Atlanta Falcons improve to 2-0; beat Broncos 27-21

September 17, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga.,: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shows his frustration with running back Willis McGahee, right, after Manning is sacked by the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of their game in the Georgia Dome Monday night in Atlanta, Ga., September 17, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

September 17, 2012 - Atlanta, Ga.,: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shows his frustration with running back Willis McGahee, right, after Manning is sacked by the Atlanta Falcons in the first half of their game in the Georgia Dome Monday night in Atlanta, Ga., September 17, 2012. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

Is Peyton Manning washed up? Short answer: no.

It sure looked like it early against the Falcons and the nation was able to witness his errant passing on Monday Night Football.

The Falcons used Manning’s mistakes to jump on the Broncos early but were forced to hold on for a 27-21 victory before a raucous crowd of 70,427 at the Georgia Dome.

“We needed everyone in that locker room tonight to get the job done,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I’m really proud of the performance we turned in tonight, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”

In this battle of no-huddle offenses, one operated by Manning, the master, and the other by Matt Ryan, still the aspiring star, the Falcons prevailed to improve to 2-0. The Broncos dropped to 1-1.

The Falcons’ secondary was ready for Manning and his legendary resume, hand gestures and play calling. Atlanta intercepted three of his passes and caused a fumble by former Georgia standout Knowshon Moreno to halt another drive.

“We felt that if we could rattle him early, we could dictate the flow of the game,” free safety Thomas DeCoud said. “The main focus was to confuse him all game.”

But when Manning’s rally came — he drove the Broncos 45 yards to close to within six points with 3:25 to play — Ryan connected on a critical third-and-5 pass with Julio Jones, achieving a first down with just over minutes left, sealing the deal.

“That is something that we really harp on whenever we are out, whether it’s practice or what have you,” left guard Justin Blalcok said. “We have a four-minute offense where we want to grind the clock out. We were hoping to do it the drive before better than we did. That is something that offensive football teams pride themselves on, being able to go in there and not give the ball back. It was very important not to give those guys another shot.

“We all know the situation there. Yes, when we saw [Jones] getting down the field a little bit everybody had a big sigh of relief.”

Manning opened in a fog. On his first pass of the game, cornerback Dunta Robinson forced the ball out and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon nearly came up with an interception. After a run for a loss of 2 yards on a run by Willis McGahee, strong safety William Moore intercepted Manning’s pass intended for tight end Jacob Tamme and returned it to Denver’s 1-yard line.

It took the Falcons, who struggled with their short yardage runs last season, three plays to get running back Michael Turner into the end zone to make it 7-0.

Manning was making just his second start in his Colorado comeback. The premier quarterback of his day, was out of the league for 20 months after undergoing neck surgeries. He was released by his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, and is trying to resurrect his career in Denver.

Later in the first quarter, he completed a pass to Brandon Stokley before being sacked by Weatherspoon. On his next throw down the field, DeCoud intercepted the pass and returned it 15 yards to Denver’s 33-yard line.

The Falcons drove to the 19, but Julio Jones dropped an apparent touchdown pass in the end zone on third down. Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal to put the Falcons up 10-0 with 9:46 left in the first quarter.

On Denver’s third possession, Manning, apparently determined to throw the ball down the field, was intercepted again. This time, backup cornerback Robert McClain, who was in for Asante Samuel, intercepted a pass intended for Stokley and returned it 32 yards to Atlanta’s 47 yard line.

The Falcons couldn’t convert McClain’s interception into any points and were forced to punt.

On Denver’s next drive, Manning didn’t try a throw into the teeth of the Falcons’ nickel defense and the Broncos were forced to punt.

The game took a turn for the bizarre near the end of the first quarter, as the replacement officials struggled to maintain control on a routine fumble and pile-up play.

After linebacker Stephen Nicholas forced Knowshon Moreno to fumble, mayhem broke out after the play. The officials never signaled possession and were slow to clear up the pile. While Denver coach John Fox got in the middle of the action. Samuel got into a pushing match with Denver guard Zane Beadles. Defensive end Ray Edwards traded shots with Denver’s Derek Wolfe and drew a penalty. Denver’s J.D. Walton was seen touching an official.

