Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles began the NFL season with a comfortable win over a fledgling Atlanta Falcons team Sunday, winning the game by a score of 32-6.
The Falcons, who were looking to banish the memories of last season’s disappointing 4-12 campaign, never threatened an Eagles team that controlled the majority of the ballgame.
Hurts, who threw for an impressive 264 yards on 27/35 attempts, controlled the tempo throughout. His three touchdowns were capped off by an extra 62 rushing yards from 7 carries.
For comparison, Matt Ryan threw for 164 yards on 21/35 attempts.
After a relatively tightly contested first half, the pivotal drive began with two minutes left in the first half. With the score 7-6, Hurts drove his team down the field to score with two seconds left on the clock. After a successful two-point conversion, the initially tight score had ballooned to 15-6.
From that moment, the Falcons very rarely looked threatening. The Eagles endzone seemed distant.
After his previous position as offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, it was a tough first introduction to the head coaching job for Arthur Smith. The performance was defined by a stagnant offense and a defense that collapsed in the second half.
Following the game, Smith took responsibility for his team’s loss.
"It's a long season to go but I certainly didn't do a good job of getting us ready to go today," Smith said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
The head coach also highlighted the 12 penalties conceded by his team as a key factor in the loss. However, Smith refused to place the blame on the officials.
“You're going to have penalties. Nobody that's in this league is coaching the hold. That doesn't happen,” Smith said.
“Those fouls are part of the game. I gotta go back and look why [we committed] those ones late. What we need to do better.”
The Falcons’ season does not get any easier this weekend. The team welcomes the defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to Mercedes Benz Stadium. Tom Brady and the Bucs began their season with a close 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
The Falcons lost both meetings with the Bucs last season. They will be looking for a different outcome this Sunday night when they welcome Tampa Bay to Mercedes Benz Stadium this Sunday at 4:35 p.m.