PHILADELPHIA -- The Atlanta Falcons caught a lot of breaks all season long. But they couldn't catch one more on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line.
Down 15-10 against the Philadelphia Eagles with about a minute remaining, Matt Ryan scrambled out of the pocked on fourth down looking for Julio Jones, but the star receiver slipped in the end zone and fell. He managed to get back up, and Ryan threw to him. The ball went right through Jones' hands to fall incomplete.
It was the Falcons' last shot against the Eagles in the NFL Divisional Round. The Eagles, who were the underdog as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, held on to win 15-10 and advance to the NFC Championship.
The Eagles offense, led by the backup quarterback Nick Foles, was able to do just enough against the Falcons defense, which had made huge strides since last season.
Foles threw 23-for-30 for 246 yards. He didn't have any touchdowns. LeGarrette Blount had the Eagles' only touchdown in the game coming on a 1-yard rush in the second quarter.
It was a back and forth game.
It began with an odd first half where both teams were catching breaks and making mistakes. After a costly pass interference by Brian Poole on the first play of the game, Ricardo Allen forced running back Jay Ajayi to fumble. Matt Bryant kicked a 33-yard field goal to give the Falcons an early lead.
The Eagles ran a nice trick play as Nick Foles faked a toss to the running back and Nelson Agholor received the handoff, found a gap and made it down near the goal line. On third and goal, the ball was fumbled and Foles fell on it. It was initially called a touchdown, but a review showed he was a half yard shy.
On the next play, Blount ran outside and avoided Grady Jarrett for the Eagles touchdown. Jake Elliott missed the extra-point.
The Falcons were forced to punt on the next drive, but the punt bounced into two Eagles players and the Falcons recovered. After Ryan made an interesting decision to wait to throw on an open Levine Toilolo near the end zone on a boot leg that ended up incomplete, Ryan was able to extend a third-and-goal play with his feet and found Devonta Freeman for his second touchdown catch of the season.
Despite some poor clock management and a costly false start with less than a minute to go, the Eagles were able to score before halftime thanks to Keanu Neal's knee deflecting his own interception and falling into the hands of Torrey Smith.
Elliott kicked a 53-yard field goal with 1 second left on the clock, and the Falcons lead was down to one at halftime.
Foles and Ajayi continued to move the Eagles downfield in the second half. Foles made several quick passes that extended drives and Ajayi was able to break tackles and run through the defense. But twice the Falcons defense was able to hold the Eagles to two field goals. It was impressive considering the Eagles are the most efficient team in the NFL in the red zone this season at 65 percent, 72 percent at home.
The Falcons got the ball back with roughly six minutes remaining. On third and long, Ryan found Mohamed Sanu on a comeback route, but a review overturned the play. On a crucial fourth down, Ryan threw to Jones who jumped up to bring in the football for a catch.
Ryan completed 22 passes on 36 attempts. He was sacked three times while trying to evade the Eagles strong pass rush.
Tevin Coleman pushed the Falcons inside the 10. Jones caught the ball at the 2 on third down, but he couldn't recreate the same success on fourth down.
The Falcons, who were the NFC Champions last season, couldn't return to the conference title game one season after their horrific loss in Super Bowl LI.