Eagles' defense knew exactly what was coming on final play versus Falcons

From ESPN - January 14, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- It was the biggest play of the season, and the Eagles' defense knew exactly what was coming.

Safety Rodney McLeod remembered it from the week's preparations. The Eagles repped this play during practice on Friday and again during the walk-through on Saturday, he said. It was a favorite of the Atlanta Falcons in short yardage, particularly in the red zone. Considering the situation -- fourth-and-goal at the 2 with 1 minute, 5 seconds remaining and Philly up by five points in the divisional-round matchup -- the Eagles suspected a Matt Ryan sprint out was coming. When they saw the formation, they knew it.

"You are expecting pass. The only passes you really get out of two-back formations is move-the-pocket," safety Malcolm Jenkins explained. "You eliminate all the plays that are not going to come, and we were able to recognize that pretty much before they even came out of the huddle."

McLeod added his explanation.

"As soon as I saw the tight end come over [in motion], I was like, 'There it is,'" McLeod said. "This is everything you dream of as a player, you do your studying, you do your preparing, and they come out and run the identical play. And the guys did a good job of stopping it, man.

Ryan's first two reads were taken away, per Jenkins. Atlanta standout receiver Julio Jones and corner Jalen Mills were jousting in the right side of the end zone. Jones fell at one point, then got up and moved toward the back corner for a jump ball. With Mills in front of him, the high pass glanced off Jones' fingers and fell incomplete, cementing a 15-10 Eagles victory and a berth in the NFC Championship Game.

They communicated all the way from [Ronald] Darby's side to my side," Mills said. "You cant do nothing but be thankful for having those veteran safeties that are able to ID formations."


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