GAME STORY: Dolphins 28, Falcons 23

110812 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones makes a first down catch as he is tackled by Miami Dolphins safety Tyrone Culver during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011.      Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110812 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones makes a first down catch as he is tackled by Miami Dolphins safety Tyrone Culver during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

The Falcons spent most of the offseason devising a plan to become more explosive on offense.

In the exhibition opener Friday night against the Dolphins, the first-team offense arrived at the Georgia Dome with sticks of dynamite and some C4.

The first-teamers jumped out to a big lead, but the reserves could not hold it as the Dolphins won 28-23.

“There were a lot of good things,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “There were a lot of bad things and there were some okay things in the ball game. I did like several things that I saw out there. We, as a coaching staff, will dissect it when we watch tape [Saturday] and make the corrections. There are a lot of things that we need to fix.”

110812 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham, left, leaps up to celebrate his interception of Miami Dolphins Chad Henne with defensive end Chauncey Davis, right, during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011.      Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110812 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham, left, leaps up to celebrate his interception of Miami Dolphins Chad Henne with defensive end Chauncey Davis, right, during 1st quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

The first-team offense finished with three gains of 20 yards or more, two of them from highly-touted rookie wide receiver Julio Jones.

Quarterback Matt Ryan came out firing passes down the field at Jones, his new target, and slot receiver Harry Douglas. They mixed the deep passing attack with some power runs by Michael Turner and Jason Snelling in buidling an early 17-0 lead.

Ryan completed 6 of 10 passes for 91 yards and one touchdown before handing the offense over to backup quarterback John Parker Wilson. Turner finished with 21 yards on four carries.

The first two passes of the game went to Jones, but were incomplete.

On the Falcons’ second possession, Jones ran a drag route across the field and broke loose for a 21-yard catch-and-run. Two plays later, Turner powered into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown run.

After the first-team defense, which featured a new linebacker group of Stephen Nicholas, Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon, forced a punt, the offense again featured Jones.

Ryan hit Jones on a deep route over the middle for a 22-yard gain and on the following play Jones gained 12 yards on a reverse.

Seven plays later, Ryan tossed a nice spiral on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Douglas, who made a tough catch while being covered by Miami’s Nolan Carroll and Nate Ness.

But Jones was the star with his three touches for 55 yards.

“Tony Gonzalez talked to me and  he said, ‘Just do what you’ve been doing. Go out there and play football,’ “ Jones said. “I had a little talk with him. I talked with Matt Ryan as well.  He just said play football, too. They calmed me down.”

Ryan felt that Jones handled a condensed game plan well.

“He was on top of that and didn’t make any mental errors,” Ryan said. “He ran some good routes. I thought, all in all, he did a nice job.”

Ryan also connected with wide receiver Eric Weems for a 17-yard gain in the 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive.

While the offense showed off its weaponry, the first-team defense slapped the Dolphins around. However, Miami was playing without running back Reggie Bush and wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

In the first-team defense’s first three series on the field, defensive end John Abraham had an interception, they forced a punt and cornerback Brent Grimes had an interception.

The new wrinkle on defense was Weatherspoon moving to weakside linebacker in place of Mike Peterson, who later played some middle linebacker for Lofton.

Rookie kicker Matt Bosher, who’s attempting to replace Michael Koenen, did not have a good start. His three kickoffs

110812 Atlanta - Smoke and fire surround Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones as he enters the stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011.      Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

110812 Atlanta - Smoke and fire surround Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones as he enters the stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 12, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

from the 35-yard line in the first half went to the 6-, 3- and 1-yard lines. Also, his first punt went just 37 yards. After Bosher settled down, he boomed a 63-yarder in the second quarter.

Bosher, who was also the holder, appeared to handle that duty flawlessly.

“I’m sure he was nervous,” Smith said. “ Heck, I was, you know. . . but I thought he handled it well.”

The Falcons’ backup defense had problems with the deep ball and gave up touchdown passes of 44 yards and 28 yards.  The Falcons held a 17-14 lead at halftime.

