PHILADELPHIA — Peter Konz, the Falcons’ top draft pick, made his first NFL start at right guard against the Eagles on Sunday.
Konz, a second-round pick (55th overall) from Wisconsin, has been active for all seven games and had been contributing on special teams.
Garrett Reynolds, who started the first six games, has missed practice time due to a back injury.
Konz, 6 foot 5 and 317 pounds, appeared to hold up in pass protection and was solid with his run blocking
On one play in the second quarter, he couldn’t match the power of Philadelphia defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, but he guided him away for quarterback Matt Ryan, who scrambled for a 7-yard gain.
Konz also looked solid on a combination block, where he passed a defender over to center Todd McClure and then got back in place to pick up Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who was blitzing.
With Konz in the lineup, running backs Jacquizz Rodger and Michael Turner combined to rush for more than 100 yards.
Defensive tackle Corey Peters, who was activated from the reserve/non-football list on Friday, saw his first action of the season in the second quarter.
With Peters back from a foot injury, the Falcons unveiled a new first-down defense that featured three defensive tackles and one defensive end.
At times, the Falcons used Jonathan Babineaux at end and Vance Walker and Peria Jerry at tackles. Later they replaced Jerry with Peters in an attempt to improve their run defense. The Eagles finished with 92 rushing yards.
Bowing to the weather
Inclement weather demanded that the Falcons attempt to run the ball. Despite a slow start, they stayed with the ground game and it paid off late in the third quarter.
Chipping away at the Eagles with a 27-10 lead, Rodgers finally broke away for a 43-yard run to the Eagles’ 28-yard line. The drive led to a field goal.
With the pre-game forecast calling for wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy, the Falcons attempted to lean on their rushing attack early.
The Falcons opened with fullback Lousaka Polite in front of Turner in the I-formation. The Falcons ran the ball nine times on their 16-play opening drive. On their second possession, the Falcons ran the ball four times on an eight-play touchdown drive.
Though the rain held off until the third quarter, Falcons finished with 146 ground yards on 37 attempts for an average of 3.9 yards per carry.
Not so close
The Eagles had played all of their previous opponents close. Five of Philadelphia’s first six games were decided by three or fewer points.
The Eagles had won four straight at home against the Falcons. Atlanta’s last win in Philadelphia came on Oct. 30, 1988.
Wide receiver Harry Douglas, who was declared out on Friday, was inactive for the game along with backup quarterback Dominique Davis, center-guard Joe Hawley, tackle Lamar Holmes, defensive tackle Travian Robertson, defensive tackle Jonathan Massaquoi and defensive end Cliff Matthews.
Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. … Walker left the game with a head injury, but returned. … Philadelphia wide receiver Mardy Gilyard suffered a hamstring injury and did not return to the game. … Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (ankle) left the field for X-rays, but returned.
Under coach Andy Reid, the Eagles are now 13-1 after a bye week. … Defensive end John Abraham, who had 9 1/2 sacks last season, recorded his seventh sack in the fourth quarter.
OTHER RECENT STORIES