(I’ll be posting the column soon on today’s Falcons’ win over San Diego, which will focus on quarterback Matt Ryan. Until then, here are my three “short takes” on the game.)
• 1. This was an impressive win on many levels, but no moreso than in the resiliency they showed. They were playing on the road in a short week after a physically punishing win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night, yet they flew to the West Coast and dominated San Diego from the opening drive. It’s only three games into the season but this might have been the strongest sign yet of how good the Falcons can be.
• 2. The Falcons will need to be able to run the ball effectively at some point. But it hasn’t been an issue yet, primarily because of quarterback Matt Ryan. Michael Turner was not a factor when the team built a 20-0 halftime lead — he had only eight carries for 15 yards for a 1.9-yard average through two quarters — but by then Ryan already had thrown for 208 yards and three touchdowns. In Turner’s defense, the offensive line didn’t create many holes. The Falcons can only hope that when Turner’s fourth-quarter touchdown run in mop-up time will signal some sort of break-thru for both he and the line.
• 3. The Falcons are winning in part because they are not beating themselves. The defense forced four San Diego turnovers (including two interceptions and a fumble recovery by safety Thomas DeCoud) and now has 11 takeaways in three games. The team’s only turnover this season was a fourth-quarter interception thrown by Ryan, which leaves the team with a net of plus-10 in turnover differential. DeCoud’s three interceptions already this season are only one short of his career high (four last year).
– Jeff Schultz