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

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
2:06 am

FURIOUS DEFENSE

elway that

JSS

September 18th, 2012
2:08 am

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
2:09 am

ugly ugly first quarter for big bad peyton.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
2:10 am

58.5 rating for struggling peyton manning.

JSS

September 18th, 2012
2:16 am

You freaks are amazing, you are so spooked by the Saints of all people that you see Saints fans in dreams! Hey jerk, I gave that sorry franchise (the Falcons) my money for 19 years… Enjoy that silliness all you like… just remember, your pee in the pants moments are in January! and Birth certificate still reads G-E-O-R-G-I-A… “Catfish,” you would know about crap eating fish!

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
2:30 am

The Undefeated Falcons
had a RISE UP,
Peyton got crushed
and Elway wonders why he got rid of Tebow.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
2:38 am

shesoleo

September 18th, 2012
2:45 am

All you could hear all week was how Peyton was the master of the no huddle and all the big talk of Von Miller, and Dummervile and their defense. They actually thought they were going to ride that horse into the ATL GA DOME, get a win and ponyup back to Milehigh like nobodys business. NOTTTTTTT The Falcons protected their house, and showed the NATION!!!!!! what we’re working with AWESOME JOB!!!!!!!.

matty "ICE" ryan

September 18th, 2012
2:53 am

the broncos came to the Georgia Dome and got SLAMMED.

Joe Falcon

September 18th, 2012
4:27 am

Falcons 2-0

the AINTS? 0-2!!!

How SWEET IT IS, baby!

Lmao...2-0 and NO SB Ring

September 18th, 2012
5:35 am

Win a SB first, loosahs….you pin your season success on the Saints having 2 bad games…how pathetic…you can’t even win a p,ayoff game…As a Saints fan, the FAILCANTS have ZERO chance against the 49ers…at least we won a SB…the FAILCANTS are a mirage…Lmao…

Lmao...2-0 and NO SB Ring

September 18th, 2012
5:37 am

NO SB RING….NO PLAYOFF WIN..,UNTIL YOU DO THAT…STFU REDNECKS AND GHETTO DWELLERS….WOW..BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT…2-0…..lmao….you’re such desperate fans….

Samuel

September 18th, 2012
5:48 am

Great effort from both sides of the ball. Let’s keep in mine we have two new coordinators. As the season progresses both sides of the ball will get better. Save injuries, this team could be on to something.

redcoat

September 18th, 2012
6:09 am

JSS is a bitter troll……….hahahaha………

longtimefan

September 18th, 2012
6:13 am

So JSS, seriously-since it appears that you may have been at least a former Falcon fan, are you ready to admit these Falcons may be special and have a chance at the SB? Just like having to fess up that maybe earlier Chipper judgements were premature. What you say? Come on , jump on(back on) the bandwagon;the ride is more fun that way. Despite the proclamation of some, Ryan is starting to look elite. Jaworski et al certainly think so.

Falcon Fan

September 18th, 2012
6:14 am

Falcons 2-0, Saints 0-2. Seen This B4. LOL……..

redcoat

September 18th, 2012
6:14 am

LMAO………..you mad bro?………jealous?………0 – 2 Saints Who?………you laughing….Now?

keniboy

September 18th, 2012
6:56 am

i was a little disappointed in the offense. little production after the picks. and how about a defense that performs so well with the run around thing then abandons it to allow peyton time to throw and pick us apart. did anyone else notice, like the guys upstairs?

Yeahsure

September 18th, 2012
7:04 am

MVPS of the Game:
Offense: Roddy
Defense: Willy Mo
Coordinator: Mike Freakin Nolan!!

Honorable Mention: Crowd. Not sure how it sounded on TV, but on one drive, it was the loudest i’ve ever heard the Dome. Goodjob guys.

jo

September 18th, 2012
7:08 am

No running game and little 2nd half offense almost did the falcons in. We’ll take the win though!

Clown called jss

September 18th, 2012
7:12 am

More and more you continue to lose respect on the blog JSS! Yoy should man the fudge up and admit you were wrong! Your “sense that you know more than others” has been proven wrong and now you talking about playoffs! You my friend are a clown! And you are being exposed for being the hater you are! You just cant wait for the first L can you? Tell you what if you get lost and stay lost we promise not to miss your hating angus! We Rise Up you buster so put that in your mouth!

