Falcons wideout Julio Jones is getting paid to be the best receiver in the NFL.
The Falcons may be getting a bargain.
Jones led the Falcons to a wild 24-20 win over the Eagles, with five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with a minute and three seconds left.
That gave him a receiving touchdown in six straight games, the longest active streak in league.
He also added a falling-backward, overhead circus catch to his resume, yet another of those plays it seems only he is capable of making (or at least, among a small club of people which includes DeAndre Hopkins).
The first touchdown was good, the second one great, as he was able to take a fourth-and-3 54 yards to the end zone (thanks to a block by left tackle Jake Matthews).
With that one, he passed Roddy White to become the franchise’s all-time leader in receiving yards, and he’ll add a whole lot more such records to his resume before he’s finished.
Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:
1. Carson Wentz was clearly in pain.
It clearly didn’t matter.
The Eagles quarterback, who has battled so many injuries in his short career, battled through what appeared to be more during the loss.
Wentz was dreadful in the first half (6-of-16 for 47 yards and two interceptions), after taking a few shots to the ribs and other places.
But he recovered to give the Eagles a lead with a quarterback sneak with three minutes and 13 seconds left. That led him to show off his best Rob Gronkowski-level spike (which is fitting given what he’s gone through to play football).
It got better.
His fourth-and-14 conversion (with a 44-yard strike to Nelson Agholor) was amazing, and he came up a yard short of another conversion which could have extended an already dramatic finish.
He finished 25-of-43 for 231 yards and a touchdown, along with his rushing score.
2. The Eagles have developed one of the deepest rosters in the league.
It’s a good thing, because they needed every last body Sunday.
The run on receivers started early, with wide receivers DeSean Jackson (groin) and Alshon Jeffery (calf) leaving the game, along with tight end Dallas Goedert (calf). Then, running back Corey Clement (shoulder) was hurt on the opening kickoff of the second half. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (foot) also missed time. Left tackle Jason Peters went down late in the game as well.
Wentz and Agholor left after taking hard shots, but cleared the concussion protocol and returned to the game, as did cornerback Sidney Jones.
Coupled with already losing defensive tackle Malik Jackson to a season-ending injury, it’s enough to test even the most talented team.
3. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has an MVP award on the shelf, and a reputation for making the smart play rather than the spectacular one.
But his third interception of the night was a head-scratcher, and the second week in a row in which he’s turned the ball over in the red zone.
He has enough weapons to not need to take that many chances, but was oddly inefficient Sunday.
4. The Falcons thought they could upgrade from Matt Bryant this offseason.
It didn’t take them long to realize that was a mistake.
The veteran kicker continued to prove his worth, hitting a 50-yard field goal in the first quarter.
That one made him 19-of-23 from 50 or beyond since 2016, which would be great at any age.
That Bryant’s 44 makes it amazing.
He also had to kick off for the first time in 11 years, when punter Matt Bosher came up sore and was unable to.
5. Slow starts are nothing new for the Eagles.
It was the 12th time in the last 18 games they’ve been held scoreless in the first quarter, and the sixth straight road game they’ve failed to score a touchdown in the first 15 minutes.
I guess there’s something to be said for resilience, but early holes create pressure that doesn’t always reveal itself immediately.