NFL opener no classic, even with exciting finish
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Even with an exciting finish eerily similar to last January's playoff game, this was pretty much a forgetful opener to the NFL season.
Even with another Philly Special, there wasn't a whole lot to cheer about in the Eagles' 18-12 victory over the Falcons on Thursday night.
And even with a weather delay featuring some lightning before the Eagles and their fans could celebrate the unveiling of the banner for their first championship since 1960, this wasn't exactly a sparkling display of football.
You can credit two pretty staunch defenses if you want. Yet despite neither team reaching 300 yards in total offense, neither D was dynamic because plays were there to be made. The offenses rarely could do so.
And then there were the penalties. Altogether, 30 points were scored — and two teams expected to contend for the NFL title compiled 26 penalties. It's never a good sign when flags nearly equal points.
Hey, the Super Bowl champions gained 232 yards and gave away 101 in penalties. Atlanta, which must think there are hot coals lining the red zone at the Linc, gained 299 but had 135 yards in penalties.
"This stings for sure," said Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who certainly knows that feeling after the Super Bowl collapse two seasons back against New England, and then last winter's divisional playoff loss here that ended almost exactly the same way as Thursday night's defeat. "We knew this would be a competitive fight that would come down to the end, and it did."
Competitive? For sure.
Classic? Not even close.
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