Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Kevin Kolb was highly efficient in throwing for 326 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, and the Philadelphia Eagles trounced the visiting Atlanta Falcons, 31-17.
Kolb, who has been mired in a much-publicized quarterback controversy with the injured Michael Vick, completed 23-of-29 passes and was picked off once for the Eagles (4-2), who have won four of their last five games and notched their first home victory in three tries.
Vick (ribs) has missed the last two games after being knocked out of a Week 4 matchup with the Redskins, and Kolb has filled in admirably by winning his past two starts.
“One thing that I really saw (while Vick started) was the way Mike plays the game,” Kolb said. “He’s out there just playing the game. Sometimes, as a quarterback, you want to execute things so efficiently…that you forget to just play the game. I’ve been doing that for a lot of years now, and I don’t worry about the execution things and who to get the ball to.”
The main target of the game was Jeremy Maclin, who caught seven balls for a career-best 159 yards and two touchdowns, including one that went for 83 yards. DeSean Jackson added a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown before being knocked out of the game with a head injury early in the second quarter on a scary hit from Atlanta’s Dunta Robinson, who also left the game.
Matt Ryan was largely ineffective in his second homecoming for Atlanta (4-2), connecting on just 23-of-42 throws for 250 yards with two touchdowns to Tony Gonzalez and an interception. The Philadelphia-area native fell to 0-2 in his career at Lincoln Financial Field.
Michael Jenkins led the receiving corps with five catches for 99 yards, while Michael Turner ran for 45 yards on 15 carries for the Falcons, who had their four-game win streak snapped.
“Obviously, today was a tough afternoon for our football team in all three phases,” said Falcons head coach Mike Smith. “We gave up way too many explosive plays. We’ve got a whole lot of work to do, obviously, as a football team. It was a very tough day for the Falcons.”
The Eagles came out firing on all cylinders to build a big lead.
Atlanta went three-and-out on the game’s first series, and Philadelphia gained possession at its own 47. After Kolb hit Maclin on a 22-yard pass play, Jackson got an end around to the left and sprinted his way past the defense before just getting over the goal line for a 31-yard touchdown three minutes into the game.
The Falcons looked to cut into their deficit, as a 42-yard completion from Ryan to Jenkins put them in field goal range. Matt Bryant’s 41-yard attempt, however, banged off the left upright and fell to the field.
Kolb made Atlanta pay for its mistake, driving the Eagles downfield 69 yards in just six plays. Jackson finished off the possession by catching a perfect pass over the middle in the end zone from 34 yards out for a 14-0 lead with 6:50 still left in the opening quarter.
The Falcons’ offense gained just one first down combined on their next three drives — on an Eagles’ defensive penalty — and Philadelphia extended its lead to 21 points midway through the second after a 44-yard punt return by Jorrick Calvin gave the hosts good field position.
The return put the Eagles at the Falcons’ 34, and Kolb directed a seven-play drive that ended when Maclin made a diving touchdown grab just over the goal line near the right pylon from eight yards away.
Philadelphia was driving late in the first half until a tipped pass resulted in an interception. Kolb was whistled for a horse-collar tackle, which gave the Falcons the ball on the Eagles’ 31 with just under a minute left. After a pass interference call in the end zone, Ryan hit Gonzalez on a one-yard scoring pass with 14 seconds left for a 14-point game.
Bryant drilled a 26-yard field goal with seven minutes left in the third to cut Atlanta’s deficit to 10, but the Eagles had an immediate answer, as Kolb found Maclin streaking down the left sideline wide open for an 83-yard touchdown toss less than a minute later.
Ryan’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez with 5:40 left in the game brought the Falcons to within 11, but Atlanta didn’t get the onside kick, and David Akers’ 30-yard field goal gave Philadelphia a 31-17 lead with three minutes to play.
Akers went 1-for-4 on field goal attempts, giving him three missed three field goals in the game for the first time in his career…The Eagles, who played without starting left tackle Jason Peters, allowed only one sack while recording three — two from Trent Cole…Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy had 64 yards rushing on 21 carries and added four catches for 21 yards…Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel had an interception, giving him 31 since 2006, the most in the NFL during that time…The Eagles have won six of the last seven meetings between the teams.