The defense tightened up on Atlanta's third possession, forcing a three-and-out, and by the middle of the third quarter, the Falcons had just 65 rushing yards and defensive end Trent Cole dominated the Atlanta offensive line, making big tackle after big play.
Fool me once . . .
The Eagles used deception for two big touchdown plays against the Falcons last season - scoring on a reverse to DeSean Jackson and a fake reverse that ended up as a deep throw to Jeremy Maclin.
They tried trickery again early Sunday but with less success. On the Eagles' first drive, quarterback Michael Vick lined up at wide receiver. Maclin took the snap and handed off to running back LeSean McCoy who flipped the ball to Vick, who was looking for Jackson deep. This time, though, the Falcons had two men sticking with Jackson. Vick ran for 7 yards.
The Eagles later ran a reverse to Maclin, but he was stopped after just a 1-yard gain.
Allen on special teams
Eagles safety Nate Allen, a starter in training camp, was playing special teams to start Sunday's game. Allen, a second-round pick a year ago, was blocking on the Eagles kick-return team and played on the punt-coverage unit. Allen was strictly a safety last year, but he lost his starting job in the preseason as he appeared slowed by a torn patellar tendon suffered in December. With linebacker Akeem Jordan out Sunday, the Eagles needed another body on special teams.
In a familiar place
Rookie punter Chas Henry, familiar with the Georgia Dome after kicking well there in Southeastern Conference title games in college, got off a nice opening punt, booting the ball 49 yards to pin Atlanta on its own 11. His second punt, though, went just 36 yards and was returned 19.
Henry set SEC championship game punting records as a sophomore and junior at Florida.
Fellow rookie special teamer Alex Henery hit his first field-goal attempt, from 22 yards, but came up way short on a 63-yard attempt to end the first half.
Eagles first-round pick Danny Watkins dressed for this game after being inactive Week 1. Second- and third-round picks Jaiquawn Jarrett and Curtis Marsh were inactive again.
Watkins began the game on the bench, though. Kyle DeVan started at right guard.
Defensive end Darryl Tapp, who strained his pectoral muscle last week, was also inactive, as were quarterback Vince Young (hamstring) and Jordan (shoulder). Tackle Winston Justice and rookie guard Julian Vandervelde also did not dress.
Jackson dropped a sure touchdown in the second quarter. The Eagles scored two plays later on a Vick throw to Maclin.
Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, email@example.com, or @JonathanTamari on Twitter.