Smith was kind to the officials.

“That was the longest first quarter that I’ve ever been involved in,” Smith said. “It looked lik we were going to have a four hour game, but it was a very long first quarter. We kept a bunch of people up late.”

When order was finally restored, the Falcons had the ball at their 17-yard line. The drive stalled at Denver’s 24 and Bryant added a 42-yard field goal to make it 13-0.

The defense forced another punt and the Falcons offense put together their first sustained drive of the game operating from the no-huddle.

Ryan masterfully connected with Harry Douglas, White, Tony Gonzalez as they marched down to Denver’s 1. Ryan tossed a touchdowns pass to Gonzalez. Bryant added the extra point to make it 20-0 with 4:33 left in the first half.

Manning and the Broncos finally cobbled together a drive, which was aided by a fourth-and-1 pass interference call on Dominique Franks. He left the game with a head injury, which normally is reported as a concussion.

Nine plays later, Manning tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, which was at first ruled incomplete. Denver trailed 20-7 at the intermission and three of the replacement officials’ calls on the field were reversed by replay officials in the booth.

“I’ve been around this league long enough to know that it’s tough to win regardless of who you’re playing,” said Ryan, who completed 24 of 36 passes for 21 yards and two touchdowns. “When you’re playing against a Hall of Fame quarterback it’s even tougher.”

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312 comments Add your comment

Cejay

September 18th, 2012
12:09 am

How’s that crow taste dumba$$es

Michael M.

September 18th, 2012
12:11 am

Told yahs……………………………

Doubting Fans of little Faith………..This is what the NFC South will look like Tuesday Morning……………………………………………………..

NFC South Standings
Atlanta 2 – 0
Tampa Bay 1 – 1
Carolina 1 – 1
New Orleans 0 – 2………………………….

and I am going to bed…………..

Cejay

September 18th, 2012
12:12 am

Hey OPEN YOUR EYES, JSS, Seen, choke and all the other haters…. what happened????, lot of people on here made some trash talking predictions that didn’t come true………YOUR”RE ALL WRONG, HOW DOES IT FEEL !!! GO FALCONS !!!!!

True Falcon Fan

September 18th, 2012
12:15 am

Yep Falcons win Win Win!
So all you Falcons haters out there – as follows: B4, JSS/ZERO, CHOKE,CGD , etc.,—- ALL of you, Line-up and kiss my roses red rosebud!
Ole noodle arm, he got it DONE!

Go Falcons, Chargers next

TrishaDishawareagle

September 18th, 2012
12:16 am

WTG Falcons! 2-0 for the Matty Ice co.

who dat 2 games back in da division!

vesaversa

September 18th, 2012
12:19 am

The Falcons just played one of the best if not the best QB in the NFL . I though the defense was amazing they have improved 100% but they also gave out of gas there a little at the end . The offense really needed to score one more time to give the defense a break but it’s a win for the Falcons .They will only get better.

Falcons 2-0 : The Latest Fuzz

September 18th, 2012
12:20 am

[...] Atlanta Falcons improve to 2-0; beat Broncos 27-21 – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Sam

September 18th, 2012
12:21 am

Why don’t the Falcons go ahead and forget the run and use the backs exclusively for blocking and receiving. It’s obvious nobody on the staff knows anything about a running game.

Mayo

September 18th, 2012
12:22 am

And as for the dumb Charlie Daniels tune to intro the nights game (”Peyton Went Down To Georgia”): guess that worked out about as well for Peyton as it did for the Devil huh, Hillbilly?

4evadrtybrd

September 18th, 2012
12:23 am

For a Georgia boy living near New Orleans, this sure feels good! Shut these coon azzes up birds, shut ‘em up! We’re 2-0 & they are 0-2. Soooo Sweet!

Cedric

September 18th, 2012
12:24 am

We Must Protect This House!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jaz

September 18th, 2012
12:27 am

Great win for the Falcons, with tremendous effort on both sides of the ball! A tip of the hat to the coaches too.

Wrecker

September 18th, 2012
12:27 am

Nice picture by Getz. Really shows the frustration that Manning felt the entire game.

jgsbirds

September 18th, 2012
12:27 am

who was the qb for the broncos again? i wish espn would elaborate on it a little bit!

