You're never as good as you think, and you're never as bad as you think.
-Some coach whose name I can't remember; I think it was Belichick
(Actually, it looks like it's just an old coaching quote)
This quote is especially accurate for a team like the Falcons, who played lights out on offense for four quarters and whose defense played lights on for a half until they figured out it takes 11 men to unscrew a lightbulb. Then they played lights out.
Denver looked ridiculously good last night, and I want to caution everyone that next week could be one of those "You're not as bad as you think" weeks. It has become an exponentially taller task now that Brent Grimes is done for the season.
But I digress. The Falcons played an overall marvelous game against the Chiefs, helping set a record for most number of teams scoring 40 points on Opening Week. Matt Ryan was as sharp as I've ever seen him and was one Roddy TD drop away from pitching a perfect game.
The defense played straight up awful for two quarters and then the Quarter That Shall Not Be Named came after halftime and we put the whooping on a team for the first time in a long time.
In any case, individual awards to come after the jump. Let's go!
The good was all over the place in this game. Good grief.
- Matt Boss Ryan. His ESPN QBR was 97.5, which is astronomically high, considering 50 is an average game. Considering he literally had his way with the KC defense all game, it's no surprise we were able to hang 40 big ones on them. Want to know why Tom Brady is so good? He gets all day to throw the ball. While one game cannot possibly define a career, I think this game was a big statement by Matt Ryan in saying "I'm elite, haters!"
- The offensive line was very impressive to me. They kept Matt Ryan clean for the bulk of the game and the only hate that was thrown at them was for a whiff that Clabo had during the game. Otherwise, they did a good job in pass blocking. They did well at times in run blocking, but I'd rather them keep Matt Ryan clean rather than have Turner breaking big runs. This is a passing league, after all. And there were a couple times were Matty had "Tom Brady Time" to throw the ball. Any QB that gets that is going to make bank.
- We used all three backs at some point. I liked that Quizz received more playing time than he did last year. I thought his pass protection was good, I loved that one long kick return he had, but let's face it, Weems would've probably taken that one to the house. That being said, he put the offense in perfect position to score.
- The halftime adjustments were fantastic. After a shaky half, the entire defense put the KC offense on total lock down, including forcing three turnovers (which I believe all came in the second half). That's a tribute to how good of a DC Mike Nolan is, and despite the loss of Grimes, I think we'll be alright.
- Stephen Nicholas had an awesome game. He was all over the field and had an interception. People claim him to be the defensive MVP, which I won't argue but....
- Spoon had a sack, two tackles for loss, a pass defense (Nicks had two), and two QB hits in addition to 7 solo tackles. That's a pretty good game, I'd say. It's nice to know that our two nickel LBs are flying all over the place. We're going to need both of them.
- Our replacement refs. They didn't throw many flags, which was nice. I thought they did a good job staying out of the way, while calling any penalties that needed to be called. The Julio screen was close enough to where it probably won't be called (The HD block). The false start on Matt Ryan was a bit strange, but I do recall that rule being implemented over the offseason, so fair enough.
- $$$$ Bryant. That is all
- The playcalling on offense was just awesome. Both Julio and Roddy White had their chances (Roddy White said he would get his fantasy owners more points next time) and I thought both played great overall. It was nice to get HD involved as well.
- Really, the only things I could put here would be nitpicking. The defense in the first half was just awful. Like...Matt Cassel looked like a superstar, and while I don't think he's an awful QB, he's not Tom Brady, and we sure did try to make him look like it in the first half.
- The tackling was a bit suspect at times. We did a good job of holding Peyton Hillis to low yardage, which could've resulted in disaster had we not contained him. Take away Charles's one big run and he had 41 yards on 15 carries, which is still pretty good.