Jones scores late TD, leads Falcons past Eagles 24-20

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By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) runs toward the end zone for a touchdown against Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones leaves the field after a win over the Philadelphia Eagles an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons won 24-20. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) runs toward the end zone for a touchdown against Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) runs near Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws in the pocket against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Atlanta Falcons running back Kenjon Barner (38) runs against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (13) moves past Atlanta Falcons strong safety Damontae Kazee (27) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper (81) makes the catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) makes the catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


ATLANTA (AP) Julio Jones hauled in a short pass behind the line of scrimmage, got the blocks he needed and didn't stop running until he was well past the end zone.

The Philadelphia Eagles never had a chance.

In the blink of an eye, Jones turned a fourth-down screen pass into a 54-yard touchdown with 2:10 remaining Sunday night. The Atlanta Falcons surrendered a huge play of their own on fourth down but came up with the defensive stop they needed to preserve a wild 24-20 victory.

Jones' speed on the winning play was stunning, reaching an estimated 20 mph as he glided away from a futile swipe by Rodney McLeod and left Andrew Sendejo far behind.

''OK, it's a footrace now,'' Jones said. ''That was it. It really wasn't like I had to try hard or anything like that. I just had to stay on course.''

A sluggish game turned thrilling in the final minutes. The Falcons (1-1) squandered a 17-6 lead against an injury plagued team that lost two of its top receivers, falling behind for the first time when Carson Wentz dove over from the 1 with 3:13 left and then connected on a two-point conversion pass to give the Eagles a 20-17 edge.

Philadelphia (1-1) had a chance at the end when Wentz converted on fourth-and-14, somehow getting off a pass with a rusher in his chest that Nelson Agholor hauled in between Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen for a 43-yard completion to the Falcons 18.

But Neal and Isaiah Oliver dragged down Zach Ertz less than a yard short of the marker on another fourth-down play inside the 10 to preserve a much-needed victory for Atlanta after a dismal performance in the season opener at Minnesota.

It was Jones who really bailed out the Falcons - and became the franchise's career leader in receiving yards with his winning score, passing Roddy White.

''He's had a lot of great ones, that's for sure,'' said quarterback Matt Ryan, who helped keep Philadelphia in the game with three interceptions. ''It's special for him to break a record that way, in such a critical situation, in such a clutch moment. That's pretty cool.''

On fourth-and-3 at the Falcons 46, Jones dropped behind the line to haul in Ryan's short pass and got just enough of a pick from fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu to take out cornerback Rasul Douglas. Left tackle Jake Matthews squashed another defender with a crunching block out on the edge.

Just like that, Jones was gone.

''A big little play,'' coach Dan Quinn called it.

Jones crossed over the goal line and kept right on going, disappearing down the tunnel. He finished with five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns, also hauling in a 4-yard score that gave the Falcons their 11-point lead early in the third quarter.

The Eagles were hampered by injuries that took out receivers DeSean Jackson (groin) and Alshon Jeffery (calf), forcing them to go with backups Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside much of the game.

`It was tough,'' Wentz said. ''Some of the stuff tonight you can't make up. I've never seen guy after guy like that early in the ballgame, but guys stepped up. Guys were resilient. We came up a little short today, but I'm proud of the way the guys fought.''

Wentz and the short-handed offense finally got going in the fourth quarter, completing eight straight passes for 72 yards on a drive that culminated with a quarterback sneak for the go-ahead touchdown. He finished 25 of 43 for 231 yards with two interceptions.

''What a game he had,'' Agholor said. ''That's one of the best performances I've seen from our quarterback, man. He's very resilient, getting the ball to everybody.''

BY THE NUMBERS

Jones now has 10,868 yards receiving in his career, pushing him past White's franchise mark of 10,863.

Ryan was 27 of 43 for 320 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 300 TD passes in his career. He is tied with John Elway for 11th place on the NFL's career list.

Atlanta's Calvin Ridley had the second 100 -yard receiving game of his career, hauling in eight passes for 105 yards including a 34-yard TD.

SLIPPING AWAY

With Jackson and Jeffery sidelined, Agholor stepped up to make eight catches for 107 yards and a TD.

