Living in southeastern Tennessee, I decided to take a brief trip up to Music City to cheer on our Atlanta Falcons in the first away game I've ever attended. What I got was a chilly and wet day of sloppy offensive football for both sides, but I did pick up a few things during my time in Nashville.
First things first, Dan Quinn is transforming this defense into something other teams worry about. Yes, Titans backup Zach Mettenberger missed the occasional throw and Justin Hunter dropped a WIDE open ball deep in Falcons territory, but this defense is proving to be "good" for the first time in a hundred years. A reasonable portion of Sunday's performance can be contributed to an anemic Titans' passing attack and a backfield led by some fellow named Antonio Andrews. The weather definitely played a factor as well, as a consistent drizzle could have led to the game ending interception for the Titans. However, do not allow that to take away from Quinn's work on this side of the ball.
As for Atlanta's offense, what in the world is going on? Matt Ryan obviously isn't playing his best ball, but we have to keep our criticisms in check. Looking at it from a technical standpoint, this team is transitioning to a first year head coach, offensive coordinator, and many fresh faces in the receiving core. Matt has been forcing throws to Jones, but has four years of experience throwing to Julio, and has a cemented familiarity with number 11 when the game is on the line. Ryan does not yet have this connection with Hankerson, Tamme, and Freeman, but it will come as the year progresses. We have to expect these growing pains this year, and thankfully these problems are surfacing in week 7, not 17.
On special teams, Matt Bosher and the coverage unit played a phenomenal game. I can only recall two or three times that a punt wasn't downed inside the 20 yard line. Keith Armstrong really has this portion of the team playing fundamental football. Good stuff, guys.
As for Matt Bryant, well, it's beginning to look like he is just a mere mortal. His age could be catching up, the wet field may have gotten to his head, I'm not sure. All that's known is that this team is playing games too closely for him to be missing right now. Kickers will miss, but hopefully he gets these issues worked out soon.
The most impressive aspect of Sunday's game was the sheer amount of Falcons fans who turned up to watch this team. At one point in the 4th quarter when the Titans were on their way to a game winning drive, the crowd began to roar, "DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE". Tennessee is having a bad year, the weather was not ideal, and the drive isn't too lengthy for us to get there, so I'm not taking anything away from Titans supporters. I'm just so proud of Atlanta fans, because they proved to everyone, including Reese Waters, that we aren't the washy, fake fans that everyone seems to believe.
What were some of your takes, lukewarm or incredibly hot, of Sunday's game against the Titans?