Atlanta Falcons: Grades for 27-3 win over the Chargers

Members of Mariachi Real de San Diego wait to perform before an NFL football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons as part of Hispanic Heritage celebration in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Members of Mariachi Real de San Diego wait to perform before an NFL football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons as part of Hispanic Heritage celebration in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO — Here are the Falcons’ grades for the 27-3 win over the San Diego Chargers:

A — QUARTERBACKS: Matt Ryan directed touchdown drives of 10 and 17 plays. Atlanta is the only team in the NFL to score a touchdown on its opening possession in each of its first three games of 2012. Ryan completed 75 percent of his passes. He moved the action around to eight different receivers, but saw his franchise-record streak of 272 pass attempts without throwing an interception snapped. Luke McCown made his Atlanta debut.

C-plus — RUNNING BACKS: Turner finished strong and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Rodgers averaged 3.2 yards per carry. “He ran the ball very well,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said of Turner. “His shoulders were downfield and he was more aggressive as he attacked the line of scrimmage.”

A-minus — RECEIVERS: Tight end Tony Gonzalez repeatedly used his body to get open and led the team with nine catches for 91 yards and his 98th career touchdown. Julio Jones and Roddy White both had five catches, but they get minus for White’s blatant push-off that cost the team a touchdown.

A-minus — OFFENSIVE LINE: Matt Ryan’s was sacked twice and there didn’t appear to be many holes for Turner and Rodgers to run through early in the game. The unit was able to wear down the Chargers and open some holes late.

B – DEFENSIVE LINE: Defensive end John Abraham had the only sack, but the unit was buzzing around San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers for most of the game. They were stout against the run as they helped to hold San Diego running back Ryan Mathews to 44 yards rushing on 10 carries.

A — LINEBACKERS: Akeem Dent (three), Stephen Nicholas (six) and Sean Weatherspoon (five) combined for 14 tackles. Weatherspoon forced a fumble that helped to get the blow out started.

A — DEFENSIVE BACKS: Thomas DeCoud put on a coverage clinic on San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. He finished with two interceptions, three passes defense and had one fumble recovery. He’s playing at a Pro Bowl level.

B — SPECIAL TEAMS: Dominique Franks provided two good drive starts with punt returns of 12 and 22 yards. Josh Harris had a bad snap on an extra point attempt. Matt Bosher averaged 44.6 yards on five punts and placed two down inside the Chargers’ 20-yard line.

A — COACHING: The Falcons traveled well and jumped on the Chargers by scoring on their opening drive. The defense continued to be opportunistic by creating four turnovers for the second straight game. The unit played much better against San Diego’s rushing attack. Smith has compiled a 46-21 record in four-plus seasons as Falcons head coach. Sunday’s win against the Chargers tied him with Leeman Bennett who posted a 46-41 record between 1977 and 1982. Smith trails only Dan Reeves who went 49-59-1 from 1997-03. Next up, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.

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105 comments Add your comment

Falcon Fan

September 24th, 2012
6:11 am

If Turner can run the ball like that we’ll be hard to beat. He doesn’t have to be a world beater anymore, but he does have to at least be effective. The more teams key on our passing game the more the running game should open up.

robertussen

September 24th, 2012
6:31 am

division game next week and our first nfc game of the year ( not counting last years playoffs). the panthers are coming off a loss and a long week to prepare for us. this should be a close one but if we keep playing like this we should win.

longtimefan

September 24th, 2012
6:34 am

Do some of you guys still think Baker should be cut? He is looking pretty good to me. Maybe it was injuries that was the problem.

Wrecker

September 24th, 2012
6:51 am

Starting to look that way, longtimefan, particularly since Ryan is still standing after most pass plays these days. Carolina worries me next week, particularly if it takes that long to get Turner going. Maybe we will continue to work backwards, passing to open up the running game.

The Real Falcon

September 24th, 2012
6:55 am

That’s 4 tackles for Dent in three games. Did anyone see how many Lofton had entering the game this week?

The Real Falcon

September 24th, 2012
6:56 am

Keeping DeCoud is looking really good, wouldn’t you say?

Dr. Warren

September 24th, 2012
7:01 am

Jacquizz showed me a bit more yesterday. I definitely don’t think he is starting material, but it seems he could be used the way Bush was in New Orleans. Snelling, as usual, looked good in his one chance to shine.

GregKennesaw

September 24th, 2012
7:03 am

Come on Mr Blank, settle with the refs, it is painful to watch games and someone is going to get seriously hurt.

robertussen

September 24th, 2012
7:09 am

@the real falcon- dent is not used a whole lot in our scheme. we have some kind of hybrid-nickle thing going on. i mean ray edwards is not on the field as much as bierman is either. losing lofton is not a big of a deal as i thought seeing as we are hardly using a mlb. and nicholas and weatherspoon look really good too. let lofton have his 0-3 saints…..i never really liked the police anyway

old man

September 24th, 2012
7:22 am

Not much to dislike here. Still not a Turner fan, but he had his best game in quite a while. Maybe he needs to keep a bottle of Jack in his locker all the time. I’ve been a Ryan fan, so of course I’m loving his performance so far.

