THE BRANCH – Here are 10 things we learned during the Falcons’ shocking 27-26 loss to the Detroit Lions.
1. The Falcons front-seven — with two new linebackers and a new nose tackle — has to improve against the run. Perhaps they are just working out the kinks and getting used to each other.
2. What was most impressive about rookie cornerback Chris Owens was how physical he was when he came up in run support.
3. Quarterback Matt Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez are going to be a force on third down.
4. Running back Michael “The Burner” Turner’s legs looked pretty fresh on that 40-yard touchdown run.
5. Defensive tackle Thomas Johnson, a free agent signee, might be a keeper. His sack on third down to force the Lions to attempt a field goal on their opening drive was a big-time play.
6. Right guard Harvey Dahl is still a beast. He worked out poor rookie Sammie Lee Hill in those first two series. Hill is trying to make the jump from SIAC school Stillman. (Morehouse and Clark Atlanta’s conference.)
7. Punter Michael “The Franchise” Koenen is not in mid-season form. His first punt went 24 yards.
8. Linebacker Tony Gilbert, who was inactive all 16 games last season, still knows what to do with an interception.
9. Thomas Brown was a little rusty on kickoff returns. He seemed to be running into tacklers.
10. Defensive end Jamaal Anderson needs to stay on his feet to stop getting so easily taken out of plays.