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hongwei28

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The Atlanta Falcons nearly won a Super Bowl a year ago behind the NFL’s most potent offense.

It was that side of the ball that ended their chances to get to the big game again.

Atlanta managed only 10 first-half points Geron Christian Color Rush Jersey , both coming off Philadelphia turnovers, and lost 15-10 to the Eagles on Saturday. While Philadelphia advances to the NFC championship game, the Falcons (11-7) go home.

”I think that’s certainly something that we have to look at and evaluate this offseason,” Matt Ryan said after concluding a somewhat down season for him in the wake of his 2016 league MVP campaign. ”There were too many times that we were a little bit inconsistent.”

That was exemplified against the Eagles (14-3), who like the Falcons sputtered in the red zone. But Philly got three field goals from Jake Elliott and a touchdown run from LeGarrette Blount.

Most damaging for Atlanta was how it came up empty deep in Eagles territory on its final drive. The Falcons had first-and-goal at the 9, and got to the 2 on fourth down before Ryan’s pass to Julio Jones soared over his head in the end zone.

”Certainly in those situations you want to go to your best players,” Ryan explained. ”You know, obviously rolled to the right and had an opportunity to Julio. It just didn’t work out and that’s disappointing.”

Atlanta was the NFL’s highest-scoring team last season, but its lowest production was in a 24-15 defeat to the Eagles. The offense wasn’t nearly as productive this season, falling to 15th, from 33.8 points a game to 22.1.

The Falcons didn’t come close to their season’s average, or to the 26 they put on the board in beating the Rams in a wild-card matchup last weekend.

So while the defense was vastly improved, particularly in the pass rush, the Falcons fell flat with the ball far too many times.

”That’s one of the areas we are dialed in from the beginning of the season to where how we make sure those aren’t field goals and they turn into touchdowns,” coach Dan Quinn said. ”Was there plays that knocked us out? Could we have done better in the run game down there?

”Those are certainly topics we are going to look long and deep into.”

Star receiver Jones had a strong game with nine receptions for 101 yards. He was targeted 16 times.

But he couldn’t get free downfield, except for a 20-yard reception on fourth down on the final drive. For the Falcons to be Super Bowl threats down the road, Jones must be nearly unstoppable.

Atlanta’s running game was spotty against the Eagles Troy Apke Color Rush Jersey , too. Several times, Tevin Coleman had open lanes and got nice gains. On other plays, he and Devonta Freeman didn’t have an inch to run when Ryan handed off.

Coleman, usually the backup, had 79 yards on 10 carries, with a long of 23. Freeman had only 7 yards on his 10 carries.

In contrast, the Eagles ran for 96 yards and had several big plays on the ground.

Now, the Falcons must cope with a much earlier and nearly as dramatic defeat as what they sustained last February.

”It’s difficult when you get to the playoffs and you’ve put in all the work throughout the year,” Ryan said. ”You’re in a competitive game like tonight. There’s a lot of back and forth. It’s disappointing to not get the outcome that you want.

”The finality of it sometimes is difficult, so we’re disappointed for sure.”

Federica Brignone edged Olympic champion Michelle Gisin to win the last women’s World Cup Alpine combined event of the season on Sunday, while Wendy Holdener took the season-long title in the discipline.

Ranked fifth after the super-G portion, Italian GS and super-G specialist Brignone surpassed expectations by posting the third-fastest time in the slalom leg. Her run was just enough to deny Gisin another victory, 10 days after the Swiss skier won Alpine combined gold at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

”It’s steep and I love that,” Brignone said about the Mont Lachaux course. ”I love this snow, the spring snow, for slalom.”

It was Brignone’s third win of the season, raising her career total to eight. The Italian overcame persistent adductor problems Michael Gallup Color Rush Jersey , which forced her to return early from a preseason training camp in South America and to sit out the start of the World Cup season.

”I just want to finish my season in the best way,” Brignone said. ”For sure the beginning was hard because of my injuries. I just wanted to recover and show good races.”

She certainly showed her strength Sunday, finishing in an aggregate time of 1 minute, 46.46 seconds and beating Gisin by 0.03 seconds. Petra Vlhova of Slovakia trailed by 0.09 in third place. Sofia Goggia of Italy, who led after the super-G run, dropped to eighth.

Holdener, who won the only other combined event this season, finished fourth to secure the season title in the discipline. The Swiss skier also won the globe for the season’s best combined skier in 2016.

”It’s extremely nice to win another crystal globe,” the Swiss skier said. ”I knew I didn’t have to win this race. That made it difficult for me. I wasn’t as relaxed as usual. I gave my best. It wasn’t the best skiing but I am happy that it was enough.”

After placing third and earning 60 World Cup points in Saturday’s super-G, Holdener added another 50 points on Sunday, closing the gap to overall leader Mikaela Shiffrin to 561 points with six races remaining.

Shiffrin, who won silver in Alpine combined at Pyeonchang to add to her gold from the GS, didn’t race this weekend to prepare for next week’s technical races in Germany. Also, American teammate Lindsey Vonn skipped the events in the heart of the Swiss Alps as she will only compete again at the World Cup finals in Sweden in two weeks’ time.

While there is still a mathematical possibility to overtake Shiffrin, Holdener said ”there is no chance” that she will dethrone the reigning overall champion.

”I just hope to defend my place,” she said. ”I am second and it would be nice if it stays that way.”

 

 

 

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