Falcons 40, Chiefs 24: Ryan dismantles Chiefs depleted defense

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan communicating with tight end Tony Gonzalez. (Associated Press)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan communicating with tight end Tony Gonzalez. (Associated Press)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt Ryan took the Falcons’ refurbished offense for a test drive Sunday afternoon. It handled like a dream.

With surgical precision, the Atlanta quarterback directed a 40-24 dismantling of the Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener at Arrowhead Stadium. The result was the Falcons most emphatic opening victory since they won by 27 points over New Orleans to start the 1981 season. The franchise’s biggest season-opening win was a 62-7 rout of the Saints in 1973.

“I really felt that we came out very quickly and strongly on offense,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I think it took us a while to get going on defense.”

Ryan directed the Falcons to scores on their first eight possessions of the game and they later used three straight second-half turnovers by the Chiefs to pull away from a 20-17 halftime lead.

“We wanted to start fast and we wanted to score touchdowns,” Ryan said. “We did a pretty good job of that even though we had to settle for a couple of field goals.”

Ryan completed 23 of 31 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating of 136.4 was the fourth-highest of his career.

It addition to his exceptional passing performance, Ryan ran for a touchdown as the offense, under the direction of new coordinator Dirk Koetter, was nearly unstoppable.

Ryan tossed two touchdown passes to second-year wide receiver Julio Jones and one to tight end Tony Gonzalez, who made a triumphant return to the city where he played the first 12 seasons of his storied career.

Ryan showed no favorites. Jones finished with six catches for 108 yards. Wide receiver Roddy White had six catches for 87 yards and Gonzalez had five catches for 53 yards.

Ryan took no mercy on the Chiefs, who were missing four starters on defense.

“Our offensive line played really well,” said Ryan, who was sacked just once. “The wide receivers and tight ends had good days. We had a little bit of success running the ball, too.”

The Chiefs’ first misjudgement was to leave Jones in single coverage at the start of the game.

“I think all of our guys are capable of winning on any route when they are one-on-one,” Ryan said. “But when they do have one-on-one, they better expect the ball to come.”

The Falcons capped an opening 12-play, 80-yard drive when Ryan tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jones. Matt Bryant’s extra point made the lead 7-0 and the Falcons would not trail all day. Jones was featured in the drive with three catches for 44 yards and the score.

When the Chiefs decided to cover Jones, it was White who broke loose.

“It did change at different points today,” Ryan said. “Roddy found some one-on-ones. Julio found some one-on-ones. Tony found some one-on-ones. Harry [Douglas] had a couple one-on-ones. When we get those opportunities, we have to take advantage of them.”

“Simple and plain: They made plays and we didn’t,” said Chiefs cornerback Stanford Routt.

With Ryan and the offense moving along, punter Matt Bosher nearly had the day off. He punted only once and then not until 3:31 was left in the game.

“I think he had a bunch of [placement] holds [on kicks],” Ryan said. “That’s good action.”

Ryan even got in on the fun when he emphatically spiked the ball after his touchdown run put the Falcons up 27-17 with 4:54 left in the third quarter.

“I don’t score rushing touchdowns all that often,” Ryan said. “So when I get in there, it always feels pretty good. So that’s why I spiked it.”

The Falcons’ last touchdown came on Ryan’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez, who needed some encouragement to dunk the ball over the goal post, his customary post-TD celebration.

“Honestly, I wasn’t even going to dunk it,” Gonzalez said. “But the ball went flying out of there and all of a sudden Matt comes over and puts it in my chest and says, ‘Go dunk that ball.’ So, I went up there and dunked it. I heard the boos.

“It wasn’t anything disrespectful. That’s just me. That’s how I made my bones coming up in this league.”

On defense, the Falcons showed another new facet, opening with Asante Samuel at left cornerback and Brent Grimes on the right side. Grimes played the left side for the past two seasons, while Dunta Robinson had been the right cornerback.

The new allignment limited KC Matt Cassell to 253 passing yards (21 for 33) with two interceptions and three sacks. Robinson played the slot in the nickel situations. Grimes left the game in the fourth quarter with a calf injury and did not return.

After Ryan’s rushing touchdown, defensive end John Abraham had a sack and caused a fumble that was recovered by Stephen Nicholas. That turnover led to Gonzalez’s touchdown.

Safety William Moore and Nicholas had interceptions on Kansas City’s next two possessions to help seal the victory.

Next up for the Falcons are the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning in the home opener on Monday Night Football Sept. 17 at the Georgia Dome.

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209 comments Add your comment

Escalante

September 9th, 2012
4:03 pm

falcons obviously better off with turner carrying the load looks to be a bright offensive season for the falcons but defensively we need better coverage dunta robinson was killing us today AS ALWAYS!!

Voice of Reason

September 9th, 2012
4:05 pm

First? Damn we look good!

Whadda Ya Know?

September 9th, 2012
4:08 pm

Where dem Aint’s beotches at??? Seen where ya at baby boy?

