By Chris Vivlamore
Roddy White knew things might go his way.
He made the most of them. White caught a season-high 147 yards on seven receptions in Sunday’s 23-17 victory over the Titans.
“I felt that way,” White said of his chances. “You just go through practice really hard and get yourself ready to go Sunday. We did a good job getting me the ball and making some plays.
“Coach said we were going to go out and kind of [out] tempo these guys. Get in and out of the huddle and try to full-court press those guys so we could go out there and get the looks we wanted, execute and throw the ball downfield.”
White was targeted by quarterback Matt Ryan 14 times. It was only his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. He had 140 yards on nine catches against the Buccaneers on Sept. 25. This season he has been plagued by dropped passes, including one more on Sunday.
“Our game plan each and every week is to try to distribute the ball to the players that are going to be open,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Certain games, certain matchups dictate different ways the ball is going to go. We knew going in that if we had a certain matchup, we felt that Roddy was going to have a chance to be very successful.”
White said it helped to get him into the offense early. He had three catches, for 25 yards, in the first half. His 43-yard reception on the Falcons’ first drive of the second half set up a Michael Turner four-yard touchdown run for a 20-3 lead.
“I feel like I get a good groove going when they get me the ball early,” White said. “We did a good job today. We got a good tempo going early.”
The Falcons used a no-huddle offense for the first three quarters. In addition to an increased tempo for the offense, it allowed the Falcons to adjust to the Titans’ defense.
“We always get the looks we want and get the right play calls,” White said of the no-huddle approach. “The defense has to line up and do what they have to do. That’s the positive note [for us] in going no huddle, [they] have to show your hand. It was productive today.”
Ryan, who finished with 316 yards on 22-of-32 passing, completed passes to six other receivers, including five to tight end Tony Gonzalez for 74 and a touchdown. He credited the Falcons’ running game for the passing success. Michael Turner rushed for 100 yards, including two runs of more than 26 yards.
“One of the things was we ran the ball pretty effectively,” Ryan said. “When you do that, you force safeties down into the box and they can’t double-cover as much. The run game certainly helped that out.”
Despite the productive day, White will likely be singled out by coaches for yet another penalty. White has been called for several this season, including a couple personal fouls. His offensive holding infraction in the third quarter wiped out much of a 16-yard run by Turner.
“Yeah, I might get credit for another penalty,” White said.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog