Atlanta Falcons beat the Miami Dolphins 19 – 7, and we’re 1 – 0 BABY! Just a quick hit after the game on Sunday with tons more to come later throughout the week. What a way to start the season Falcons Fans, beating a top-tier opponent pretty soundly in the opening weekend of the season. The Terror-Dome was packed, loud, and the fans made it a true home-field advantage.
Michael Turner was bottled up all day, mostly because the Dolphins were determined to not allow him to beat them. They did a great job of shutting down the run and making Matt Ryan beat them through the air. It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort, with Coach Mularkey calling Turner’s number 22 times, but averaging less than 3 yards an attempt. Know for breaking long runs, Turner’s longest from scrimmage was 12 yards. Norwood had even less success only netting 7 yards. Matt Ryan looked a little shaky at times, particularly early and in the especially in the vertical passing attack, but settled down and had an overall very good day against a very good defense completing 22 passes in 36 attempts, 229 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Even though he missed on a few throws, he didn’t make any mistakes. Jerious, Roddy, and Jenks all had 40 yards receiving and many excellent 3rd conversions, but no touchdowns. But the receiver of the day title is reserved for our new Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez! What a day by the consummate All-Pro. It was special watching #88 convert tons of huge 3rd downs, making magnificent catches, and showing he’s still got some moves after dish-ragging a Dolphins defender and taking it 20 yards to the house. Gonzalez proved how difficult it will be to stop the entire Falcons arsenal. Pick your poison in other words.
Game Ball: Tony Gonzalez. Welcome to the ATL Gonzo!
In a word: WOW! I’ll be the first to eat some humble pie after witnessing that great display of attack, ferocity, toughness, and dominance. The new look defense was flying around the field all day, bringing the helmets on every play, causing turnovers, and giving a glimpse of what’s in store. Kudos to Coach Smith, Coach Van Gorder, and all the defensive players after a magnificent performance. It would really be impossible to pick a player of the game on defense because there were so many. John Abraham picked up right where he left off from last year collaring two sacks and three tackles. Curtis Lofton continued his ascent as one of the best young middle linebackers in the NFL, flying all over the field and bringing the thunder with each powerful hit. Lofton helped to set the tone with his ferocious hits. Mike Peterson with the defensive plays of the day putting a bone-crushing hit on TE Anthony Fasano, jarring loose a fumble, which newly acquired vet CB Brian Williams returned. Peterson also had another magnificent play later when he picked off Pennington and raced down the sidelines. All totaled, Peterson came away with 7 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. The breakout player of the day was by far and away Kroy Biermann. That guy was a beast today with his amped up high motor collaring two sacks, smashing hits on special teams, and even forcing a fumble. Although Chauncey Davis and Jamaal Anderson also played pretty well, I think we now know who our defensive end of the present and future might be. Overall an amazing effort for a defense that has been harangued to pieces about their ineptness. Job greatly done!
Game Ball: Mike Peterson. The newly acquired vet had 7 tackles, an interception and return, and a forced fumble
Kickoff and punt teams were amazing. Antoine Harris, Chris Owens, Lawrence Sidbury, and Kroy Biermann were flying down the field, busting up wedges and pinning the Dolphins back around the 10 and 15 yard line all day. Coach Armstrong has assembled another great unit thus far and it is apparent that special teams again is a big priority. Jason Elam missing a potentially critical extra point and two easy field goals was troubling, but he bounced back later in the game to hit a 50 yarder. Eric Weems had a couple of nice punt returns and didn’t bobble any balls, like Adam Jennings did on a frequent basis last year.
Game Ball: Kroy Biermann
Overall, masterful gameplan, preparation, and execution from coaching staff, top to bottom. The Falcons were ready to play and came out with a sense of urgency and fire. The offense regrouped from several misfires to get the job done, and took what was available. Defense played phenomenally and proved that this group should never be overlooked. Special teams were on point. Only curious calls were going to the passing game on several 3rd and shorts (3rd and 1, 3rd and 2).
Game Ball: Coach Van Gorder
I’ll let all other season ticket holders and game attendees fill in their experiences, but everything leading up to the game was a complete nightmare and overall insulting showing by the Atlanta Falcons organization in getting this one structured.
Some of it was my own fault for not getting there earlier and not purchasing a season parking pass (because money is so readily available to all of us these days), but there basically was only one public parking lot and if you weren’t lucky enough to get one, then you either had to fork over $40 for an independent lot or you were basically screwed. The yellow lot was full, so we tried the blue lot which was public sometimes and it was completely empty, but we got the “sorry, passes only” and when I asked for a recommendation on where to park, the attendant suggested the orange lots and red deck. So upon trying those we find out that, yep, also passes only, including the red deck which had thousands of spaces available.
A completely pitiful display for helping fans out by the Falcons organization. Many of us bust our ass to just to be able to afford these tickets, and to get the corkscrew on tailgating is insulting. It would be understandable if parking was just not available, but it was apparent that there were hundreds and even thousands of spaces on hand for fans. They at least need to be honest with fans and say that if you don’t buy a season parking pass than either pay a ridiculous cost the day of the game or don’t bother tailgating. It was actually easier for my wife and I to turn around at the Dome after spending an hour trying to get a spot, and go and park downtown, hit Marta and get back that way, which took a tenth of the time. The line at Upper Gate C was terrible. I counted and we waited for 25 minutes to get into the Dome, which many of us subsequently missed the kickoff and several series. Granted, it was the first game and some of it was my own fault, but the experience pretty much sucked until we got into the Dome, and then it was all good of course. Note to self: take Marta from now on.
-What’s your thoughts on the opening win?
-Who gets your game balls on offense? Defense? Special Teams
-Surprised at defense domination, or you expected it?
-Concerned about lack of running game?
-Matt Ryan good enough, or should be better?
-How was your tailgating experience?
-Issue with parking, or am I way off base?