Because they opened the season earlier than the rest of the NFL, the Eagles were able to spend a few extra days basking in the glow of their impressive Week 1 performance against Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

They held the four-time Pro Bowler to his lowest completion percentage (48.8) since 2011 in their 18-12 win, and held him without a touchdown pass for only the sixth time in the last six years.

They sacked Ryan four times and harassed him most of the night. They quashed four of the Falcons' five red-zone challenges and allowed them to convert just four of 15 third-down opportunities.

Then the Tampa Bay Bucs, who will face the Eagles on Sunday, put up 48 points on the Saints over the weekend, and their attention quickly shifted to a new challenge.

"It was eye-opening to watch it, for sure,'' defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said of the Bucs' impressive offensive performance. "They made a lot of big plays.

"DeSean Jackson down the field. [Mike] Evans. The tight end. A lot of big plays. [Quarterback Ryan] Fitzpatrick's been around for a long time. He got hot, and New Orleans had a hard time getting him stopped."

Fitzpatrick, filling in for the suspended Jameis Winston, completed 21-of-28 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns. Evans and ex-Eagle Jackson combined for 12 catches for 293 yards and three touchdowns.

"Before you even turn on the tape, the [48] points obviously catch your eye,'' said safety Malcolm Jenkins. "You see the plays they had. You've got to be prepared for that. They like to take shots down the field.

"They have a quarterback that isn't afraid to take chances, and they have receivers that can make plays. We definitely have to stop the big play. We gave up five plays last week of over 20 yards. That's definitely a point of emphasis for us.''

The Bucs have no shortage of big-play receivers. Jackson has averaged 17.4 yards per catch in his career, and even at 31, still can put the fear of God into defensive backs, though a concussion may keep him out of Sunday's game.

The 6-5, 231-pound Evans has a 15.0-yard career average to go with four straight 1,000-plus yard receiving seasons.

Their third wideout, Chris Godwin, averaged 15.4 yards per catch as a rookie last year. And tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate combined for 12 touchdown passes. So, yeah, they can score in a hurry. Four of their five touchdown drives against the Saints were six plays or less.

Against the Saints, the Bucs had six pass plays of 35 yards or more, including four by Jackson, two for touchdowns. That's just six fewer than they had all last season.

"DeSean is a guy that can blow the top off the coverage,'' Jenkins said. "Evans might not be the fastest guy, but he's great in jump-ball situations. They'll throw it deep to him and he makes a lot of plays on the ball.

"So, you have two guys with a lot of big-play ability. You've got other guys who are good at making contested catches and big plays, and a quarterback who can scramble and doesn't mind throwing it down the field. So that's a recipe for some explosive plays.

"We have to make sure that we're winning those matchups; that we're not giving them a bunch of time to throw the ball down the field.''

Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career day vs. the Saints.
Butch Dill / AP
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career day vs. the Saints.

Fitzpatrick benefited from two things Sunday. One was the Saints' inability to get any kind of pressure on him. He wasn't sacked and usually had enough time to do the New York Times crossword puzzle before letting it fly downfield to Jackson or Evans or one of his other receivers.

"Fitzpatrick was protected real well," cornerback Jalen Mills said. "His line did a really, really good job of letting him go through all of his reads and hit the guys that were open.

"I was always told good coverage equals sacks and good pressure equals interceptions. So defensive backs work hand-in-hand with those guys [up front]."

The other thing, which ties in with the Saints' inability to get pressure on Fitzpatrick, was that he was in precious few third-and-long situations. The Bucs converted eight of their 13 third-down opportunities. Ten of those third downs were six yards or less. Eight were four yards or less.

The Bucs averaged 9.94 yards on first down. Fitzpatrick killed it on first down. He was 12-for-14 for 239 yards, two touchdowns and nine first downs.

But the Eagles aren't the Saints. Last season, the Eagles had the best first-down defense in the league, holding opponents to 4.26 yards per play. Last week, they held the Falcons to 3.96 yards on first down.

"You want to win first down,'' Mills said. "That way, you can open up your playbook and call what you want and be unpredictable.''

The 36-year-old Fitzpatrick knows he's facing a much, much better defense this week than he did in Week 1. He knows he almost certainly is going to be facing a lot more pressure and dealing with a lot fewer third-and-short situations.

