Neal felt he should have made key interception


Keanu Neal was dejected.

The Falcons safety thought he should have had a key interception right before halftime against the Eagles of the NFC Divisional playoff game Saturday. 

On second-and-8 from Philadelphia’s 30-yard line, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles sailed a pass through the wind that Neal had a chance to intercept. However, the ball hit his knee and bounced back to wide receiver Torrey Smith, who turned it into a 20-yard gain with 12 second remaining.

The Eagles connected on a 15-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery with a second remaining and ended the half with a 53-yard field goal from Jake Elliott. The Falcons’ led was cut to 10-9 at halftime.

“I just didn’t feel it hit my hands and it bounced off of my knee,” Neal said. 

Overall, the defensive unit played well but the result was a 15-10 Eagles victory that eliminated the Falcons.

“We did well,” Neal said. “We just left some plays out there including the one that I missed, the opportunity that I had. That’s part of it. When your plays come, you’ve got to make them.”

Neal finished with six tackles, a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery.

“It’s tough,” Neal said. “It never feels good to lose.”

Neal, who’s in his second season, made great strides along with the rest of the defense.

“For sure, we definitely came a long way,” Neal said. “We made huge strides. We have to just get ready for next year.”

The Falcons did a respectable job against the run in the game. 

Running back Jay Ajayi was held to 54 yards on 15 carries. He rushed for 130 yards on 26 carries against the Falcons when he was with the Dolphins during the regular season. He had a long run of 11 yards. LeGarrette Block was held to 19 yards on nine carries.

The Eagles biggest rushing play was an inside reverse to wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who picked up 21 yards. When the Eagles went back to that play, defensive tackle Dontari Poe stuffed it.

Overall, the Eagles rushed 32 times for 96 yards and one touchdown. Normally, that effort would have been enough for a victory.

Foles, who was 1-2 as a starter this season after replacing Carson Wentz, lead the Eagles on two field-goal drives in the second half to pull out the victory. Foles was 23 of 30 for 246 yards and finished with a passer rating of 100.1

“We just played our style of ball,” linebacker DeVondre Campbell said. “We didn’t do nothing special. We stuck to our principles and out techniques.”

Campbell also made strides in his second year with the team, but was taking the defeat hard.

 “It’s the nature of the business that we are in,” Campbell said. “Sometimes you do everything that you can and you still lose.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

Falcons could look to add an offensive weapon 
Falcons could look to add an offensive weapon 

Today: Wide receiver Don’t expect quarterback Matt Ryan to storm into the draft room and bang his cleats on the table for some offensive help when the Falcons select 26th overall on Thursday. After all, in each of the past three drafts the Falcons have selected defensive players with their top two picks. “I have no input,” Ryan...
Falcons have recent draft history of LSU defensive players
Falcons have recent draft history of LSU defensive players

Since head coach Dan Quinn was hired in 2015, the Falcons have selected a player from LSU in each of those past three NFL drafts. The Falcons will have a few more LSU players on their board this year for the draft, which starts Thursday and runs through Saturday in Arlington, Texas.  “It’s the tradition of the LSU defense,” said...
Falcons have a vacancy at fullback 
Falcons have a vacancy at fullback 

Today: Fullback Last offseason, the Falcons thought they had a deal for the return of fullback Patrick DiMarco. However, there was a delay in a signing after a family emergency due to a death. By the time DiMarco returned, he had a more lucrative offer from the Bills and the Pro Bowler was gone. The Falcons ended up going with Derrick Coleman, who&rsquo...
VOTE: How many games will Falcons win in 2018?
VOTE: How many games will Falcons win in 2018?

The Atlanta Falcons will open the 2018 season against the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in a rematch of last season’s NFC Divisional Playoff Game. » Game-by-game breakdown: 2018 Falcons schedule The Eagles are already favored to win the first game. Atlanta will play its three divisional rivals within the first six weeks...
Falcons have a gaping hole at defensive tackle 
Falcons have a gaping hole at defensive tackle 

The Falcons’ board is set for the draft, which runs Thursday through Saturday in Arlington, Texas. The question is not if the Falcon will select a defensive tackle, it’s when they will do so.  The Falcons have a gaping hole at defensive tackle with the departure of starter Dontari Poe. He signed with the Panthers in free agency...
More Stories