This game was the polar opposite of last week's.
Against the Saints, we executed well all the way through and nearly won against a very tough team. In this one, we played poorly for long stretches and still found a way to win against the Redskins. The Falcons are maddeningly capable of switching back and forth between sheer brilliance and utter ineptitude, something that will hopefully disappear with time.
Still, the win is what's most important here, and the Falcons managed that 31-17. There were also quite a few encouraging bright spots this week, so it's not like there's any reason to be truly concerned here. I hope.
Follow me after the jump and we'll get to the real meat n' potatoes of this post.
Michael Turner is awesome. My greatest fear right now is that he's going to be running, the camera's going to switch to the back of the end zone and he's going to keep running and come right through the television screen and punch me in the stomach. I'm sorry I doubted you! That 58 yard touchdown was beautiful!
I maintain that there was something not quite right with Turner earlier in the season, but whatever it was has vaporized like an ant under a death ray. Right now, I think the Panthers, who have the top-rated pass defense in the league, are going to have to worry about our good friend Touchdown Vampire.
- Big ups to Tye Hill, who went from not playing at all to locking down the starting job in Atlanta in the span of two weeks. Hill's interception and 62-yard return for a touchdown clearly caught the attention of the coaching staff, as the AJC speculates he'll start again. He's got the physical skills to win the job and may just have developed in the system well enough to make this work. This comes at the expense of Brent Grimes, obviously, but I still think he'll do good things at the nickle.
- Jason Elam's back! Yes!
- Tony Gonzalez had a very underrated game. The Redskins blanket the tight end, but Gonzo still managed to pick up 40 yards and a touchdown against that suffocating coverage. He's simply the most reliable option in the passing game, though he's not blowing up like Roddy White is.
- Speaking of blowing up, Jonathan Babineaux went off like ten tons of dynamite. Ten total tackles, two-and-a-half sacks and some generally rage-filled play went a long ways on Sunday. Teams with weak interior offensive linemen ought to be peeing their pants about now.
- Props to Kroy Biermann and Chevis Jackson (?), who both managed to sack Jason Campbell in a hit parade which unfortunately knocked the young quarterback out of the game. Half props to John Abraham, who managed a half of a sack.
- Eric Weems is the man. Still doing well in the return game, so he gets another gold star.
- Matty Ice, appropriately enough, is not doing so hot right now. It's not so much the one interception as it is the handful of bad throws, the inability to find anyone open downfield and the happy feet. It's not anything I'm worried about long term—I mean, hell, I'm barely worried about it short term—but it's yet another reminder that he's human and needs time to grow as a quarterback. Let's all give him that time.
- This was a tough secondary, which partly explains both Ryan's struggles and Roddy White's. I don't think the injury was affecting him so much as he wasn't open all that often. Wasn't much of a game for either of 'em, really.
- Everyone has different feelings about Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling, but can we all agree that it would be nice to have them back? I have no problem with Aaron Stecker and Verron Haynes, but they're not getting the job done behind Turner.
- As orang3b astutely noted, Mike Peterson was getting killed in coverage today. He wasn't alone, though, as the entire defense forgot how to tackle and cover anyone for long stretches. The Redskins' offense isn't exactly dynamic, especially with that O-line, so our inability to make things happen during the second half of the game was disappointing. Again, it comes down to simple consistency.
Game MVP: I dare not incur the wrath of Michael Turner. Here's your MVP, sir!
Game Theme Song: It's been too long.
One Thing To Take Away: We're still very much in the thick of the wild card race. I'm pretty happy with that.
Final Word: Win.