Best for last: the defense. Big surprise. Tackling, pressure, and pass defense. Every play, I’m looking for a DB to pick one. It’s hard to believe the loss of Grimes has not hurt us back there. If there is any single thing, it’s the Safety play. Wow.

old man

September 24th, 2012
7:29 am

Robertussen, you’re right, I never hear Dent’s name called. I would love to hear from the “experts” exactly what kind of personnel packages we are using on defense, and how often. During a game on TV, it’s impossible to keep track. It sounds like you are describing 5 DBs, 2LBs, and using a hybrid type of DE player (Biermann) who can drop into coverage to mix up the pass rush schemes. Correct?

old man

September 24th, 2012
7:34 am

So our new DC is known for a scheme which by default has 4LBs, so he comes in here and we are using a scheme with 2LBs?

Samuel

September 24th, 2012
7:36 am

Sam Baker and the offensive line has played very good in the last three games, coupled with Matt’s scrambling and getting the ball out early.

Paddy

September 24th, 2012
7:49 am

old man…..I believe that expert you asked about (Mike Nolan) did ans your question last week. Our MLB is now on the field only 25 to 30% of the time because of all the nickle and dime packages now employed.

Kurtis

September 24th, 2012
7:53 am

Think about it……we lost Lofton, gained Samuel, with a few other minor tweaks,but the only real changes from last year are our coordinators. Nolan and Koetter can flat out coach. I love the aggression on both sides of the ball.

Gamer

September 24th, 2012
8:04 am

GREAT WIN FOR THE FALCONS TO GO 3-0…………DEFENSE PLAYS STELLAR ON ALL PHASES, D-LINE, LINEBACKERS, DBs & SAFETIES……

OFFENSE WAS ROLLING……..RYAN GOT LAZY ON HIS INTERCEPTION PASS…..RODDY DIDN’T NEED TO PUSH-OFF FOR TD CATCH…….JULIO TOOK A HARD HIT AND STILL MADE THE CATCH, SHOWING TOUGHNESS…..TONY G. PLAYED SPECTACULAR MAKING CRITICAL CATCHES….HD DID A LITTLE BUT COULD HAVE DONE MORE………GOOD TO SEE RUNNING GAME, SOLID EFFORT FROM TURNER AND JACQUIZZ…….

I GUESS THE SAINTS ARE FINDING OUT NEW COVERTS ON LOFTON,, COVERTS WE KNEW. THAT CURTIS LOFTON IS NOT A THREE DOWN LINEBACKER……AT LEAST NOT YET, HE CAN BE WITH MORE SPEED TRAINING……

FALCONS ON THREE, DOMINATE!!!!!

Ra

September 24th, 2012
8:10 am

I hope they don’t settle with the refs. The refs are wrong’ so settling with them would be … Wrong.

Michael M.

September 24th, 2012
8:24 am

a’ s and b’ s are always good to get even in football…..keep the steam roller moving………………Carolina is next……………………….

where are all the trolls and the haters……………..I told ya………..but never would believe me………………………do you hear me now……….Falcons are the best team in the NFL

ParanoidAndroid

September 24th, 2012
8:42 am

Turner actually made a cut to the outside yesterday. Haven’t seen that in a while.

Good win overall. One thing i can say about the two wins over the past week, we are not getting outcoached. Couldn’t say that before and its refreshing to have confidence in the coordinators.

Next up Carolina. As bad as they’ve looked all year, they still have stout running backs. We have to continue to shore up the run defense.

BIGBEN42

September 24th, 2012
8:46 am

Turner is a excellent blocker. Has kept Ryan from getting sacked several times. Now his running game is picking up.

Jimmy Crack

September 24th, 2012
8:51 am

Just how I thought the Falcons would make this offense succeed…Pass first, get a lead, and then pound the opposing defense into submission in the 4th Quarter with our #1 headache-maker, Michael Turner.

SirReal

September 24th, 2012
8:56 am

The line did well for the most part. I am still not ready to say Baker’s the guy. Those two sacks came from his side I believe…BUT I have to give him credit. He’s playing well compared to the past…and Ryan’s quick release is helping too. I’d like to say a big WOOOOW for Thomas DeCoud. If he keeps this up all year, I’ll be glad to season that crow and bake it in the oven. He seems to really fit Nolan’s scheme and I think they ALL tuned Van Gorder out eventually. I cant believe we let that dolt stay around as long as we did. Smitty wont throw his pals under the bus but I’ll say it right now, Van Gorder was one of the worst DC this franchise has ever had. Nolan looks like he could be one of the best if that unit keeps up.

The Real Rick

September 24th, 2012
9:00 am

The biggest change Ive seen so far with this defense is that they HIT AND TACKLE……no where near as many missed tackles this year as in the past……this is an aggressive hard hitting defence…Even Duece Duece is hitting……I love it…

Michael M.

