Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Sports

Falcons expose Eagles' issues

PHILADELPHIA — Asante Samuel stared directly at his former team's sideline and started trash-talking after the coin toss. By the fourth quarter, he was dancing on the field between plays.

Matt Ryan made it easy for his loquacious cornerback to gloat.

Ryan threw touchdowns on Atlanta's first three possessions against the Eagles and new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and the Falcons remained the league's only unbeaten team with a convincing 30-17 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.

"We're 7-0 over here, baby," Samuel said. "If I was over there now, they have to go to work."

The Falcons are 7-0 for the first time in the franchise's 47 seasons. The Eagles lost after a bye for the first time in 14 such games under coach Andy Reid since 1999.

"That was an embarrassing performance," Reid said. "I'm stating the obvious. We need to get better. I need to do a better job. This is fixable. We have the talent."

Ryan finished 22-of-29 for 262 yards and three touchdowns for his first win against his hometown team in three tries.

Michael Vick didn't turn the ball over for a change, but he played so-so and failed to beat his former team in his second start against the Falcons since returning to the NFL in 2009.

"Whatever decision coach makes, I support it," Vick said when asked about possibly being benched for rookie Nick Foles. "I know I'm giving it everything I have when I'm out there."

Reid said he's going to evaluate whether he makes a quarterback change. The defense was the problem against Atlanta, however. The Falcons scored on their first six possessions before punting for the first time with 5:35 left in the game.

Reid fired Juan Castillo last week and replaced him with Bowles two days after Philadelphia blew its second straight fourth-quarter lead in an overtime loss to Detroit.

Samuel had 25 interceptions and went to three Pro Bowls in four seasons in Philadelphia before the acquisitions of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie forced him out. He was traded to the Falcons for a seventh-round pick in April.

"I love the fans," he said. "They can boo me. They can cheer for me. Doesn't do anything but add fuel to the fire."

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