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

SunTrust Ron

September 18th, 2012
12:52 am

Against a team with a good running attack, the Falcons will be in trouble. In the NFL, you still need to run the ball and stop the run. Both appear to be weaknesses for ATL…

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:52 am

DID “choke” take a Greyhound Bus and skip town.

backatcha

September 18th, 2012
12:52 am

Matt said it best, “we’re 2-0!” Alot of football to be played. We’ve celebrate enough! Time to move on to next Sunday!!! Good ball game guys!

PMC

September 18th, 2012
12:52 am

Two words….. MIKE NOLAN!!!!!

JSS

September 18th, 2012
12:53 am

You catch up… You spend so much time trying to post notches you never read posts… Keep playing trite sniper like that pig _ _ _ Ray…

Refreshing your feeble memory…
JSS
September 17th, 2012
4:24 pm
“talent and mistake(s) win this game…”

Woooo, sure was wrong there… How does my foot taste Kobe?

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:53 am

SuntRUSTron is full of bronco manure.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:55 am

PMC

September 18th, 2012
12:55 am

It’s hard to win on the road in the NFL. and refs make bad calls all the time.

The Falcons were simply overlooked and ignored this week.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:56 am

the burner ate up the clock and that was enough to win the damn ball game.

birddawgbill

September 18th, 2012
12:57 am

How long did it take Brees to get that ring. Not to mention all the help from the officials. But of course you probably don’t remember all the bad calls that went the aints way. Too bad they turned Goodell against them with the bounty program. And now Greg Williams is telling all. Lol. Love it. Falcons 2-0 Aints 0-2.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:57 am

Sin Trust That

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:58 am

punks got elwayed all the way back to the Rockies.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
12:59 am

Falcons 2-0
sAints 0-2
broncos 1-1

MarkATL

September 18th, 2012
12:59 am

An IMPRESSIVE 60 MINUTES of TOTAL TEAM EFFORT!!!!!!!!!!!!

SunTrust Ron

September 18th, 2012
1:00 am

It’s a long season, and until this regime wins a playoff game or two, regular season wins mean nothing… see the Atlanta Braves underachievement from 1991 to the mid 2000s….
This wasn’t the Broncos of the late 1990s that ATL beat tonight… btw, the lame officials continued one of the TD drives with the phantom interference call on Julio Jones…

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:01 am

Sun Trust IS A very weak bank constantly investigated and in financial trouble.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:02 am

SuntRUST should be shut down and taken over by honest individuals.

dirtybirdJ

September 18th, 2012
1:03 am

@who dat(uh not yal)

matt rayn 2-0 brees 0-2 ENOUGH SAID!!!

start living in da present aints its 2012 wake up

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:04 am

The poorest ranked Bank which recieved Bail Out Money is SuntRUST.

Really?

September 18th, 2012
1:04 am

Taint’s fans still chest thump about that super bowl “win” that everyone that doesn’t live in a cesspool knows was gift wrapped to them by the NFL? Too bad for them they bought into the nfl created hype instead of continuing to live off of pity and hand outs.

Is it any surprise that once the nfl treats the taint’s like every other team they can’t win a game?

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:06 am

Take your crooked suntRUST and get out of Atlanta.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:08 am

playing with an edge

SunTrust Ron

September 18th, 2012
1:10 am

Interesting that Matty uses the “ice” reference in his blog name… when ice last appeared on the streets of Atlanta, MR2 stunk up the joint against the Packers… when MR2 wins a game with the season on the line, then use the “ice” reference. Until then, he’s just Matt….

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:11 am

eponymous

September 18th, 2012
1:12 am

In the old timey NFL, maybe you needed to run the ball and stop the run. Times have changed. The teams who are winning are simply outscoring opponents in track meets. Its a brave new world.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:13 am

The worst ranked bank with the worst financial condition is talking trash.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:14 am

Pay back your financial obligations suntRUST.

who dat

September 18th, 2012
1:16 am

@DIRTYBIRDJ WIN A PLAYOFF GAME AND THEN TALK.SEE YA IN THE DOME.NO COACH HURT PLAYERS NEW DEFENSE AND STILL BEAT THE FALCANTS.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:18 am

FALCONS 2-0
suntRUST RED INK

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:19 am

THEM DAMN 0-2 sAints just came out of the woodwork.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:21 am

WHO DAT 0-2 in the cellar of the NFC SOUTH ?

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:22 am

You better get back to the armpit and help rebuild that dump way down yonder.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:23 am

…….. them bountygate punks never learn.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:25 am

where in the hell is LoudMouth “CHOKE ?

SISSY BRITCHES.

DD795

September 18th, 2012
1:25 am

Great game. We need a running back.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:26 am

ALL the choke punks have gone to bed

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:29 am

Thay damn Falcon Defense
out peytoned and out elwayed the damn legends in their own minds.

” EXPLOSIVE “

Flacons never learn

September 18th, 2012
1:29 am

Julio Dropsy Jone

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:31 am

FALCONS 62
sAints 7

Spartacus

September 18th, 2012
1:31 am

Hey y’all, I was driving home from the game…..saw “Seen”, “Choke”, JSS and the rest of the bayou cretins with their hobo bags on sticks, at the Greyhound station…..begging for a ticket back to the stinky swamp.

They FINALLY exhausted the free handouts from the good people of Georgia, now need to go back to panhandling tourists on Bourbon Street. They will be the ones wearing the paper bags on their heads as the Aints are on their way to 0-16!!!

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:32 am

NO is a goner.

JSS

September 18th, 2012
1:43 am

You do know they impelled the Spartan? “Bayou cretins?” Man, nothing like the Football’s stupid version of 50s communist witch hunts to make you realize that some of you are stone-cold crazy! Hope you don’t to pee in a cup, those drugs are powerful…

fanATicaL

September 18th, 2012
1:44 am

Outside of injury this team is only going to get better.A great x’s and o’s match on the field.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:49 am

Peyton Manning had a rating of uh .58 !
elway THAT !

Spartacus

September 18th, 2012
1:50 am

JSS…WTF does “impelled” mean?…..must be that high class Louisianna education

Oh that’s right….you were too busy “noodling catfish”, “shrimpin”, and “coon huntin”….right??

Hey, nothing against coon huntin…..nothing like deep fried, blackened, “coon” etoufee

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:50 am

get lost JSS, YOU ARE FULL OF IT.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
1:57 am

The Legend Peyton Manning
got totally crushed on prime time Monday Night Football.

RISE UP

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
2:02 am

elway was sad on his way back with the parade of knuckleheads.

That Bartender Turned Kicker

September 18th, 2012
2:02 am

@Really?, While I must say tonight’s game could be the greatest Monday night win ever for the Falcons, don’t forget my 5 field goals against the Rams in 1978! GRITZ BLITZ! :^}

JONESBORO SLIM

September 18th, 2012
2:06 am

Great job Mike Nolan that “DEFENCE” can only get better…we’ve finally came out of the shadows and we looked like a beast…way to go Falcons….the only quesition I have is WHERE WAS RAY EDWARDS ALL NIGHT? ….Peria Jerry looked good along with Babs and Walker……But WHERE WAS RAY EDWARDS?….