“It was tough for those guys,” Smith said.  ”We haven’t seen that route combination. . . It will be part of our installation as we move into next week. It was something that we hadn’t seen. It was two good plays by them.”

After getting a 24-yard field goal from Matt Bryant in the third quarter, the Falcons’ reserves couldn’t hold the Dolphins.

Miami wide receiver Edmond Gates scored on a 6-yard pass from Matt Moore to put the Dolphins up 21-20.

In the fourth quarter, Miami’s Phillip Livas returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown.

“We lost leverage and the ball got outside of us,” Smith said. “We out-kicked our coverage and they were able to get outside.”

The Falcons received a spark on a 44-yard punt return by Dominique Franks.

Quarterback Adam Froman drove the Falcons down to Miami’s 10, but an offsides penalty negated an apparent first down run by Jacquizz Rodgers. Instead of driving in for a potentially tying score, Bryant came on and added a 33-yard field goal to make it 28-23 with 3:37 left.

After holding the Dolphins, Franks broke loose again, this time for a 33-yard punt return. Froman had another shot to pull out the victory with 1:30 left.  But he was intercepted by Vincent Askew with  5o seconds left.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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285 comments Add your comment

dawgforlife

August 13th, 2011
12:09 am

…I think it is wonderful the saint trolls are here. You know, I didn’t even realize the saints had played and I am certainly not going to their sites…Reason?…unlike saint fans who are obsessed with the Falcons, must be terrified is all I can tell. But, unlike them, I couldn’t careless what the saints do…their window closed.

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
12:09 am

SeenThisB4: No we wouldn’t. It’s a PRE-SEASON game. As the defending division champs, we’re not as desperate as you guys to have a reason to be “whooping it up.”

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:10 am

I think most of you don’t understand what this game was about. After the first quarter, those were not all backups. Those were guys on the bubble of making or not making the team. Most of those guys won’t be on the the final 53 man roster. You guys act like that was our second string players.

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
12:14 am

True. Lots of the true second stringers didn’t play past the first quater. But hey, it’s makes the trolls feel better to think of the those on-the-bubble guys as our backups.

Ackshun

August 13th, 2011
12:15 am

@Hiram Saint – I wouldn’t put that bag with the holes in it away just yet. This from ESPN.

“The Saints’ normally prolific first-team offense failed to produce a first down on its first three series. The second possession ended when Drew Brees was nearly intercepted by safety Donte Whitner. The third stalled when a long pass over the middle went through receiver Robert Meachem’s hands.
Brees’ finished 1 of 4 for 6 yards before Chase Daniel came on to get New Orleans’ first first down on a 19-yard scramble, which had 15 yards added for a late hit. That set up Garrett Hartley’s 47-yard field goal for the first points of the game.”

Scout teams beating up on Scout teams don’t impress anybody. You guys are in big trouble this year and all you aints know it. 7-9 at best.

Redneck Falcants fans

August 13th, 2011
12:19 am

FAILCANTS are a loser franchise…..where’s your ring? Oh, that’s right, you have been unable to win one…..must feel terrible….I wouldn’t know, losers…..

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:20 am

And while we are being factual

Matt Ryan played 3 series and was 6 of 10, 91yds and a TD
Brees left the game with about five minutes left in the first quarter and only completed one of four passes for six yards

Jones plays were against the Miami 1st team defense
Ingram’s 14 yard TD run came at the end of the second half against backups

Miami had a better defense than SF last year.

Saints treated this as a tune up game
Falcons wanted to use most of the game to evaluate players on the bubble

So yeah, there are the Saints delusions and there are facts

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:21 am

sorry that should say Ingrams yards came at the end of the second quarter

J.J.M.

August 13th, 2011
12:23 am

lol saints fans have nothing better to do….

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
12:23 am

Aaaah, the ring card. I was wondering when it would come up. One ring does not a dynasty make. Any franchise can luck up & win ONE. I know, I know, ‘09 is your wildcard. You just keep holding to it. With the way things are looking for you all this season, you’ll need something to make you feel better.