Wrecker

September 18th, 2012
12:27 am

Koetter and Nolan did a great job tonight!

Glen

September 18th, 2012
12:29 am

Lucky for us the Broncos played so bad,we stop doing what was working for us is throwing the ball when the run don’t work ,don,t run the ball.

MarkATL

September 18th, 2012
12:29 am

Sorry Broncos fans, looks like “The Peyton” is NOT READY YET!!!! GO FALCONS!!! :)

Moon

September 18th, 2012
12:30 am

Steve Young Just told it like it is, saying the nfl don’t care about the well being of the players. By using div 3 Refs. Nfl trying to bust the union.

Paul

September 18th, 2012
12:30 am

We finally have a real OC and DC..thank goodness!

Well

September 18th, 2012
12:31 am

Impressesd with the Defensive side not so much with the offensive side especially in the first quarter. You’ve got four turnovers and u only score twice. One touchdown, two FG. Ah what the heck I give my falcons propos up

Paul

September 18th, 2012
12:32 am

My only criticism is that we pass better than we run, so we need to do what we do best in the pinch…THROW!

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:32 am

Enter your comments here

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:33 am

The Real Rick

September 18th, 2012
12:33 am

That was the best I have ever seen a defense dressed in falcons uniforms play! Yea they were gassed a bit at the end but that was one heck of an effort!! I’m convinced this team has it

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:33 am

really nice job

P B Orr

September 18th, 2012
12:33 am

Two words – William Moore, Roddy White. Two young veterans who won the game for us! Great win – Denver’s D played awesome.

MarkATL

September 18th, 2012
12:33 am

Looks like the star of the game is the ENTIRE DEFENSE!!! 3 Turnovers!!!!!!!!!! :)

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:35 am

and an “EXPLOSIVE” defense

FALCONS WIN

JSS

September 18th, 2012
12:36 am

“YOUR”RE ALL WRONG, HOW DOES IT FEEL !!!”
I wouldn’t know, you never told us when y’all imploded in the Meadowlands…

Cejay

September 18th, 2012
12:37 am

Lol, I think its funny that if the Falcons would have lost, all the usual turds would have been here talking smack…………but they won’t show their face here tonight, so peace out

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:37 am

Peyton Manning was shut down big time.

Cejay

September 18th, 2012
12:38 am

Whats wrong JSS can’t talk about the comments you made today……or do you just want to talk about the past

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:38 am

Atlanta did a good job

Cejay

September 18th, 2012
12:39 am

What, I didn’t hear you………pull that foot out of your mouth hahahahahahaha

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:39 am

Denver looked WEAK !

Cejay

September 18th, 2012
12:40 am

We’re talking tonights game………not last year…..do yourself a favor and catch up lol

Really?

September 18th, 2012
12:40 am

That might have been the best Monday Night game ever for Atlanta. Of course if you believe espn peyton and the officials gifted us the win. Never mind Atlanta took those picks and the officials only mistake resulted in extra yards for denver.

who dat

September 18th, 2012
12:40 am

matt ryan 0 sb rings brees 1 ring enough said.

MarkATL

September 18th, 2012
12:41 am

Wow!! That defense is only going to get better!!!!! Can the Falcons’ D be the Ravens’ D of 2000????

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:41 am

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:42 am

2-0 and Kickin’ Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:43 am

choke is a punk hiding in the basement

RogueRunr

September 18th, 2012
12:43 am

Where in the HE!! is Dent???

MarkATL

September 18th, 2012
12:46 am

Looks like the only one who “CHOKED” tonight was PEYTON!!! OH Choke, where are youuu??? LOL!!!!

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:47 am

Body Blow

Super Bowl !!!!!!!!!!!!!

falCANS

September 18th, 2012
12:48 am

Lmao!! Who dat??? We dat!! Cant wait to march into New Orleans and win the superbowl!!!

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:48 am

checkdown peyton got checked down

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:50 am

Atlanta Falcon Defense did it’s JOB !!

Really?

September 18th, 2012
12:50 am

I bet liquor and crack sales have already increased 1000% in new orleans and it’s only week 2.

PMC

September 18th, 2012
12:51 am

Awesome win!