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Eagles dust off Mathews, grind out win over Falcons

The Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) dusted off Ryan Mathews and a power-rushing attack, grinding out a 24-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons (6-4) in Week 10. Here's what we learned:

  1. The Eagles designed their game plan to control the clock and keep the NFL's highest-scoring offense off the field. After playing just 18 snaps combined in the past two weeks, Mathews was the focal point of Philadelphia's attack behind a surging offensive line that controlled the line of scrimmage and bullied the Falcons' perennially spineless defense. Mathews' 109-yard rushing performance was the Eagles' first over the century mark since October of last season -- and the first versus Atlanta since Adrian Peterson last November.
  1. Matt Ryan played better than his numbers would suggest, but the Falcons had no chain-moving running game and failed to exploit the Eagles' weakness at cornerback. With the exception of Taylor Gabriel's devastating double-move on Leodis McKelvin for a 76-yard touchdown, Ryan got little help from the supporting cast behind Julio Jones. Although Ryan and Jones connected on a series of passes with high degrees of difficulty, the All-Pro receiver suffered a key third-down drop and failed to pull in a back-shoulder throw in tight coverage with the game on the line.
  1. The Falcons have nothing about which to hang their heads entering the Week 11 bye. Their mettle has been tested as much as any division leader in the league this season. They should welcome back a healthy Tevin Coleman and Jacob Tamme after the bye, rounding out an offense that was one-dimensional Sunday for the first time all season. With New Orleans and Carolina each suffering last-minute, heart-breaking losses in Week 10, Atlanta still has a commanding lead in the NFC South.
  1. Credit Doug Pederson with astute game management late in a tight contest. Mathews' two-point conversion gave the Eagles a six-point lead with just under seven minutes remaining. Pederson then opted to play it relatively safe with a 48-yard Caleb Sturgis field-goal attempt on fourth-and-1, extending Philadelphia's lead to two scores -- thus preventing another cardiac comeback attempt from Ryan. Regardless of the tight race in their own division, the Eagles are right in thick of a wide-open NFC wild-card picture.
  1. Breaking out with authority in his second season, Falcons edge rusher Vic Beasley has flashed a lightning-quick first step reminiscent of Von Miller's in Denver. With two more sacks and a forced fumble on Sunday, Beasley is up to 9.5 QB takedowns on the season -- behind only the 10 of Lorenzo Alexander and Dee Ford.
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