M&M

August 13th, 2011
12:23 am

Ackshun

August 13th, 2011
12:15 am
@Hiram Saint – I wouldn’t put that bag with the holes in it away just yet. This from ESPN.

“The Saints’ normally prolific first-team offense failed to produce a first down on its first three series. The second possession ended when Drew Brees was nearly intercepted by safety Donte Whitner. The third stalled when a long pass over the middle went through receiver Robert Meachem’s hands.
Brees’ finished 1 of 4 for 6 yards before Chase Daniel came on to get New Orleans’ first first down on a 19-yard scramble, which had 15 yards added for a late hit. That set up Garrett Hartley’s 47-yard field goal for the first points of the game.”

Scout teams beating up on Scout teams don’t impress anybody. You guys are in big trouble this year and all you aints know it. 7-9 at best.

:mrgreen:

digatl

August 13th, 2011
12:25 am

Our depth on D is atrocious, especially in the secondary. If our starters (nickel, safety, OLB) are marginal for a playoff calibre team.

We need to get lucky with health AND hope some of the young backups develop quickly, although TBH I don’t see a lot of hope in many of them (Franks? Owens? no.. .maybe Dent?)

The cupboard is pretty bare for backups, and unfortunately b/c of the Julio trade we don’t have a lot to trade to acquire depth. There are some average veteran FAs (Ellis Hobbs, Tye Hill, Lito Sheppard, Deon Grant) still available… also like Chinedum Ndukwe, former Bangle.

We will need 3 competent corners to defend the modern NFL offense (Packers, Eagles). We don’t have them

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:25 am

oh and more facts

The Dolphins have the same coaching staff and many of their players are in the second year of the system

The 49ers have a brand new coaching staff and system They were trying to figure out how to line up properly while the Saints DC was bringing complicated blitz packages lol Let me guess, the Saints think they have an elite pass rush now too.

digatl

August 13th, 2011
12:26 am

*even our starters are marginal

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
12:28 am

@digatl: I must say, I wish we’d pick up just one CB (don’t think we need 3). I don’t like the idea of going into the season with Owens as the potential nickel back. I don’t know how awful he has to play for them to finally give up on him. He reminds me a lot of Chris Houston. All the talk about him having all the “tools,” yet all he does is give up catches & TD’s.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:30 am

This is all you need to know about this game

ATL’s starting defense was in for all but last series of 1st Qtr. They held MIA to 7 plays for 5 net yds, had 2 INTs & gave up no 1st downs.

Dominique Franks returns 2 punts for 77 yards

Atlanta’s first team offense was up by 17 against the Dolphins when we sent in, not backups, but bubble players.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:32 am

Some of you would rather gouge your eyes out than admit the team did well until we sent in bubble players to see who we should cut. I don’t understand why you bother being fans of a team you clearly don’t like.

S. WHITE

August 13th, 2011
12:33 am

IF THE ” SAD BIRDS” HAD WON LIKE THE 2010 SUPERBOWL CHAMPS, THEN ALL YOU “FALCANT FANS” WOULD BE TALKING A DIFFERENT STORY AND NOT ALL THESE EXCUSES. ALWAYS REMEMBER POINTS = WINS. WE GOT THE “W” AND THE MOMENTUM ON OPENING NIGHT. TAKE UR “L” AND GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD. NIGHTEE NITE.
WHO DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:34 am

Welike, I agree with you. I would feel a lot safer if we had one more good veteran CB. That, imho, is the one thing we lack.

