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Falcons Off to a Flying Start at 2-0

September 14, 1998|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons vowed this season wouldn't begin like the last two. So far, they're living up to their promise.

Instead of putting themselves in an inescapable hole, the Falcons are at 2-0 for the first time since 1986 after beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 17-12, on Sunday.

"This is what we talked about all during the off-season," said Jamal Anderson, who ran for the decisive touchdown in the third quarter. "The emphasis was on starting out this year like we finished last year."

Atlanta lost its first eight games in 1996 and started 0-5 a year ago. But the Falcons closed out '97 at 6-2, a trend that has carried over to this season.

Rebounding from a dismal first half Sunday, Atlanta scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter. Chris Chandler threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Brian Kozlowski and Anderson had a one-yard scoring run.

The Eagles could have blown the game open in the first half. Instead, they began the season with their second consecutive loss, the first time that's happened in eight years.

At least Philadelphia showed some improvement after its 38-0 home loss to Seattle in the opener.

"We worked hard to try to clean up what happened last weekend," defensive end Al Wallace said. "We tried to put it together for the whole game, but it wasn't to be. What can I say? We came up short."

The Falcons trailed, 9-0, at halftime and were fortunate not to be down by more. Philadelphia had a 208-63 lead in total yards and piled up 14 first downs to Atlanta's five. But the Eagles had an extra point blocked, missed a field goal and had a touchdown called back by a penalty.

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