But he let a potential go-ahead score slip through his hands with under 2 minutes to go after breaking free down the left sideline.

Agholor lost the ball in the lights of the retractable-roof stadium but said, ''I've still got to make that play. That's something we prepared for in pregame.''

INJURY REPORT, PART II

Falcons rookie Kaleb McGary missed a good portion of the game after being helped off the field with a left knee injury.

The offensive tackle went down near the midway point of the second quarter while protecting on a pass play but was able to return in the fourth quarter.

Philadelphia lost another player before the game even began.

Dallas Goedert sustained a calf injury, apparently in pregame in warmups, which left Ertz as the Eagles' only tight end.

UP NEXT

Philadelphia returns home next Sunday to host the Detroit Lions in the first meeting between the teams since 2016.

The Falcons hit the road to face Indianapolis, which has won 14 of 16 meetings between the teams.

Player Notes
Drew Brees Sep 16 10:38am ET

Adam Schefter is reporting Saints' QB Drew Brees is expected to undergo thumb surgery as early as today that would sideline him approximately six weeks, per leagues sources.

Ben Roethlisberger Sep 16 10:13am ET

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) will be examined Monday, Sept. 16, to determine if he'll require elbow surgery.

Fantasy Spin: If Big Ben is out for an extended period, he can likely be dropped in most formats because bye weeks are incoming soon. Mason Rudolph isn't a viable replacement in fantasy.

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Elijah McGuire Sep 16 9:33am ET

Cleveland Browns RB Elijah McGuire was signed to the 53-man roster Monday, Sept. 16.

From TheHuddle

Drew Brees Sep 16 8:23am ET

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (thumb) has a ligament issue with his throwing thumb that has him concerned that it's significant. The team will know more Monday, Sept. 16.

Fantasy Spin: It sounds like Brees could miss a month at the very least. If the thumb required surgery, it could be eight to 12 weeks. If that were the case, it would be hard to hold on to him in single-year formats. Teddy Bridgewater could be a matchup play in the interim. Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks might be one of them to stream him for.

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Emmanuel Sanders Sep 16 6:50am ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders pulled in 11 of his 13 targets for 98 yards and a touchdown during the Week 2 loss to the Bears. It was Sanders second game in a row in which he has scored while also accounting for both of quarterback Joe Flaccos touchdowns on the year. He will continue to have his number called by Flacco and should retain his must-start designation (in most leagues) in the weeks ahead. Keep him rolling.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Sep 16 6:40am ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay finished with 36 yards on 13 attempts to go along with four receptions (seven targets) for 30 yards. The 25-year-old continues to split carries with fellow running back Royce Freeman, who took away 11 potential carries while eating up some targets from quarterback Joe Flacco. Until either man demonstrates a stable workload moving forward, they shouldnt be considered a reliable fantasy option. Keep an eye on this situation in the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller

Royce Freeman Sep 16 6:20am ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries during the loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. As usual, Freeman split carries once again with Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 36 yards on 13 attempts, with both men also combining for nine receptions. Unless there is an injury, expect both players to contribute equally in the weeks ahead, with both retaining little fantasy value at the moment.

From RotoBaller

Joe Flacco Sep 16 6:00am ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco went 35-for-50 for 292 yards and a touchdown, connecting with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders late in the fourth quarter in the loss to the Bears. The veteran, who played just nine games in 2018 while still a member of the Baltimore Ravens, is posting a 69.1 completion percentage and 91.6 passer rating, with both being career-bests in his first season in Denver. However, he retains little fantasy value outside of deeper leagues or two-quarterback formats, at least until he starts throwing a few more touchdowns.

