Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta Falls to the Philadelphia Eagles in Disappointing Loss

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Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta Falls to the Philadelphia Eagles in Disappointing Loss
Al Bello/Getty Images

On the strength of a number of big plays, the Philadelphia Eagles put an end to the talk of the Atlanta Falcons being the best team in the NFC, at least for now.

On Philadelphia's second play of their opening drive, DeSean Jackson took a handoff from Kevin Kolb 31 yards for a touchdown, and the Eagles never looked back, winning 31-17.

The next time Philly had the ball, Kolb connected with Jackson for a 34-yard touchdown pass.

Unfortunately for Jackson, it would be the last pass he caught in the game, and it could be the last he catches for quite a while.

Jackson was knocked out of the game in the second quarter after an extremely violent collision with Falcons' corner Dunta Robinson, who also left the game following the hit.

Jackson is said to have suffered a severe concussion, including some memory loss.

The only word on Robinson was that he suffered a head injury.

With the NFL's emphasis on the prevention and treatment of these types of injuries, it is unknown when either player will be back on the field.

To add insult to injury, Robinson was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver on the play, a 15-yard penalty, and the Eagles quickly capitalized, with Kolb hitting Jeremy Maclin on an 8-yard touchdown pass.

The score made it 21-0 in favor of Philadelphia, and while Atlanta did their best to make it slightly more interesting, they fell short of a seriously threatening a comeback.

The Falcons got the score to 21-10 in the third quarter, but Kolb found Maclin for a touchdown again, this time going for 83 yards.

Kolb finished the day 23 of 29 for 326 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

His counterpart, the Falcons' Matt Ryan, had a day to forget; completing barely more than 50 percent of his passes while gaining 250 yards, throwing two touchdowns and one interception.

Atlanta's defense had been good about giving up yards but not giving up points, coming into the game allowing just 14 a game.

They were unable to prevent big plays against Philadelphia, and that, really, was their downfall.

If you take away the 44 yards Jackson gained on just two carries, Atlanta would have once again been solid against the run, but "what if's" don't get you very far in football.

Maclin was Philadelphia's leading receiver, gaining 159 yards and scoring two touchdowns on five catches.

In his first game since suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason, Falcons' receiver Michael Jenkins led the way in Atlanta's passing attack, gaining 99 yards on five catches.

Philadelphia was, relatively speaking, able to hold Roddy White in check as he gained 83 yards on six grabs and was held out of the end zone.

Tony Gonzalez was the recipient on both of Matt Ryan's touchdown passes.

This game is surely a step back for the Falcons, although it is part of "the process" of a young team growing up, as coach Mike Smith would say.

While no loss is ever good, this should help Atlanta in the long run as it will show them what areas of the game they need to work on most, namely their pass coverage.

The offense also needs to do a better job of getting in gear quickly, as it seems they have trouble getting in the flow early in games.

This is a team that needs to keep the score close as their biggest strength is their running game.  When they fall behind early like they did on Sunday, they are forced to go away from what they do best.

Running back Michael Turner was able to gain only 45 yards on just 15 carries.

The defense gave up a ton of yards, 474 to be exact, and there is no excuse for giving up so many big plays, but they were routinely put in bad field position with the offense unable to pick up first downs in the early going.

Atlanta will be back at home next week to take on Cincinnati, while the Eagles travel to Tennessee.

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