Cloudodust

September 18th, 2012
7:12 am

Well, glad the Falcons won. Seriously. Glad ESPN didn’t get the fairy tale story ending they wanted last night. Yet, Manning deserves attention. He’s earned it. Game 2 with a new club, 3 picks and still only lost by 7. I’d temper my wild enthusiasm, Atlanta fans. It could be said Atlanta should have won large. Much larger. Early in the game on three rushes, Turner averaged 4 inches per carry. Like I said, glad Atlanta won.

Clown called jss

September 18th, 2012
7:15 am

LMAO at someone that still living in the past talking about a tainted ring you won 4 years ago! Heheheheh! Its a new year silly clown and its been a new year for 4 years now! Stop living in the past! You have no choice your tainted aints are 0 and 2……..loser! Lol! What a silly clown who is living in the past!

OPEN YOUR EYES

September 18th, 2012
7:16 am

THE FAILCAN’TS ARE STILL GARBAGE AND NEARLY ESCAPED PEYTON MANNINGS COMEBACK!!!!!! THE BRONCOS CAME BACK FROM 20-0 SO ENOUGH SAID!!!!

ALSO FAILCAN’T FANS I WOULDN’T BE SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW BECAUSE YOU STILL HAVE TWO BIG HOLES ON YOUR OFFENSE AND DEFENSE!!!!

THE FIRST HOLE IS MICHEAL “COW-MEAT LEGS” TURNER, HE LOOKED HORRIBLE LAST NIGHT!!!! HIS SPEED HAS DRASTICALLY DROPPED AND EVERYBODY IN THE LEAGUE DOESN’T VIEW HIM AS A THREAT ANYMORE!!!!

SECOND IS YOU GUYS HAVE AWFUL RUN DEFENSE BECAUSE ALL I SAW WAS A 36-YEAR OLD MAN (MAGAHEE) RUN ALL OVER THIS FAILCAN’TS DEFENSE LAST NIGHT AND I ENJOYED EVERY BIT OF IT!!!!!

OH YEAH DON’T FORGET JOHN ABRAHAM IS INJURED!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

Season Ticket Holder

September 18th, 2012
7:20 am

Great win by the Falcons. However, we have to fix the running game. Michael Turner is no longer the burner. He averaged less than 2 yards a carry. I think its Rogers time!

Clown called jss

September 18th, 2012
7:21 am

@open your eyes
after all you said and all you typed…..we still win!
WHAT NOW!

Clown called jss

September 18th, 2012
7:24 am

I knew all you haters would still show up and say they did not win by 40! Sad. You cant respect the team, it has to be something….Turner, did not hold a lead………remember you the same ones who said this was a measuring stick……winning not good enough….dont matter if we win by 40 you haters would have found something to dump on the team about! Watch us keep rising up!

jo

September 18th, 2012
7:25 am

Running game and offense looked timid the 2nd half.

T_height

September 18th, 2012
7:25 am

here I’ve been hard on Matt Ryan for a long time but I must finally admit this is the best game I have ever saw this guy play. He actually look more like Peyton Manning than Peyton Manning looked himself

Falcon Fan

September 18th, 2012
7:31 am

Great Game. …The Birds prove me WRONG….

JSS's Mom

September 18th, 2012
7:31 am

Everyone, I’m sorry for my son’s behavior on this forum. He is 44 and still lives with me and his dad. We’ll have a long talk with him when his shift is over at the bowling alley.

RunninWithTheDawgs

September 18th, 2012
7:32 am

Yep ! The Broncos came with double coverage on Julio Jones, but they forgot about Roddy White, Gonzo,and Harry Douglas. Oh yeah, let me mention the great protection the o line provided for Matty Ice. The only drawback to the whole game was the way we slowed down in the second half and let them start to catch up. It’s called Smitty ball or sitting on a lead. If Smitty is gonna keep doing that we’re gonna lose a couple, ’cause it just don’t work every time which Aaron Rodgers has made pretty clear. GO FALCONS

Stupid

September 18th, 2012
7:41 am

The Falcons have a very favorable schedule and baring any injuries could end the season at 14-2. This could very well be their year to take it all. I predict the Falcons will be 6-0 at their bye week.

