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Best of 2011: Games


5) Week 2 vs Philadelphia, 35-31 win:After a tough season-opening loss to the Bears, the Falcons bounced back in Week 2 to get a much-needed win against the high-profile and talented Eagles. Atlanta controlled the ball game for much of the day, finding a 21-10 lead in the third quarter before a bad stretch put the Eagles in the driver's seat. Entering the fourth quarter, Philly had a 31-21 lead. Despite facing pressure from the Eagles' pass rush all day and suffering four sacks, Ryan engineered one of Atlanta's best drives of the season in crunch time. Taking more than six minutes off the clock, Ryan and the Falcons traveled 80 yards to score and draw within three points. After a defensive stop, the Ryan and the offense repeated their performance, and scored again, carried by a 61-yard Turner run.

A key stop on third down for the defense kept the Eagles from responding and the Falcons hung on for their first win of the 2011 season. Although Atlanta struggled at times, blowing a double-digit lead, they stayed composed and weathered the game's tough moments. Head coach Mike Smith praised his team for their solidarity and ability to put bad plays behind them on the way to a win: "That was one of our musts: we had to play it one play at a time. When that play was over, we had to move on and try to learn from it. That was the way that we tried to approach this game. Offensively, defensively, special teams, together we won this football game."

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