Running back Jay Ajayi scores two touchdowns as Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles began their title defence by defeating the Atlanta Falcons
London-born Ajayi also rushed for a two-point conversion and quarterback Nick Foles caught a pass just like he did in the Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots as the Eagles re-enacted a trick play from the Super Bowl.
The Eagles unveiled their championship banner before the start of the contest which was delayed 45 minutes because of heavy rain.
Once the rain stopped the banner, which read “2017 World Champions”, was hoisted high at Lincoln Financial Field.
Jeffrey Lurie was among those who took part of the pre-game festivities as the Eagles owner brought the Lombardi trophy onto the field.
The past two NFC champions both looked rusty to start their season opener before the offences finally got on track in the fourth quarter.
The mostly lacklustre affair ended with a defensive stand by Philadelphia as the Falcons had a chance to win the game on the last play. But receiver Julio Jones was pushed out of bounds after making a leaping catch near the end zone sideline with no time left on the clock.
“This was a hard-fought win,” said Foles of the rematch of last season’s NFC divisional playoff round encounter. “We build on this, we keep building.”
The 29-year-old Texan completed 19-of-34 passes for a total of 117 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Foles, who nearly retired two years ago and started last season as the backup quarterback to Carson Wentz, was starting Thursday ahead of Wentz who remains sidelined after going down injured midway through last season.
Philadelphia captured their first Super Bowl title by defeating the Patriots 41-33 in an epic contest in February. Foles earned the MVP award in leading Philadelphia to their first NFL championship since 1960.