Sep 17, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons players Thomas DeCloud (28), and Rober James (51) and John Abraham (55) run onto the field before the game against the Denver Broncos at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Broncos 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
What a game. The Falcons blew the doors off the Broncos right out of the gates, and held strong down the stretch to move to 2-0 on the year. Denver was a much tougher test than Kansas City, so we learned a little more about Atlanta's chances in 2012 after Week 2.
The replacements refs must have enjoyed partaking in the festivities of Monday Night Football, as they attempted to extend the game as long as humanly possible. Looking past some of their errors, though, it was overall a great display of football for a national audience, which will hopefully boost the Falcons value in the minds of critics looking in.
Let's go ahead and take a look at what we learned. What do you say, Peyton?
1) Roddy White is still a huge part of this offense. Early indications foreshadowed Julio Jones taking over as the No. 1 receiver, but these two are equally vital to Matt Ryan's arsenal. The Broncos honed in on No. 11, but while they were making sure he contained, Roddy went to work. It's going to be extremely difficult for any opponent to shutdown Roddy, Julio, Tony G and HD. What a ridiculous group.
2) Asante Samuel is one tough dude. After leaving the game with a neck injury, he returned only to make a huge tackle on Jacob Tamme diving into him headfirst. Samuel might not be the best at wrapping up defenders, but he makes the big stops when the need him to with aggressive plays on the ball/runner. Just watch him level Eric Decker here.
3) The Falcons have found something special with their draft picks from Mizzou. Sean Weatherspoon and William Moore were key playmakers for Mike Nolan's defense last night, combining for 18 total tackles and wreaking havoc on the Broncos left and right. Dave picked Willy Mo as his "one to watch for" yesterday before the game, and he was dead on with that selection. It looks like some of the national media started noticing how good these two are.
Sean Weatherspoon is one of those great players who doesn't get enough notice. One of the best linebackers in the NFL right now.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) September 18, 2012
4) The biggest negative of Week 2 appeared to be the ground game, again. Michael Turner looks nothing like The Burner of old. Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling need to receive more carries if they want to successfully make progress running the ball. Turner's DUI might set that plan in motion.
5) Can we give a shoutout to Sam Baker? He has played well beyond anyone's expectations so far in 2012. The entire offensive line for that matter looks good, and I think Pat Hill deserves some credit there as well. Von Miller recorded the only sack last night for the Broncos. He used a nasty spin move and looked like he was on a mission to take down Ryan, but other than that No. 2 stayed upright.
6) Dirk Koetter needs to stick with the aggressive play calls. He eased up a bit at times. The Falcons came out of the locker room throwing short passes and trying to get Turner going on the ground, but it wasn't getting them anywhere. Ryan running the no-huddle and taking a more aggressive approach looks like a formula for success. He can make any throw, they just need to trust him.
7) Peria Jerry doesn't even have to be facing runners to tackle them. (Probably my favorite play of last night).
8) John Gruden says "Look at these Falcons" way too often. If you were playing a drinking game for that phrase, you probably didn't survive the night.
9) John Fox is a bully. Also an idiot at times. The following will show why.