Surg

September 9th, 2012
4:10 pm

Quizz dances too much….other than that, EVERYONE was on point. Convincing win.

Whadda Ya Know?

September 9th, 2012
4:10 pm

How bout dem Dirty Birds? Wait until that defense gels.

Whadda Ya Know?

September 9th, 2012
4:13 pm

Surg…I agree. He runs into the defender instead of away from.

Tojo

September 9th, 2012
4:18 pm

Left some points on the table, but a good overall performance at a tough place to play. Feel really good for Tony G. Nolan made adjustments at halftime. Now to crack a beverage, sit back and watch the Saints finish dying.

The Real Falcon

September 9th, 2012
4:21 pm

Where is that aints guy?
NO loses to DC

James

September 9th, 2012
4:31 pm

The Saint fans sure are quite. Crickets. I mean isn’t it beyond hypocrisy for them to jam this board only after Falcon losses? Come on now how about some consistency?

Stupid

September 9th, 2012
4:34 pm

The Falcons will play in the NFC Championship game against either SF or GB. Everything clicking on all cylinders and the Falcons have a very favorable schedule. I do not see anything keeping the Falcons from the SB in 2013.

Stupid

September 9th, 2012
4:34 pm

Who the hell is or cares about Rebecca Hall?

Quedog13

September 9th, 2012
4:41 pm

Paging Matty “Choke” Ice !! Looking for Matty “Choke” Ice to comment please? Would like to hear your criticism or praise, please? :-)

The Real Falcon

September 9th, 2012
4:45 pm

SAints are A’ints~

Quedog13

September 9th, 2012
4:47 pm

Good to see Nolan make adjustments for 2nd half. D was vanilla during preseason and just went against each other at practice, so this may be 1st time really going with full D playlist with real bullets flying.

Want to see more of Quizz. IMO it’s Turner who always runs INTO piles, and it seems all you have to do is grab his ankles and he’s down.

I believe it was Wes Durham who said “These aren’t your daddy’s Falcons anymore!”

oldbird

September 9th, 2012
4:47 pm

Who dat? There ya go for all those missing the saint trolls.

Escalante

September 9th, 2012
4:49 pm

man stephen nicholas had a great game for the D as well give him credit recorded 12 tackles could be the falcons secret weapon down the stretch as everybody giving spoon all the praise look for nicholas for a breakout year

LOL at the Aints

September 9th, 2012
4:54 pm

40-32,, LOL!! AGAINST A ROOKIE QB AT HOME!!!

Mike Franklin

September 9th, 2012
4:54 pm

Like a mirror image of the UGA-Mizzou game… and good endings for both!

Decon

September 9th, 2012
4:54 pm

Where’s “Seenthisb4″? Nowhere to be found ey?

Just Sayin.....

September 9th, 2012
4:55 pm

Are we always going to be lucky enough that every team will be missing 3 impact starters?

Just sayin…..

Mike Franklin

September 9th, 2012
4:55 pm

Hey… where are all the unsaintly Aints trolls?

Who dat got scalped today, lol.

J. Whiting

September 9th, 2012
4:58 pm

Where is Seen This B 4 when you want to slap him around a little bit?

Mike Franklin

September 9th, 2012
5:00 pm

Oh, when the aints, go limping out
Oh, when the aints go limping out
Lord, how the old league will be laughin’
When the aints go limping out

Decon

September 9th, 2012
5:01 pm

Seenthisb4 won’t be on here all week until we lose and they win. At least we won’t have to see him.

SeasonTicketHolderFalcons

September 9th, 2012
5:07 pm

Offense looked good…sorry but for all the carries Turner only averaged 3 yards. You take that 11 yard gain out and he averaged 2 yards a carry! I am not saying Rodgers is answer but at least he is a run and pass threat as well as he can actually make it to the line of scrimmage in less than 2 seconds! Turner best days are behind him…he could have lost weight or worked off doughnut in the off season in order to extend his career. We are going to see some flashes but 10 to 15 carries a game is all we need from him!

Big Crimson 75

September 9th, 2012
5:07 pm

Good Win.
Matty Ice is set for a big year.
The Falcons are right there with SF, GB & Chi as the best teams in the NFC.
Lots of football left. This team can still get better.

Jackson

September 9th, 2012
5:09 pm

Dang it sure is good to see a strong effort and solid game from the Falcons. I know it’s early, but this group seems to get it. All phases strong, though running game a bit hampered. OL looked good, even the often critized Sam Baker.

Good game guys, keep it up!!!

Teddy KGB

September 9th, 2012
5:10 pm

@ Just Sayin

We are lucky that we don’t have a QB that throws 4 interceptions against a terrible team.

Just Sayin

Jackson

September 9th, 2012
5:10 pm

And special teams looked strong too!

