lanta’s next drive.

Jones, sport­ing fash­ion­able

cleats to sup­port the NFL’s Salute To Ser­vice, had 10 catches for 135 yards.

The Fal­cons came in av­er­ag­ing 33.8 points. But they set­tled for field goals of 38, 43 and 46 yards by Matt Bryant be­fore Ryan con­nected with Gabriel.

Mathews had just nine car­ries com­bined in the past two games while 33-year-old Dar­ren Sproles was fea­tured. But coach Doug Ped­er­son made a point to es­tab­lish the run right away. Mathews car­ried seven times for 34 yards on the first drive, tak­ing it in from the 4 for a 7-0 lead.

Rookie Wen­dell Small­wood had 70 yards rush­ing and Philadel­phia fin­ished with a sea­son-high 207 on the ground.

Ryan was 18 of 33 for 267 yards, one TD and one in­ter­cep­tion. HOME DOM­I­NANCE >> The Ea­gles are 4-0 at home, in­clud­ing con­vinc­ing wins over the Steelers and Vik­ings. DOU­BLE DUTY >> Bryant had two de­cent punts af­ter Matt Bosher left with a ham­string in­jury in the fourth quar­ter. DRIVE-STOP­PERS >> Vic Beasley Jr. had two sacks, in­clud­ing a strip that forced Wentz to fum­ble and the Fal­cons re­cov­ered at their own 42. Philip Wheeler stopped Mathews at the 1 and Paul Wor­rilow tacked Mathews for a 1-yard loss on the next play to force a field goal in the fourth quar­ter. PLAY­ING DEEP >> On con­sec­u­tive plays to end the first half, Jones and then Ea­gles wide re­ceiver Do­rial Green-Beck­ham played deep safety to de­fend po­ten­tial des­per­a­tion passes. IN­JURIES >> Ea­gles CB Nolan Car­roll left the game late in the first half af­ter sus­tain­ing a con­cus­sion . ... Fal­cons CB Des­mond Tr­u­fant, RB Tevin Cole­man and TE Jacob Tamme sat out with in­juries. Ea­gles LG Allen Bar­bre missed his sec­ond straight game. UP NEXT >> The Fal­cons host the Ari­zona Car­di­nals, while the Ea­gles visit the Seat­tle Sea­hawks.

MICHAEL PEREZ — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Ea­gles’ cor­ner­back Leodis McKelvin, cen­ter, cel­e­brates a game-seal­ing in­ter­cep­tion with Rod­ney McLeod, right, and Vinny Curry late in the sec­ond half against the At­lanta Fal­cons, Sun­day in Philadel­phia.

MATT ROURKE — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Ea­gles’ QB Car­son Wentz looks to pass dur­ing the sec­ond half against the At­lanta Fal­cons Sun­day.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Ea­gles’ Ryan Mathews (24) scores a touch­down dur­ing the sec­ond half of Sun­day’s game against the At­lanta Fal­cons in Philadel­phia.

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