I was cautiously optimistic about this one, identifying as a key matchup the battle between Larry Fitzgerald and Dunta Robinson. With their decent defense and shaky offense, the Cardinals were the kind of team that could really only do damage if they caught you off-guard. With the advantage of hindsight, we can see that wasn't going to happen.
The Falcons were pissed. They came out swinging from the first quarter on, absolutely refusing to be beaten after their narrow loss to the Steelers. Indeed, it quickly turned into a laugher, albeit one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Follow along after the jump for a quick look back at the game.
It started with an early, quality drive that Matt Ryan capped with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White. By the end of the first quarter, Atlanta had a 7-0 lead and looked like they could control the tempo.
The second quarter was when things got hilariously entertaining. The Falcons put up 17 points, harassed the ever-loving shaz out of Derek Anderson and basically bludgeoned the Cardinals with a steel bat. The only touchdown the Falcons allowed all game happened in the second, when Tim Hightower rattled off a long gainer. Come to think of it, the long run was a huge problem for the Falcons early on in 2010, wasn't it?
The good times continued in the third and the fourth quarters, when the Falcons put up a combined 17 points. Matt Bryant hit everything, Dunta Robinson effectively held Larry Fitzgerald in check in arguably his finest game of the season and Sean Weatherspoon hit Anderson so hard he broke his very soul.
Arguably the biggest star? Jason Snelling, who put up over 100 yards on the ground, 57 through the air and three touchdowns in total. I've never seen Big Snell dominate to the extent he did against the Cardinals.
Man, that was a fun game.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think I was pretty dead-on in the recap, albeit with a qualifier:
Our expectations should be tuned in the middle of that: A potential playoff team with a lot of promising pieces who will play a damn good game week-in, week-out.
For more on the Cardinals, be sure to visit Revenge of the Birds.