We ended up talking about winning ugly a lot in 2009, and it won't surprise you in the least to know that we're about to do it again.
Make no mistake, this game was about as attractive as an ape in a thong. It was about as action-packed as a French art flick about jars of mustard. You get the point.
The important thing, of course, is that the Falcons won it. Not only that, but there were some encouraging performances from some young players, guys fighting fiercely for roster spots and trying to show they belong. For the first pre-season game of the year, that's really about all you need to see.
After the jump, we'll get our hands dirty. Be sure to read Adam's excellent recap from last night, too.
- Fear Kroy Biermann. He was a monster in very limited action, nearly catching Matt Cassel at least once and planting him in the turf another time. As a matter of fact, he hit Matt Cassel so hard that he forced a fumble. Also, I'm pretty sure Matt Cassel's head popped off like a Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robot.
- Loved the effort by our ground game. Michael Turner looked effortlessly good and even managed to haul in a pass. Jason Snelling had a couple of nice runs in between his two yard grinders. Antone Smith looked elusive. And then there was my boy the Rushin' Russian, Dmitri Nance.
The six carries for six yards isn't super impressive, but he found the end zone twice and had a long, speedy touchdown called back by a penalty. He also hauled in a couple of passes for 26 yards. Nance definitely turned a few heads tonight.
- Chevis Jackson has become an afterthought in the cornerback corps, but he managed to force a fumble, pick a pass and pile up three tackles tonight. I don't know if the Chiefs' backups are just bad or if a light is coming on for Jackson, but he needs performances like this to hold off Brian Williams and Dominique Franks.
- Speaking of interceptions, Shann Schillinger had a very nice one. For a guy with such a weird name, he has great instincts for the ball.
- The linebackers all played pretty well. Sean Weatherspoon was quietly efficient, Spencer Adkins was flying all over the field and Stephen Nicholas produced a couple of nice stops. The extremely encouraging moment for tonight was the sight of Curtis Lofton getting a sack to go with his four other tackles. We could use a Lofton who is more effective against the pass and at the point of attack against quarterbacks, so that was pretty cool for The Police.
- Eric Weems may hold on to the return job yet. Special Weems scampered around for a 31 yard kick return and a 9 yard punt return, a surprisingly effective performance. It's too bad we still don't know if he can catch all that well.
- Tony Gonzalez, Kerry Meier and Troy Bergeron all had a couple of nice grabs. Kudos to them.
- Last but not....okay, last and most likely least, we present to you John Parker Wilson. JPW couldn't throw a pass 50 yards downfield if God Himself willed it, but he showed flashes of being an effective game manager in this one. Most impressive was his ability to avoid pressure without the cartoon happy feet that Matt Ryan still sometimes gets.
- As has been noted by Adam and others, the pass protection for Matt Ryan was godawful. It was so bad that I have a hard time judging Ryan himself too harshly, since he was given no time to throw against a woeful Chiefs front seven. Let's pray this was just a fluke, and our boy Sam Baker's useless T. Rex arms aren't shrinking by the minute.
- The kicking game is making me very nervous. Matt Bryant nailed a 30 yarder but missed a 50 yarder wide right. Steve Hauschka hit a 37 yarder but missed a 53 yarder that was just short but dead on. I maintain that Hauschka has the stronger leg, as can be seen by his booming 70 yard kickoff tonight, but despite his accuracy on the long attempt he did fall short. Bryant has much more experience and the steadier mindset of the two, but his leg just isn't what it used to be.
This will be one to watch closely, or at least cover your eyes closely for.
- I know we had two picks, but some really mediocre quarterbacks had quite a bit of success against our secondary tonight. Let's nervously chalk that one up to rust and move on.
- Roddy White had a couple of drops. If we're being totally honest with each other, friends, we'd probably admit that White is always going to drop a few passes. It's the only thing preventing him from being considered an elite among elites.
Game MVP: We'll give this one to Biermann, because he's awesome and it's the pre-season and gosh darn it, I feel like it. Dmitri Nance would also be an excellent choice.
Game Theme Song: I think this describes, in some weird way, what we did to the Chiefs last night. Hopefully we can make this a theme song for the season.
One Thing To Take Away: It's going to be one hell of an interesting pre-season. The competition for a handful of jobs is really heavy.
Next Week: We're up against the New England Patriots. Those bastards. Make sure to give a polite wave to Pats Pulpit, and head over there once I get the Ask The Falcoholic! thread up.
Final Word: Win.