The Atlanta Falcons came to Philly to start their 2018 season fresh and ended up reliving a nightmare they've been haunted by for eight months.
One play to win the game.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
Throw the ball to Julio.
"It's déjà vu all over again," Jalen Mills said after Thursday night's 18-12 win (see 10 observations).
In the same fashion the Eagles ended the Falcons' 2017 season, they gave them a loss to start their 2018 season. You'll remember Matt Ryan rolling right and trying to find Julio Jones in the end zone in the divisional round last year. Jones didn't catch that ball and came down out of bounds against tight coverage from Mills.
To be fair, Julio didn't slip in the end zone, he got shoved down by Jalen Mills on his cut. However, good job by the CB getting the hand up to seal the W. #ATLvsPHI pic.twitter.com/m49AvyQxDG — Snack Time Fantasy (@Snack_TimeFS) January 14, 2018
It was Ronald Darby on Jones ... and on the left side. One second left from the 5-yard line.
"You lined up on 11, you know you're hot," Darby said. "You gotta lock in and make a play. Last game, my boy J-Mill made the play. In this game, I made it. That's why you have guys like us, to go out and compete. We just find a way to win."
This time, Jones was actually able to catch the ball but his momentum carried him out of bounds. Darby did a good job to stick with him and make sure he didn't land in the green.
After he made the game-ending play, Darby took off running, trying to do his best impression of Mills from last year's divisional round win.
He didn't get very far.
"I tried to run around," Darby said. "I was tired, so I couldn't run all the way down the field."
It was an exhausting game in 80-plus degree temperatures in South Philly. The last time these two teams played, it was in January.
So Thursday was a little different.
"It kind of did [remind me of last year's game]," Chris Long said. "Just hotter."
The Falcons got into the red zone five times on Thursday night but scored just one touchdown and one field goal on those drives.
The Eagles' defense put together a pretty spectacular performance. At times it bent ... it didn't break.
And on Thursday, even the last play wasn't the last play. The Eagles actually stopped the Falcons on 4th-and-goal, but an illegal contact penalty against Jordan Hicks - "I can't put our team in that situation," he said - gave the Falcons one more play with one second left.
The Eagles didn't panic. Malcolm Jenkins stressed for his teammates to regroup.
"All of us want to be the guy to make that play," Darby said. "Like, please come my way. I want to be the guy who celebrates, I wanted everybody to be yelling. Ya feel me?"
Yeah, we feel ya, Darb.
The Eagles somehow pulled off a nearly identical win against the same team eight months apart. The Falcons are going to have nightmares for a long time to come.