James

September 9th, 2012
5:12 pm

Falcons won, Braves swept the Mets, Dawgs won, my alma mater Clemson won, Saints lost and Nationals lost. As the old beer commercial said, “Fellas, it doesn’t get any better than this”, unless it’s the Braves in the Series, Dawgs in National Championship game and Falcons in SB? This town will be an electric place!

SCFalcon

September 9th, 2012
5:12 pm

Whoooooohoooo! Great start to the season! Who would have believed we could make adjustments on defense at half time!!!!! Great game by thw whole team.

The icing on the cake was that the flea bag aint’s got beat by the Washington deadskins!!!! In the Superdome no less. Perfect start to the season!

Bring on the Aint’s trolls.

Esquire

September 9th, 2012
5:13 pm

SolId Game…………

CONGRATULATIONS

NFL ATLANTA FALCONS NFC SOUTH CHAMPIONS 2012

The Higher We Soar The Smaller We Appear To Those That Cannot Fly

falCANS

September 9th, 2012
5:24 pm

Julio is the next T.O. Why id Asante on the left. WHERE IS #52??? William Moore was lioking pedestrian…..Matty Ice is best QB in league starting now

Nice

September 9th, 2012
5:25 pm

Great game. That offense looked unstoppable. Great things to come!

Esquire

September 9th, 2012
5:30 pm

J. Whiting September 9th, 2012 4:58 pm
Where is Seen This B 4 when you want to slap him around a little bit?
__________________________________________________________

I can offer some insight as to any forthcoming appearance by SuxThisB4:

A) If he responds too quickly it will destroy the illusion that he actually went to the Aints game, truth be told he never left his trailer.

B) Historically you will not see any posts for several days and in light of this most embarassing loss by the Aints, at home, againt a rooke quarterback……it may take awhile. SuxThisB4 was MIA for a month after the defending Super Bowl champions Aints loss to 7-9 Seattle in 2011.

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Barry

September 9th, 2012
5:33 pm

Enter your comments here

The Real Rick

September 9th, 2012
5:35 pm

Yea those aints fans talk big….till they loose. So funny…! And yes scf, it’s good to see the adjustments at half time and there were several…..Nolan knows what he’s doing…..also Smitty didn’t look constipated, not once throughout the entire game…..never seen him look so at ease…

Buzzman

September 9th, 2012
5:37 pm

Tony Gonzalez is one Class Act. The way he moves, his actions. He sets the bar for all of the younger players. I will hate to see him retire. But he deserves it. Hopefully he will have the best season of his life. Thank you Tony for your Class Act.

Gray Mule

September 9th, 2012
5:44 pm

James – You missed the Dream. They won big today.

Good day to be an Atlanta fan.

Good second half defense for the Falcons.

jES

September 9th, 2012
5:45 pm

Great game. Ryan and Jones looked tight. Douglas will have a big year too. And the Ain’t’s lose! Great day.

Esquire

September 9th, 2012
5:51 pm

And a shout out to Matt Bryant who scored 16 points on a 4 for 4 day…………long of 41 yards. Plus 4/4 PAT’s, your Falcons leading scorer.

Red Zone Efficiency 4/7 – 57%

Goal To Go Efficiency 2/3 – 66%

Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 9.1

Nicholas 10 tackles 2 assists 1 Int

BamaGuy

September 9th, 2012
5:52 pm

Where is SeenThisB4 and HiramSaint? No shows. Just like their team today. Made RG3 look like Montana out there in the rape dome. Saints and the troll rats crapped in their pants but no worries because it smells like that over there anyway.

D-Man

September 9th, 2012
5:55 pm

Unbelievable performance by the offense. The Iceman looked incredible and dare anyone question the acquisition of one Julio Jones any further? This is the first team I’ve seen with two potential legit pro-bowl #1 Wrs on the same team. GO FALCONS!!!

Post-it

September 9th, 2012
5:59 pm

Sweet victory. Sitting in our rented rv now looking at a 14 hour drive back to atl. But so worth it. Awesome win. And great fans in KC. They deserve a winning team.

falconneil

September 9th, 2012
6:01 pm

D-Led, I guess you forgot the glorious 47-27 stomping we put on the Oilers to start Glanville’s reign in 1990. Awesome first game. I have that one on video still.

JSS

September 9th, 2012
6:06 pm

So enjoy your 8 days of spoils… The beauty of the NFL until the playoffs commence, there’s always next week…

Esquire

September 9th, 2012
6:07 pm

Tampa Bay is leading Carolina 13-0………………

Panthers – Ace Boogie is 12/17 112 yards, no TD, no INT @ halftime…………. 5 penalties for 55 yards, -1 yards rushing

Mike Franklin

September 9th, 2012
6:14 pm

Was just watching the halftime (on Fox) for SF@GB and waiting for a review of the Falcs@Chiefs but… they skipped right over it, showing ever game BUT ours.

The question is whether I missed it (which is possible) or whether Bradshaw & Co really hates Atlanta as much as everyone says.

falconsrus

September 9th, 2012
6:14 pm

seen aint been seen won’t be seen “choke” choke on dat too