September 24th, 2012
9:00 am

Next up………………………Carolina…………….uhoh…………..in the Dome with fired up fans too………………………… Atlanta 41 – Carolina 17

Don’t the Caints travel to Green bay, Wisconsin next week ? ………..Season over !…………………………………. Massacre about to unfold ! ! ! ! !

The Real Rick

September 24th, 2012
9:01 am

Love to see the Aints choking……..and staying off the blogs…..

Michael M.

September 24th, 2012
9:06 am

Love to see all the haters chokin……………..hehehehe

PMC

September 24th, 2012
9:06 am

I love this team as much as I’ve ever loved a Falcons team. These young safeties are finally playing fast and loose.

They are ready to take on all comers.

Cejay

September 24th, 2012
9:07 am

Blog Note: Haters club closed today due to lack of material

Michael M.

September 24th, 2012
9:09 am

Choke on this Chokers………………Falcons are 3 and 0 baby…………………………………

Michael M.

September 24th, 2012
9:14 am

JSS seems to think a team that pounds the ball on the ground will beat the Falcons but somehow I can’t see a running team keeping the offense on the sidelines all game long……………………………………………….the only way a team will beat the Falcons is to make them make mistakes on offense, penalties,turnovers ,sacks,etc. and then they mix the run with the pass to beat the Falcons…………………so far we have not been challenged……………………..

Falcon Man

September 24th, 2012
9:14 am

Who dat ?? Who dat ??

Everybodys gonna beat dem Saints !!!

nobody

September 24th, 2012
9:31 am

You shoulda separated CBs and Safeties. The Safties were easily an A++++. Shut down Gates. Decoud 2ints, FR. Moore FF, FR. Beast Mode.

Grape Nuts are neither grapes or nuts

September 24th, 2012
9:31 am

3 – 0 does not mean Superbowl.

Jimmy Crack

September 24th, 2012
9:44 am

The Saints: Mutiny on the Bounty
The Panthers: CAM-O-flauge
The Bucs: College coach fails in the NFL, Part 14

jaz

September 24th, 2012
9:56 am

Good for Turner! Put some lipstick on the running game. Now we’re going to try to do it in the 1st qtr.

Mike is Back

September 24th, 2012
9:59 am

Dled, I’m going A across the board, CUZ the effort was there…I know it’s only three games…so I want get carried away. I know the more FILM teams have on us…the more difficult things are going to be.

BUT, HOW BOUT THEM BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dirtybird of Prey

September 24th, 2012
10:08 am

Awsome game, awsome win…@ The Real Rick LCB AS 22 cuz he made a lot of money on that side made it clear when he got here that and I qoute “we not nice no more…we mean now” says it all…this team and organization is on it’s way 2 greatness…welcome 2 the Terrordome…Go DirtyBirdz…cuz we 2 legit 2 quit.

Falconfever

September 24th, 2012
10:11 am

3-0 may not be Superbowl but it is a lot better that 0-3….

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 24th, 2012
10:14 am

Mike is Back — Nobody will fuss with you giving A’s across the board.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 24th, 2012
10:16 am

Falcons Man — Are the Saints going to be like the Lions and go 0-16?

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

September 24th, 2012
10:24 am

Ok guys lay off dent hes not getting many tackles but hes not getting the kind of playing time the other linebackers are getting he only played a few snaps if any hardly in the first two games because of all the nickle packages we had on the field hes young and a first time starter give him some time to sink in he is taking the spot of freakin curtis lofton no hes not gonna get as many tackles starting off give this kid some time and stop bringing bad hype his way by the way i am just about sick and tired of espn overlooking our beloved teams i see where they were talking about the remaining undefeated teams but the only team they brought up was the damn houston texans this is bull this team in atlanta deserves something

kd

September 24th, 2012
10:25 am

did anybody else peep the LT touchdown celebration turner did? haha i love it, hes playing for his job/name, that dui put some fire under him, does anybody think he will keep it up?? if so, this team will be airtight on offense

Falcon Man

September 24th, 2012
10:26 am

D LED……They wont go 0-16, but it doesnt look good when they cant beat the Chiefs in their own building when they were 0-2….LOL….Chiefs dat !!!
Next ?? Cam Newton VS Mike Nolan ????? Good luck Cry baby Cam….

PMC

September 24th, 2012
10:28 am

3-0 with TWO ROAD WINS!!!!

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution handed out grades for each unit on the [...]

Michael M.

September 24th, 2012
10:34 am

D-Led…………………..I caint believe you said that about dem Saints……………hehehehe

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution handed out grades for each unit on the [...]

ronhen24

September 24th, 2012
10:38 am

Have anyone saw or heard from SeenThisB4? I guess he signed off after the Saints 0-3 start. It is funny that we could not get rid of him before the season started and now cannot find him. GO FALCONS!

Michael M.

September 24th, 2012
10:38 am

I am laughing so hard out here my side is hurting……………….they already have been whipped twice in their , get this , ……………………………” Own House ” ! ! ! ! ! !

PMC

September 24th, 2012
10:39 am

Not sure who all went to San Diego, but we heard you!

Lets go Falcons. very audible on the Fox broadcast. Loud and Clear.