PHILADELPHIA — For two weeks, all the Philadelphia Eagles heard was how they didn’t deserve to be a top seed in the playoffs.
PHILADELPHIA — For two weeks, all the Philadelphia Eagles heard was how they didn’t deserve to be a top seed in the playoffs.
They answered the critics the only way possible — with a victory on the field.
Despite being the first No. 1 seed to be a home underdog in the divisional round, the Eagles received three field goals from rookie kicker Jake Elliott, a 1-yard touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount and ultimately a 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
“It goes back to believing and having faith we can get it done,” Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles said. “There was a lot of outside noise. We blocked it out.”
The win was secured when Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan ‘s pass to wide receiver Julio Jones fell incomplete in the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line with 58 seconds remaining.
“At the end of the day, I can make those plays,” Jones said. “I ended up on the ground when I came out of my route.”
The top-seeded Eagles (14-3) won their first playoff game since the 2008 season and will host the New Orleans Saints or the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game Jan. 21.
“Just keep on disrespecting and we’re going to keep proving people wrong,” Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said. “We just believe in one another. We don’t care what anybody else says. We’re just going to keep fighting.”
Foles was effective, going 23-of-30 passing for 246 yards.
“Nick was great and we have all the faith in the world in him,” center Jason Kelce said. “We prepared and felt ready. Nick did a great job moving us down the field and setting us up. We believe in him and he believes in us and that’s our approach. It won’t change.”
Ryan, who led the Falcons to the Super Bowl a season ago, was 22 of 36 for 210 yards and a touchdown.
“We had chances to make plays and we didn’t make them,” Ryan said.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that he wouldn’t want anyone else but Ryan to lead his team.
“His toughness is exemplified in all that he does,” Quinn said. “It was a tough game for him and for us and we’ll go back and assess it. For now, it’s just tough.”
Elliott’s third field goal of the game, a 21-yarder, put the Eagles up 15-10 with 6:02 left. Philadelphia’s 14-play, 80-yard drive stalled at the 3 and instead of going for it on fourth-and-1, they opted for the field goal.
“To be here with these guys with where I was is an awesome feeling,” Elliott said. “The Eagles brought me in and I’m going to keep working and show I belong. It’s a special, special feeling to be moving on into the NFC championship game round.”
The Eagles took a 12-10 lead with 15 seconds left in the third quarter when Elliott hit a 37-yard field goal to complete a 12-play, 74-yard drive.
Elliott booted a 53-yard field goal as time expired to bring Philadelphia within 10-9 at halftime.
Devonta Freeman hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan for a 10-6 advantage with 5:41 left in the second quarter. The score was set up by the Eagles’ second turnover as Bryan Braman touched the ball following a punt, putting Atlanta at the Philadelphia 18-yard-line to start the possession.
Blount’s 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal gave the Eagles the lead, but Elliott’s extra-point try hit the upright and bounced out. The 14-play, 86-yard drive put the Eagles ahead 6-3 with 10:28 left in the second quarter.
Philadelphia caught a break on the previous play when Foles recovered a botched handoff. He was originally ruled to have scored, but replays confirmed Foles was down at the 1.
The Falcons took advantage of an early fumble by running back Jay Ajayi and turned it into a 3-0 lead when Matt Bryant kicked a 33-yard field goal with 9:08 remaining in the first quarter. The 11-play, 59-yard drive stalled at the 16.
NOTES: Eagles CB Sidney Jones was inactive. He made his debut in the regular-season finale, a 6-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys after missing the majority of the season with an Achilles injury…. Falcons QB Matt Ryan still hasn’t completed a game this season with at least three touchdown passes…. Eagles QB Carson Wentz, an MVP candidate, was on the sideline. Wentz missed the final two-and-a-half regular-season games with a torn ACL…. No running back for the Falcons eclipsed 100 yards rushing all season after Tevin Coleman rushed for 79 of Atlanta’s 86 yards Saturday…. The Eagles are 8-1 at home against the Falcons in the regular season and playoffs over the past nine games dating to Veterans Stadium…. Eagles RB Wendell Smallwood was left out of the rotation and listed as inactive.

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