The most egregious example came on Atlanta's first two drives of the second half. On the first possession, faced with second down and 10, the Falcons ran a wide-receiver screen to Julio Jones. All four Eagles linemen - ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole and tackles Cullen Jenkins and Fletcher Cox - were unblocked as the Falcons linemen ran up field. All four defensive linemen didn't realize that when they're not blocked a screen pass is usually in the works. Quarterback Matt Ryan hit Jones with the quick throw and the receiver, with blockers, ran for a 37-yard gain.
A series later, the Falcons ran the same play and the Eagles linemen reacted - or failed to correctly react - the same way. Babin and Cole made futile attempts to get to Ryan as he zipped a pass to Jones, who zig-zagged his way for 10 yards and a first down.
There were several running back screens over the middle that effectively used the left defensive end's assertiveness against him. On the Falcons' second touchdown, Ryan drew Brandon Graham to him and flicked a short throw to Jason Snelling, who ran 3 yards virtually untouched into the end zone. In the third quarter, Atlanta converted on third down with a shovel pass to Snelling that went by the over-pursuing Babin.
Rewind the tape
Even before he was named defensive coordinator two weeks ago, several players had praised Todd Bowles for his preparedness. But the Eagles defense, especially the secondary, looked anything but prepared on the Falcons' first drive. The resulting touchdown came when four defenders bit on a Ryan pump-fake on third-and-7 at the 15-yard line. Receiver Drew Davis was lined up in the slot. Jones was outside to his right. Cornerback Brandon Boykin was opposite Davis and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was 10 yards off Jones. Safety Kurt Coleman was deep, a shade behind and to the right of Rodgers-Cromartie. DeMeco Ryans was in the box, so it's difficult to assign any blame to the linebacker when he bit on the screen fake to Jones.
Boykin went for Jones and handed Davis off. The primary culprits in leaving Davis alone in the back of the end zone were Coleman and Rodgers-Cromartie, who both tried to jump the route. Coleman said after the game that it was a look the Falcons hadn't shown inside the red zone this season.
Eagles coach Andy Reid typically did not call out any individual players. "It wasn't as much a busted coverage as we needed [to] be softer," he said after the game. "We were bailing on that."
In the spotlight
1. In his first career start at right guard, Dennis Kelly did not make any colossal mistakes. That's about all you could have probably asked out of the fifth-round rookie. The Eagles' offensive game plan was designed to aid the struggling offensive line. Michael Vick threw downfield beyond 20 yards only twice all game. Kelly seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. His worst moment may not have even been entirely his fault. When a defensive tackle looped inside, Kelly had no one to block and failed to pick up a blitzing Sean Weatherspoon. Vick, who threw an incomplete pass just before he got decked, should have probably recognized the blitzer, too. It'll be interesting to see if Danny Watkins still has his job when he returns from an ankle injury.
2. It is fair to say that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had his worst game of the season. Aside from his involvement in the Falcons' first touchdown, he had other low moments. He was soft on Jones when the receiver caught a 7-yard pass on third down and four in the second. He was whistled for two penalties - holding and pass interference - when Jones turned him around later on the same drive. And he made a half-hearted effort to tackle Jacquizz Rodgers after a Nate Allen whiff. The running back ran 43 yards on the play.
3.Jason Babin, who had been playing more than any other defensive end, saw his snap counts decrease as Graham got more playing time. Babin played 33 of 75 possible snaps and Graham played 31. Babin went his fourth straight game without a sack and he was credited with only one tackle. His pass-interference penalty on third down and 10 on the Falcons' first drive was a killer. Bowles called for a fire-zone blitz and Babin stayed with Rodgers as he went out for a pass. Babin isn't asked to pass defend much, but he blatantly grabbed the running back 10 yards shy of the marker. Graham, meanwhile, was pretty much the only Eagles defensive end to help with stopping the run. He could start ahead of Babin on Monday night against the Saints.
This and that
For all the talk about Bowles adding the blitz to his defense, he ended up sending very few extra pass rushers. He blitzed three times on 34 drop-backs. Ryan completed 3 of 3 passes for 36 yards when blitzed. There were two other blitzes but the Eagles were called for penalties - Babin's and Rodgers-Cromartie's pass interferences.
It was only one series, but not having Mychal Kendricks hurt when the Falcons converted on third and 2 on the opening drive. Casey Matthews, in for Kendricks at strong-side linebacker, was clearly in the wrong spot at the snap and it threw off the Eagles' entire coverage. Ryan hit receiver Roddy White for a 10-yard conversion.
Barring injury, King Dunlap is the left tackle ahead of Demetress Bell. Dunlap isn't a stellar run blocker, but he doesn't make obvious mistakes.
Reid actually made good use of a timeout on the Eagles' first touchdown-scoring drive. The extra time allowed LeSean McCoy, who had left with a brief injury, to sub back in for Bryce Brown. McCoy ran 2 yards for the score off the timeout.
The first audible "Fire Andy!" chants came after Allen's missed tackle on Rodgers.
What Andy would have said had there been a news conference
On how poorly his team played coming out of the bye:
"I've got to do a better job."
What Andy would have meant
"Even I'm sick of hearing myself say the same thing over and over for 14 years."