"When you watch them play, whether it's their front four or linebackers or their guys on the back end, [what you notice is] the confidence and the speed that they play with,'' Fitzpatrick said.

"Every single play you can feel it. Even though it's coaches tape, you can feel the energy and the swagger. That's probably the most impressive thing about each of their groups out there.''

Chris Long forces Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to fumble during the season opener on Sept. 6.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Chris Long forces Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to fumble during the season opener on Sept. 6.

Effective blitz

If you've been paying even a little bit of attention to the Eagles' defense the last three years, then you know Jim Schwartz is not an avid blitzer.

He is a wide-nine devotee who prefers to attack quarterbacks with a four-man rush. His defenses usually are at or near the bottom of the league each year in blitz frequency. It's just the way he rolls.

During the regular-season last year, the Eagles blitzed on just 21.7 percent of their opponent's pass plays. The year before, it was 21.2 percent.

In their Week 1 win over the Falcons, the Eagles blitzed Matt Ryan on just 11 of 47 pass plays (23.4 percent). But they were extremely effective when they sent extra rushers.

Ryan was just 3 for 8 for 47 yards when the Eagles blitzed. The fourth-quarter red-zone interception he threw came on a zero blitz. Three of the Eagles' four sacks were on blitzes, though Schwartz said a sack split by Chris Long and Jordan Hicks on the Falcons' final possession wasn't really a blitz.

He said Hicks was "mugging" Ryan and didn't go after him until he was flushed from the pocket.

Last year, 11 of the Eagles' 38 sacks came on blitzes. The year before, it was nine of 34.

"When you can blitz on your own terms, you're at an advantage,'' Schwartz said. "It's frustrating if you're not getting pressure and you have to blitz. It can put you in a bad spot.''

Figuring the Eagles

• The Falcons only rushed for 74 yards on 18 carries against the Eagles. Fifty-three of those 74 yards came on first down, including 20 by Devonta Freeman on the third play of the game. The Falcons averaged 4.8 yards per carry on first down. The Eagles held opponents to 3.4 yards per carry on first down last season, which was the fourth best mark in the league.

• Jay Ajayi played just nine of 30 snaps in the first half against the Falcons, and had three carries for 11 yards. He played 20 of 34 snaps in the second half and had 12 carries for 51 yards. A breakdown of Ajayi's 2017 regular-season and post-season rushing yards and carries by half:

• Falcons QB Matt Ryan completed just one of nine passes for three yards against the Eagles in the red zone. He also threw an interception and was sacked once in the red zone.

• The Eagles converted all four of their third downs of two yards or less against the Falcons. All four plays were run plays. Last season, the Eagles converted 25 of 37 third downs of two yards or less (67.6 percent). That was the ninth best percentage in the league.

This and That

• The Eagles' Spanish Radio Network has their booth back this season. You may recall that play-by-play man Rickie Ricardo and his team were moved out of their booth at the Linc last year so that Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas and his aides could have a private suite to watch games. With no other space available, the Eagles moved Ricardo to a hastily-built obstructed-view booth in the back of the press box in a corner of the end zone. To their credit, the Eagles shuffled things around in the offseason, found another suite for Douglas and moved Ricardo and his team back to their original digs.

• Without Alshon Jeffery, many people, including myself, expected the Eagles to play more "12″ personnel (1RB, 2TEs, 2WR) and less "11″ (1RB, 1TE, 3WRs) against the Falcons. But that didn't happen. The Eagles ended up using "11″ personnel on 49 of 64 plays (76.6%). That's more "11'' than they played in all but three games last season. Wide receiver DeAndre Carter played 53 snaps, while second-round tight end Dallas Goedert played just 17 snaps. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh insisted it had nothing to do with their level of trust in Goedert. "I think it just kind of happened that way," he said. "I don't know there was a particular plan to limit his reps. We feel very confident in what Dallas is going to do and how he'll produce for us as the year goes on." Goedert had just one catch for four yards. He had a pass knocked out of his hands in the fourth quarter that was intercepted by Falcons linebacker Deion Jones. "It was kind of a bang-bang play," Goedert said. "The safety (Damontae Kazee) made a good play. It was unfortunate. I feel I have pretty good hands. So, usually, I catch it out in front of me. But [tight ends] coach [Justin Peelle] said that one might be one where I would've been better off trap-catching it with my body to take the hit."