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Jay Ajayi had a pair of touchdown runs, Nick Foles caught another pass to jump-start a sputtering offence and the defending champions Philadelphia Eagles needed another defensive stand to open the National Football League season with an 18-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night (Friday NZT).

While Atlanta played a good game defensively, their offense got bogged down in the red zone yet again, scoring just one touchdown in five chances. "We had the right one on - if there's a double that goes to Julio, it goes to another player; if there's a double that goes to Mohamed or stays where it was, it goes somewhere else".

"It's where we got it from". When you're down closer, obviously you can't throw over a defender anymore.

"So, we were pleased with 'where.' What we were not pleased with was the execution of it". Foles was bailed out time-and-time again by a Falcons' defense that was unable to make him pay for his poor play.

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The only thing worse than the odd lack of arm strength on Ryan's passes was the red zone play-calling and execution. Our execution will be better. First, with just under 14 minutes to play in the third quarter, Foles tossed the ball up while backpedaling and it was almost picked off by Falcons cornerback Brian Poole.

The Falcons had a first down at the 10 but Ryan threw four straight incomplete passes.

Foles, the Super Bowl MVP still filling in for Carson Wentz, played it safe and the offense was conservative until Pederson turned to his favorite play on third-and-5 midway through the third quarter.

The Falcons had driven 70 yards on 12 plays before coming up short, as Jones made three grabs for 60 yards on the series, including an 18-yarder on third-and-17. The read was correct in terms of where we wanted to go. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Ryan is 1-of-20 over the past two seasons, including the playoffs, when targeting Jones in the end zone.