PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Asante Samuel just wanted to give his former coach a little love.
Andy Reid turned him away.
Too bad for Reid his Eagles couldn’t do the same to Atlanta’s offense.
Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes on Atlanta’s first three possessions against the Eagles and new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and the Falcons remained the NFL’s only unbeaten team with a convincing 30-17 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
Samuel, who played four seasons with the Eagles, had every reason to puff his chest after the Falcons raced to a 7-0 start for the first time in the franchise’s 47-year history.
Reid had no desire to wish him well, the outspoken Samuel said. In the postgame locker room, Samuel mimicked Reid waddling away from him during the handshake.
“I was like dang, Big Red, what I did?” Samuel said. “So I just pat him on the belly a little bit. That big belly.”
Reid has a pretty big target after the latest Eagles’ debacle left him pondering his next big move.
The Eagles lost for the first time since Bowles replaced embattled Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator, a sign that personnel, as much as play-calling, is at fault.
“You don’t go from the outhouse to the penthouse in one week,” Bowles said. “Right now, we’re in the damn outhouse.”
In a desperate purge, Reid dumped his loyal coordinator.
His next move, perhaps, could be changing his quarterback. Reid softened his usual staunch defense of Michael Vick and said every Eagle after this “embarrassing performance” was being evaluated. Vick was a pedestrian 21 of 35 for 191 yards and a touchdown, and failed to beat his former team in his second start against the Falcons since returning to the NFL in 2009.
“Whatever decision Coach makes, I support it,” Vick said. “The thing I know is, I’m giving it everything I’ve got out there when I step on the field. Deep down, as long as I know I’m doing that, giving it everything, that’s all I can ask out of myself.”
Philadelphia’s struggles are no longer Samuel’s concern.
“We’re 7-0 over here baby,” Samuel said. “If I was over there now, they have to go to work.”
The Eagles (3-4) lost after a bye for the first time in 14 games under coach Andy Reid since 1999.
“That was an embarrassing performance,” Reid said. “I’m stating the obvious. We need to get better. I need to do a better job. This is fixable. We have the talent.”
Ryan finished 22 of 29 for 262 yards and three TDs for his first win against his hometown team in three tries.
The Falcons scored on their first six possessions before punting for the first time with 5:35 left.
“When you do that, it’s going to be a good day,” Ryan said.
This was a validation win for Atlanta. The Falcons entered with no victories over a team with a winning record and their opponents were a combined 13-24 going into this weekend. Perhaps that’s why they were a surprising 3-point underdog despite Philadelphia’s recent struggles.
“We like to have a lot of fun,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We have a very mature group. We have a bunch of guys who are mentors. We’re good at focusing on the task at hand. We’re on point when we kick off and guys have done a good job focusing all season.”
Reid’s Eagles have lost three in a row after starting 3-1.
The faint “Fire Andy!” chants from the upper deck show exactly who Eagles fans believe deserves the brunt of the blame for the biggest debacle in a season slipping away. Those fans who gutted out the elements weren’t alone as (hashtag)Fire Andy was trending on Twitter late in the fourth quarter.
The anti-Reid fans may be seeing him in his final months with the team. Owner Jeffrey Lurie already stated before the season that another 8-8 finish would be “unacceptable.”
The Falcons methodically drove 80 yards on 16 plays on the opening possession, converting five third downs. A holding call on defensive end Jason Babin kept the drive going after Ryan threw an incomplete pass on third-and-10. Ryan then threw a 15-yard TD pass to Drew Davis for a 7-0 lead.
Ryan tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Jason Snelling to make it 14-0. Penalties on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Mychal Kendricks on separate third downs kept Atlanta’s drive going.
After going three-and-out on the first series, the Eagles put it together on the next drive by mixing in seven runs among their 13 plays. LeSean McCoy scored from the 2 to cut it to 14-7.
But the Falcons answered quickly. Ryan connected with Julio Jones over Nnamdi Asomugha for the 63-yard score to put Atlanta up 21-7.
Atlanta converted their first nine third-down tries, including three by penalty. The Eagles finally held in the final minute of the second quarter and Matt Bryant’s 43-yard field goal gave the Falcons a 24-7 halftime lead. Bryant kicked field goals of 29 and 30 on the next two drives.
The Eagles made it 30-17 on Vick’s 7-yard TD pass to McCoy in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: The Falcons won in Philadelphia for the first time since Oct. 30, 1988. They were 0-6 with two playoff losses. … The Eagles got their first sack in four games since Week 3. … Eagles rookie Dennis Kelly took his first NFL snap, starting for the injured Danny Watkins (ankle) at RG. … Falcons coach Mike Smith moved past Dan Reeves into first place on the club’s all-time list with 50 wins.
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