Jay

August 13th, 2011
12:38 am

The Dolphins had the top ten defense in the league last year and was the best team on the road in the league. They have stacked up on speed and skill players. If you think the Falcons did any thing special tonight your kidding yourself. Falcons got whip. First team or not.Don’t try to come away with a moral victory. Dolphin for liiiiiiiife. Bring it, we right here.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:43 am

Jay, thank you for proving my point. The Dolphins were a good team and ATL’s starting defense held MIA to 7 plays for 5 net yds, had 2 INTs & gave up no 1st downs. The Falcons 1st team offense was up on the 1st team Miami defense 17-0 when they left the game. Thanks for clearing that up. Glad we agree

Jay

August 13th, 2011
12:51 am

The games is 4 quarters not one. At the end of 4 we won. That is what matters.You guys have not been good since the dirty bird days. You came to Miami for the Super Bowl and couldn’t even stay focus. The players we’re chasing prostitutes up and down Biscayne boulevard. What a joke.

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
12:57 am

S. WHITE: I’m sorry, maybe I missed it, were you all the 2010 Super Bowl champs? Oh, that’s right you’re not the DEFENDING Super Bowl champs. You bet, if we were the DEFENDING Super Bowl champs we’d remind anyone who would listen. Fact is, you guys are not the DEFENDING Super Bowl champs either. For the record, why would we “make excuses” about a PRE-SEASON game? Seriously. Who’s making excuses? Excuses to who? The Aints troll bragging about their PRE-SEASON victory over the lowly 49ers? LOL…it’s a PRE-SEASON game! I didn’t know the Aints fans were so desperate. I guess if my squad’s last game was an embarrassment at the hands of a team that finished the regular season with a losing record, I’d be chomping at the bit for a reason to celebrate too. Go ahead, celebrate your PRE-SEASON victory. LOL…wow…

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:58 am

Yes, congrats. You beat our UDFA’s who will either be on the practice squad or selling shoes. Did you notice we went straight to our 3rd string QB and most of the other positions weren’t even 2nd string either? So as a coach is that what you would focus on or would you focus on the fact that your first team, the one that will actually be playing the game, was dominated on both sides of the ball. Your first team didn’t get a single first down against our starters. It sounds like you are the one looking for moral victories here. I am satisfied that if we played a real game today, the Falcons would win the game. That is all I need.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
12:59 am

welike, I think Jay is a Miami fan.

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
1:01 am

Yeah, that last post was directed at S. WHITE. As for Jay, I guess if I were a Dolphin fan I’d hold dearly to a PRE-SEASON win too. That might be all they have to celebrate for a while!

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
1:04 am

Oh well. It is the preseason. I am not taking too much from this. It was nothing more than a chance to knock some rust off and see the guys on the bubble. That being said. I really hope we find a spot for Bear Woods. He has a nose for the ball. He is a great player for depth, even though we are pretty deep at LB. Also, some of those UDFA DEs looked good too.

David

August 13th, 2011
1:15 am

All I know is I cannot wait to play the Saints. Cannot wait. Question is how many Saints trolls will show up on this blog after getting their Butts kicked. It will be interesting.

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
1:17 am

Yeah, Woods was exciting to watch. And yep, our young defensive linemen looked good as a whole. The offense will be fine. Having Edwards in there will help tremendously. I’m a little worried about the secondary, but like you said, it’s the preseason. As long as it’s straightened out by top of the season, we’ll be fine.

welikebaseball2

August 13th, 2011
1:17 am

@David: Amen!

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 13th, 2011
1:20 am

Yeah, I hope we pick up another vet CB on waivers once teams start cutting for cap. I say I hope, because I have no idea how much space we will have until we cut some of the 172 UDFA’s we have lol.

AJC is blind

August 13th, 2011
1:28 am

How can the AJC put on it’s FRONT page. Falcons shine but “Miami rallies to win??????” Did I miss something. I watche the entire game and I do believe that the Falcons won!!!! Wow with a hometown news paper like the AJC, who needs enemies…

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 13th, 2011
2:32 am

Don’t feed — The other guy — Parrish — had a 60-yarder, too.

KQuark

August 13th, 2011
2:56 am

Chris Owens must go!

