The Scene, Refs, and Offense
Atlanta Falcons broke out the 1966 Throwback jerseys and channeled some of the hard-nosed fight, that studs like Tommy Nobis exemplified back in the day, in picking up their second win of the season and notching a victory over an NFC South enemy foe. The Birds edged out the Panthers in the Terror-Dome, not with a perfect or complete game, but got the job done when it counted most to get the win. 2-0, and that’s all that matters. As they say in sports, a win’s a win’s a win’s a win, regardless of how they come.
The Terror-Dome was raucous, loud, and rolling for the Birds when they came out of the tunnel in those sharp throwback uni’s with the cool red helmets. Many fans were overheard wanting to see those as the permanent home jerseys. The fans played the part sporting the “new” throwbacks with the likes of Gonzalez, White, Turner, and Ryan black jerseys. Other fans broke out their old Dirty Bird jerseys and original logo hats and other apparel. Old school flags were distributed to fans as they entered, either in red or white, which fans added to the experience by waving them throughout the game. As has been the case lately, the weather didn’t cooperate for great tailgating weather, but a good time was had by all regardless. Game Ball – Who ever came up with the Throwback Idea
The refs were active with the flags thrown all day on both teams. Two calls in particular really stuck a bur in the saddle of Falcons fans. The first was a pitiful call where Deangelo Williams caught a flare pass and was lit up either by Peterson or Nicholas and fumbled the ball away. Although it was a bang-bang play, the ref ruled that Williams did not catch the ball, but replay clearly showed that he made a “football move” and fumbled it away. Supposedly, since the ref ruled it an incompletion than it was unchallengeable. That would been a huge momentum swing, instead the Panthers were able to claim a field goal. The second call that irked the fans was when Ryan threw a 3rd down conversion pass to Tony Gonzalez on an out and TG made a great catch on a low ball, was not touched by the defender, and raced in the end zone for a touchdown. The ref called the pass incomplete and whistled the play dead, and even though the play was overturned, the Falcons were robbed by a touchdown. Another call had Roddy White catching an obvious 3rd down conversion, but the play was challenged by Panthers Coach John Fox which said that White never had control of the ball, but it appeared that he caught it and then fumbled it. Game Ball – The Taxi Leaving with that Ref Crew
Matt Ryan looked more on point in the passing attack today, completing 21 out of 27 passes, throwing for 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, and one interception. Ryan was certainly helped out by Tony Gonzalez and some amazing catches throughout the game. Ryan looked on target and had some excellent throws and long conversions. When the running game stalled early again, Ryan had no problem zipping the ball around and spreading the wealth hooking up with Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Marty Booker, and Brian Finneran. White returned to his old form notching several big catch and runs and a touchdown. Booker showed he’s still got some gas left in the tank with several good, long catches. Ryan had touchdown passes to Gonzalez, White, and Jason Snelling.
Speaking of Snelling, he had fantastic day in limited time. With Jerious Norwood being out, Snelling showed a great catching ability out of the backfield scoring on a nice little inside route. The 3rd running back proved why so many have been high on him for quite some time, earning 37 yards rushing on 6 carries. Burner Turner finished with 105 yards rushing, but they were hard earned in the first half, averaging about 2 to 3 yards a clip. Even though running lanes were huge, Turner also seemed to be running a little tentative in the first half. He got his swagger back in the second half, though, powering through the line and looking to punish defenders past the line of scrimmage. Turner’s uncharacteristic fumble in the red zone was huge in that a touchdown could have virtually put the Panthers away.
The Burn Unit, as the Falcons O-Line was dubbed by DOL, had an up and down game. They performed great in their pass blocking, not allowing a single sack on Ryan and giving him plenty of time to make reads and get good throws off. In the running game, however, they looked a little weaker. In the first half they gave Turner very few lanes to run through and seemed to be getting beat at the point of attack several times. Clabo and Dahl, in particular, didn’t have a great day in the rushing attack. Clabo seemed to get beat to the punch several times by Julius Peppers and Tyler Brayton. The O-Line settled down a little more in the second half and it surely helped that Turner ran with more authority. The Falcons finished with over 140 yards rushing, which is extremely good against a stout Panthers D. Entirely too many penalties on the offense in general, but particularly on the offensive line. Put the offense in tons of bad positions. One of the worst was Harvey Dahl drawing a personal foul for extra activity after the play that drew the flag. It looked like a weak call, but that killed an otherwise momentous drive, forcing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and long. Game Ball – (2) Gonzalez earns his second and Matt Ryan gets his first.
Overall a great win, where the offense had some not so great moments, but looked better in the passing attack and stuck with the run long enough to get some breaks in the second half. Entirely too many penalties, but the offense did what they had to do to get the win. Likely could have put up more points if needed, but got very conservative running the ball, milking the clock with a 15 point lead in the fourth quarter.
Coaching, Special Teams, and Defense coming in part two.
-Who gets your game balls for offense?
-Ryan play better in your opinion?
-Is Gonzalez unstoppable?
-Offensive penalties concerning?
-Lack of running in first half worrisome?
-Enjoy the throwbacks? And should they be permanent home jerseys?
-Worried about Norwood’s injury trouble so far this year?