DOCK OF THE BAY – The Falcons left their home in Flowery Branch, Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay on Friday.
They were just sitting on the dock of the bay, ready to make this place their home.
They got off to a 14-0 start, but when it looked like the 49ers were going to storm back, the offense threw down a 21-point barrage.
After losing to New England, the Falcons felt they had nothing to live for. It was looking like, with the running game sidetracked, that nothing was going to come their way.
But instead of just sitting on the dock of the bay at Candlestick Park, the Falcons dealt out a 45-10 whipping, unknowingly paying tribute to Macon native Otis Redding and his classic hit.
Here are five things we learned in that victory that pushed them to 3-1.
1. Roddy White is not a possession receiver!: After holding out for nine days in training camp, White came into the game averaging 7.9 yards a catch (15 catches for 119 yards). He caught eight passes for 210 yards, including touchdown catches for 31 and 90 yards. He’s now averaging 14.3 yards a catch, which is more in line with the 15.4 yards per catch he was averaging coming into this season and the 15.7 he averaged last season, when he made his first Pro Bowl trip.
2. Michael Turner can still break the big run: The Burn Unit (the offensive line) helped to spring the Burner for a big 33-yard gainer. He didn’t eclipse the 100-yard mark for the second time this season, but he did average a hearty 4.4 yards a carry. He finished with 97 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns. The burst appeared to back.
3. Matt Ryan can beat you throwing the ball: Ice, Ice baby. Ryan threw for a career high 329 yards and continued his torrid completion rate. He connected on 22 of 32 passes. Teams have stacked the box, daring Ryan to beat them. He’s 3-1 against that strategy. He’s 1-0 in blowouts when he has a solid rushing attack to support him.
4. Shaun Hill is not invincible: The 49ers quarterback was 7-0 at home. He’s now 7-1. The 49ers can’t win with him throwing the ball 38 times. The Falcons also had three sacks from Kroy Biermann, John Abraham and Thomas Johnson.
5. Jamaal Anderson might be a defensive tackle: He started the game at defensive tackle with Biermann playing left defensive end. Anderson had two assisted tackles and two quarterback hurries.
BONUS THING WE LEARNED:
6. “Doctor” Dre Bly is not Deion Sanders. He’s not even Dr. Dre the Rap star and producer. His name is probably Andrew (Looked it up, it’s Donald Andre): This has to be the bone-headed play of the year. Bly put his hand on his helmet and was about to go into high-stepping mode when White tackled and stripped him. Center Todd McClure recovered the fumble to keep the Falcons’ drive alive that ended in a field goal and a 38-10 lead. He also had a stupid facemask penalty earlier. Now, I know why Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff kept deflecting questions about signing Bly over the offseason. They Falcons needed cornerback help. But not this kind of help. TD kept saying something about the locker room, but he really must have meant “I’m not signing a ‘me first’ player.’ ” Mind you, the 49ers were down 35-10 when Bly decided that hand-to-the-helmet and high-stepping was in order.
SITTING ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY
Next Up: Da Bears! New quarterback Jay Cutler has them off to a 3-1 start. They are coming off a bye week and will be ticked. They had the Falcons beat last season before Matt Ryan’s heroics in the final 12 seconds. Also, teams coming off the bye week have won 59.9 percent of the games (57-38-1) over the last three seasons, according to Elias Sports Bureau (Give Jeff Schultz some love for digging out this stat!). This is the first of four games the Falcons will have facing a fresh team coming off a bye week. Dallas, Washington and the New York Giants will also have byes before facing the Falcons.