It was bound to happen sooner or later.
The Falcons played a pretty flat game of football yestserday. The Broncos, not exactly konwn for their defensive prowess, shut down the run for much of the day and even picked off Matt Ryan. It wasn't a particularly fun game to watch because of that, but I feel like the Falcons may have learned some things today.
And hey, we're still 6-4! Join me after the jump and we'll sift through the aftermath.
- The receivers were generally pretty good today. Brian Finneran was mad clutch on third downs all day, giving Matt Ryan a safety valve on a day he desperately needed one. Mike Jenkins continue his Borne Identity season, slowly emerging from controlled amnesia to recall that he was once a first round pick! Roddy White was his usual statariffic self, though you'll see him again in the Lowlights for another reason altogether. This corps continues to be more reliable than any of us would've dared hope, and Lord help the team on the receiving end of this passing attack when they finally get Harry Douglas and Laurent Robinson more involved.
- Let's give some props to the defense for a couple of key stops. The biggest plays in the game might well have been Jon Babineaux's flattening of Jay Cutler and Curtis Lofton's daring goal line stop. If the offense had come through, we might be remembering their efforts a lot more fondly.
- Jason Elam probably had a fairly emotional day playing against his old team, but he didn't show it. Our BFF kicker nailed two field goals and had no problems with extra points.
- Michael Turner still got it done, somehow. Those two touchdowns were a great glimpse of what the big guy can do when he's running toward the end zone instead of toward Mike Smith. He delivered when he was called upon, and he deserves credit for that.
- We'll start with Roddy White. For some reason, White got nostalgic and remembered the days when he used to drop passes until we showed up at Flowery Branch with pitchforks and torches. His two early game drops weren't killers, but the drop that otherwise would've gone for a potential game winning touchdown is pretty unforgiveable. You're better than that, Roddy.
- Matt Ryan was calm and collected for much of the game, but he has to receive mention here for the truly awful interception he threw. Just like White's drop, it was a reminder that the guy's human. Still, he launched that thing like a badminton dart and Dre Bly came down with it. He'll have to pick his spots a little better against the Panthers, especially because they employ big people defensive backs.
- Continuing the tradition of listing people in both categories, Michael Turner got basically nothing for most of the game. The Falcons had a perplexing tendency to run to the outside today, and Turner couldn't get it going for the most part even going up the gut. A more consistent effort would make me very happy.
- The defense bent pretty badly most of the game, and the Broncos took advantage with a couple of quick drives down the field. In all fairness, this is one of the league's most potent passing attacks. Letting a rookie fullback pound the ball into the end zone twice isn't exactly the most pride-inducing moment, though.
- The playcalling was weird at times today. Taking the knee just before the half instead of trying to tack on some more points seems particularly bad in retrospect, as does the truly bizarre shovel pass to Jason Snelling. Stymied at every front, the coaching staff refused to put a poor Broncos defense on its heels by going for broke. I'd say that cost us a few points, at least.
Game MVP: Michael Turner. When a guy accounts for more than half your points, you stand up and pay attention! Kind of a sad week for the Game MVP, honestly.
Game Theme Song: Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones.
One Thing To Take Away: The Falcons are certainly not invincible. There's some work to be done regarding playcalling. And Matt Ryan isn't a ten-foot tall cyborg pass machine.
Okay, that was three things.
Next Week: The NFC South leading Panthers and their merry band of Jake Delhommes. Check them out at Cat Scratch Reader.
Final Word: The team is still in the playoff hunt, but this puts a little more pressure on them to win against the Panthers. Should be a hell of a game.