First Quarter: An Early Deficit

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The worst development of the first quarter for the Falcons was the distressing number of mistakes they made.

Fortunately, the Eagles were not able to cash in in a big way.

First a fumble by Eric Weems allowed the Eagles to score a touchdown while only having to go 22 yards and then Chevis Jackson was called for defensive holding when the Falcons would have forced the Eagles to punt from their own 11-yard line. Immediately following Jackson's penalty the Eagles completed a 59-yard pass to fullback Leonard Weaver. The Falcons defense stiffened and David Akers, among the league's top kickers, missed from 39 yards, allowing the Falcons to dodge a bullet and leave the quarter down only by 10-0.

Philadelphia entered the game tied for fifth in the NFL in turnover margin at plus-9 and wouldn't you know that the most pivotal play of the first quarter was Weems' fumble following an Eagles' field goal. Eldra Buckley forced the fumble and Tracy White recovered it. Philadelphia scored 57 seconds later to make it 10-0.

The fumble was Weems' first of the season. A bad time for that.

The Eagles have a top 10 defense in the NFL and they've played like one so far. Chris Redman had two passes batted at the line of scrimmage and the Falcons have had difficulty running the ball. Redman completed 1 of 5 passes for 23 yards and the Falcons rushed for only eight yards on six attempts.

You often hear about athletes coming into a game with too much adrenaline when they haven't played in a while and it looks like that might have been the case with Redman on the opening drive.

On his first pass, he bounced one in the ground to Roddy White. On his second, he overthrew Marty Booker. That made me think back to last week when tight end Tony Gonzalez noted how fired up Redman was when he entered the game, with Gonzalez noting how Redman led shoulder first on a run around the right end into a Tampa Bay linebacker.

One of the most interesting developments of the first quarter was the decision by Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid to get back-up quarterback Michael Vick as involved as he did on the opening drive. Vick's high for rushes in a game this season is four, which came on Oct. 11 against Tampa Bay. (He totaled 10 yards.) Vick rushed the ball twice on the opening drive for a total of seven yards.


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