Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch as DLed jets his way home for Kansas City. Coach Mike Smith press conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
FLOWERY BRANCH – Surely, it won’t always be this easy.
The Falcons sprinted out of the gates with a high-powered offensive showcase in their season-opening drubbing of the Chiefs. They scored on their first eight possessions – four touchdowns, four field goals – en route to the 40-24 victory. Four scoring drives were 70 or more yards. Much of the offseason talk centered on how new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter would use the weapons at his disposal.
But this good? This fast?
“I felt like we had all the tools and if we executed right we could have that type of production,” center Todd McClure said Monday. “But going into the game I probably didn’t think it would be that easy or we would put up that many [points]. I knew we had the capabilities. It was nice. It’s tough to go on the road and to do that, in a loud environment. I think it shows what we have as an offense.”
The Falcons’ 40 points were tied for the third most in the NFL’s opening week, with the Redskins, headed into the two Monday night games. Only the Jets (48 points) and the Bears (41) scored more. It was the Falcons’ highest season-opening point total since 1990.
Other offensive numbers were impressive, considering that several starters were out early in the fourth quarter. The 376 yards of total offense was 12th in the NFL, but the 6.8 yards per play average was second best.
The 292 yards passing was seventh in the league and the 9.6 yards per completion was sixth.
The Falcons didn’t punt the ball until 3:16 remained in the game. A point not lost on the defense. They allowed the Chiefs just 182 yards in the second half – 73 of which came on their final drive when the outcome was long decided.
“They looked amazing,” defensive back Dunta Robinson said of the offense. “That is as high-powered as it gets. I think we punted once. Any time the punter has the day off, you are doing pretty good as an offense and as a team. It makes our job a lot easier.”
At the center of the offensive production was quarterback Matt Ryan. He completed 23 of 31 passes for 299 yards, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another. His 136.4 quarterback rating was second in the NFL, behind only the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (139.9).
Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 31 of the past 32 games. He has thrown 197 consecutive passes without an interception, tying the franchise record set by Steve Bartkowski (1982-83).
The Falcons used all of their top offensive players. Julio Jones caught six passes for 108 yards and both touchdowns from Ryan. The second-year receiver now has four two-touchdown games in 14 as a professional. Roddy White (six catches, 87 yards), Tony Gonzalez (five catches, 53 yards, one touchdown) and Harry Douglas (three catches, 32 yards) all contributed.
With the success of the passing game and the no-huddle offense, the Falcons did lag behind in the run game. They finished with 84 yards on 23 carries (3.7 average). Michael Turner had 32 yards on 11 carries.
It’s all part of the scheme.
“You take what the defense gives you,” McClure said. “That is what this offensive system does. Matt has a lot of freedom. We take what they give us. Whatever is easiest for us to execute well. If we’ve got to throw the ball 60 times and not run it once to get a win, I think everyone is this locker room will take it. If we’ve got to run it 60 times and not throw it, we’ve got the guys in this locker room who will be happy with that.”
- Chris Vivlamore