From RotoBaller

Austin Hooper Sep 16 5:20am ET

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had just four receptions for 34 yards during the Week 2 win over the Eagles. After pulling in all nine of his looks against the Vikings in Week 2, Hooper cooled off and was barely targeted on Sunday night despite quarterback Matt Ryan throwing the ball 43 times. Hooper will attempt to get back on track in Week 3 for a meeting with the Colts. He is a borderline-start.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Sep 16 5:10am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley pulled in eight receptions (10 targets) for 105 yards and a touchdown during the Week 2 victory over the Eagles. It was yet another promising showing for the sophomore wideout as he has now recorded 12 receptions and two scores on the year. Look for him to continue to get his looks from quarterback Matt Ryan in the Falcons pass-heavy offense. He remains a must-start against the Colts in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Sep 16 5:00am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones pulled in just five of his 10 targets on Sunday against the Eagles, but still finished with 106 yards and two scores, including catching a 54-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter. After an uneventful Week 1 showing against the Vikings, the veteran wideout managed to get it together for a much-needed win against Philly. With three touchdowns in the books for Jones, the Falcons will meet up with the Colts on Sunday. Jones remains a must-start.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Sep 16 4:50am ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman rushed for just 22 yards on 11 attempts during the Week 2 showdown with the Eagles, but he attempted to offset those numbers by pulling in three receptions for 42 yards. Nonetheless, it was still a relatively disappointing showing for the 27-year-old who has rushed for just 41 yards on the year. After playing only two games in 2018, Freeman hopefully shook off any remaining residual rust over the first two weeks and will attempt to get things going against the Colts on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Sep 16 4:40am ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had an up-and-down game on Sunday night against the Eagles. Despite throwing for 320 yards and three touchdowns, the veteran also tossed three picks that nearly led to Atlantas second loss of the season. Nonetheless, Ryan was able to shine when it counted most and connected on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. With five touchdowns and five interceptions on the year, Ryan will look to get on track against the Colts in Week 3. Keep him starting.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Sep 16 4:03am ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce caught seven of his nine targets for 107 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 versus the Oakland Raiders.

Fantasy Spin: It's easy to take Kelce's production for granted sometimes because he offers such a high floor. After a sub-par Week 1 by his standards, the 29-year-old is up to 10 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown through two weeks. Although next week's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens is far from an easy one, Kelce has proven to be about as matchup-proof as they come.

From TheHuddle

John Brown Sep 16 4:00am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown pulled in seven of his eight targets for 72 yards in the win over the Giants. For the second week in a row, Brown led the team in looks from quarterback Josh Allen. He should be on the radar in all fantasy leagues, regardless of format, as Brown and No. 2 wideout Cole Beasley will likely continue to gobble up most of the teams receptions. Look for him to keep it going against the Bengals in Week 3.

From RotoBaller

Damien Williams Sep 16 3:53am ET

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Fantasy Spin: Williams has been very productive as a receiver so far, but he's mustered a mere 34 yards on 22 carries through two games. McCoy was much more productive as a runner in the opener, but the entire ground game was bottled up in Week 2. Should either player be forced to sit out Week 3, fantasy owners might get a chance to see what preseason star Darwin Thompson could do in more of a full-time role.

From TheHuddle

Demarcus Robinson Sep 16 3:33am ET

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Fantasy Spin: For some perspective, Robinson entered the contest with 44 catches for 500 yards and four touchdowns in 49 career games. Fantasy owners can do worse than place their faith in just about pass-catcher seeing significant time in this offense at the moment, and Robinson certainly earned more snaps with this effort. Owners shouldn't be afraid to scoop him up off waivers this week and start him in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens.

From TheHuddle

Cole Beasley Sep 16 3:30am ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley hauled in all four of his targets for 83 yards during the win over the Giants on Sunday. It was another relatively productive outing for Beasley, who has served as quarterback Josh Allens No. 2 receiving option behind John Brown by compiling nine receptions (13 targets) over the first two games of the season. With Robert Foster being a non-factor so far in 2019, look for the former Cowboy to continue to get his looks in the weeks ahead.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Sep 16 3:23am ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes finished 30-of-44 for 443 yards and four touchdowns in Week 2 versus the Oakland Raiders.

Fantasy Spin: Head coach Andy Reid is playing chess while opposing defensive coordinators are playing chess. Mahomes would be doing crazy things even if he didn't have Reid calling the shots, but the two of them together is lethal for defenses. Mahomes' 278 yards passing in the second quarter were the most for a player in any quarter since 2008. He should be considered the best play at his position against next week at home against the Baltimore Ravens.

From TheHuddle