RunninWithTheDawgs

September 18th, 2012
7:49 am

The quick out pass plays scare me to death. It’s just taking too much chance that a speedburner is gonna undercut the the pass and pick it off for a long gainer or a pic 6 especially when we’re deep in our own territory.

dean

September 18th, 2012
7:50 am

Stupid. Favorable schedule? How is that?

MG3

September 18th, 2012
8:06 am

@ JSS’s Mom – I just laughed out loud, great post and highly likely.

RunninWithTheDawgs

September 18th, 2012
8:07 am

I agree with Stupid. We DO have a favorable schedule if you look at the teams we play last years records. We only have four games with teams that had winning records last year. We have six games with teams that went 8 & 8, but that’s not a winning record. I’m interested in seeing what we do with the better teams.

old man

September 18th, 2012
8:15 am

Two words.

Antone. Smith.

WTF

September 18th, 2012
8:16 am

@OPEN YOUR EYES- I’ll open my eyes if you shove a football up your a55.

old man

September 18th, 2012
8:19 am

McGahee had more drive, more momentum, carried more tacklers than Turner. And, oh yeah, he’s fast.

We will not continue to win games with two yards and a cloud of dust on running plays. Ryan may have the top passer rating in the league after week 2, and I’m thrilled that we are going with a more aggressive pass-oriented attack, but you cannot win go deep in the playoffs with the kind of run game we have right now.

Wilson Pickett

September 18th, 2012
8:19 am

Atlanta sure needs a good RB. Doesn’t have to be Jim Brown but really the two we have now are average or even below.

old man

September 18th, 2012
8:23 am

jo:

Yep, 2nd half offense was timid–except for the TD drive. We threw almost every down, had the Broncos in complete disarray. Otherwise, you are 100% correct.

I’m not sure it’s the play calling–late in a game you want to protect the ball–but when you are getting zero, one, two yards on every running play, it is, by definition, timid when you run it a lot. If we had someone who was quicker and hit holes harder, it would not look quite as timid.

Ken

September 18th, 2012
8:24 am

FALCONS RISE UP AND FLY HIGH!! On the way to the LOMBARDI TROPHY!! Keep the popcorn hot its gonna be a great show for FALCON FANS!!!

old man

September 18th, 2012
8:25 am

Does Antone have an attitude problem, out of shape, no work ethic, got caught with a coaches wife? When he plays, you see a lot of flashes, but he never gets any touches. Honestly, how could he be any worse than what we are getting right now?

Truth

September 18th, 2012
8:37 am

Great win on the big stage. WillyMo is about to become a star in this league. Spoon and Nick were flying around all night. Thought Franks played well also, definitely should be playing over Chris Owens. Solid pass rush, Jerry showing flashes. Offense got a little too conservative in the 4th, but did enough. Roddy White=still an elite receiver! Tony G is playing too well, if we don’t win SB, believe he returns. BTW, how is Spagnuolo’s D looking so far LOL? Absolutely love what OC and DC bring to the table. RISEN

BYC

September 18th, 2012
8:39 am

Great job by the Falcons. I’m very impressed by the improvement in the defense and offensive line with pretty much the same personnel. For all the hate he got last year Sam Baker has been solid. Our run is still looking weak. With news of Turner’s DUI, is it time to see if Jacquizz can get it going given the carries?

Dennis

September 18th, 2012
8:39 am

I wonder if Mike Smith will *ever* develop a killer instinct and really put teams away before going into the offensive version of the prevent defense?

Tdub

September 18th, 2012
8:43 am

Turner had a pretty rough game. Made matters worse for himself with the DUI afterwards. Dumba$$! Offensive line played a pretty good game. Great protection on the pass plays. Apparently was the focus all week in practice, because the run blocking was below average. That was great play on the defense. I haven’t seen the secondary play like that since PrimeTime. Go Falcons!

Dawg Fud

September 18th, 2012
8:43 am

Not terribly impressed with the offense tonight. Should have put up 40 with as many opps the defense gave them.