Rikus

August 13th, 2011
4:04 am

Wow, awesome job by our first teamers! I don’t put much stock in pre-season games, but yet I couldn’t be happier with what I’m hearing!! Not at all concerned about who won, or what happened later in the game.

ken

August 13th, 2011
4:30 am

chris owens is trash, lol ….he got burnt by hartline of all people. dumb a## fell for the punk fake. yeah punk fake instead of pump, lol

Atl NiNjA

August 13th, 2011
5:08 am

btw its preseason, who really cares who won, doesnt mean anything(except to TAINT fans) it is a way for coaches to judge talent, thats it! our team will kick ass this year regardless, dont fret on the haters, that is their purpose, to hate, thats it, go back to NO, Im sorry we accepted u when your city was underwater, Im sorry I was rooting for your team in the big game(I thought even though we are enemies you bringing the trophy to our conf. was a good thing, I was wrong) didnt know I would feed the trolls for yrs to come, the TAINTS are done, they have nothing, their fans are losers who comment on other teams blogs, nuff said

Michael

August 13th, 2011
5:44 am

You really need to boycott these games until the owners hurt and everyone’s salary comes down. Or you can just keep paying hundreds for a ticket so you can feel good about yourself because of what grown men in pretty uniforms do on a football field. Think Joe Johnson — they don’t really care about you, your team or your city. They’re here to get paid.

HJones

August 13th, 2011
6:39 am

DOL, Your best statement ever:

In the exhibition opener against the Miami Dolphins, the first-team offense arrived at the Georgia Dome with sticks of dynamite and some C4 Friday night.

This game was to show an improved offense; the defense comes next.

Paddy

August 13th, 2011
6:48 am

It is pre-season and who cares about the score? Win or lose. We have a great coaching staff and all will be fine. CHILL

Bud Wiser

August 13th, 2011
8:01 am

I was at the game, and I’ll say this season will be exciting if the starters can stay healthy.

On the flip side however, the backups, particularly on defense, stank the place up.

Go Birds!!

Redneck Falcants fans

August 13th, 2011
8:06 am

Dumbest thought is for FAILCANT fans to think they will actually win a SB. Who goes 14-2 with home field advantage and then implodes? FAILCANTS. Your pathetic franchise has no character, no identity, no sense of finishing strong. Epic fail. Hurts, huh? Brutal facts of reality usually do. Saints fans could care less about preseason, we are on this board to tweak you and it’s easy….btw, where is your ring?

Redneck Falcants fans

August 13th, 2011
8:08 am

Difference between a dirty tub and a dirty bird? Tub has a RING! Wo dat, losers…..

Manny

August 13th, 2011
8:08 am

Can I just ask one thing? When is Brent Grimes going to be noticed as one of the really good NFL corners? I mean, how long is it going to be?

Falcon James

August 13th, 2011
8:09 am

I just got to say. the falcon look bad last night. ryan arm still weak. julio look like he slow and cant catch just like everbody say. he drop too many pass that hit him in the hand. the defence look like they dancing at the senior prom. what was that? abe look old and tired. don’t look like we improved at all over last season. falcon need to shape up or ship out.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 13th, 2011
8:20 am

HJones — My editor didn’t like the C4 reference. It didn’t make the paper.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 13th, 2011
8:23 am

Coach defended C. Owens. Said they hadn’t practiced against that route combination before. They were to install it this week. (My man Steve Wyche, who was at the game with his kids, said he thought Owens peeked into the backfield).

Ackshun

August 13th, 2011
8:24 am

@Redneck Falcants Fans = You didnt really see that Niners v. Saints game did you? Well I did. And I saw what was once the leagues most powerful offense get held to 3 point IN THE FIRST HALF (yeah they played the starters all first half) by one of the youngest most inexperienced teams in the league.

Now do you really believe that Sean Payton is home this morning rubbing his championship ring from two years ago and saying “my precious”. Nope – he is trying wondering how in the hell he is going to compete this year with what he saw from his starters last night.

But on the upside, you got a pretty new building to LOSE in this year. I guess thats good!

Truth Hurts

August 13th, 2011
8:25 am

FALCON JAMES – stfu and proof read before you post.

Truth Hurts

August 13th, 2011
8:35 am

Manny – Grimes is a beast!