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Dolphins 17-Falcons 6 final score: Atlanta fizzles out

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It was a lousy preseason effort for the Falcons, but thankfully it was just a preseason effort.

NFL: Preseason-Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll discuss this in more detail tomorrow, but the bottom line here is that the Falcons looked very bad in the third preseason game. Thankfully, the third preseason game matters only insofar as it gives us injuries to reckon with and continuations of last year’s struggles. On both those fronts, then, Falcons fans had plenty of things to grumble about.

The good news here is that the injured players will have a couple of weeks to heal up, the entire team will have a couple of weeks to reckon with what they just put on tape, and they can erase this game with a win in Week 1 of the regular season. The concern, of course, is that they won’t. We’ll know what this team looks like in a couple of weeks, either way, and we’ll hope it isn’t this.

Fourth Quarter

  • The Falcons forced a quick three and out on defense, and we got more Nordly Capi. Always give us more Nordly Capi.
  • It was just a lot of back and forth in the fourth quarter. You can see from my notes that my energy level was dropping this quarter, but when there’s no scoring and the deep backups are in, that’s just kind of what happens.
  • Let us never discuss this game again.

Third Quarter

  • Atlanta didn’t run three plays in the second half before they picked up a penalty and saw Austin Hooper fumble the ball away. That gave the ball back to Miami, now with backup quarterback Zac Dysert in, and they picked apart the Falcons’ defense even so. They wound up punching it in on a short run, and Miami was up 14-3.
  • The backups came in after that, and while they only looked good for a second, it was welcome. Shayne Graham hit a 53 yarder and Atlanta was down 14-6.
  • The backup defense let Zac Dysert largely walk all over them, aside from a Nordly Capi/Courtney Upshaw big hit. Miami got all the way down into the red zone before the drive finally fizzled out.
  • The backup offense looked good early again—thank you, Aldrick Robinson and Nick Williams—but a penalty, a sack, and so on ensued, and the Falcons were forced to punt. That drive flowed into the fourth quarter.

Second Quarter

  • You know what, let’s just not talk about it.
  • Okay, we can. A little. The Falcons’ defense generally played a solid first half, and they had a couple of nice stops in this quarter. When the ball got to the offense, they stumbled, fumbled and looked lousy until the last drive of the second quarter, when Matt Ryan found Mohamed Sanu a couple of times, connected with Aldrick Robinson deep, and got things moving at last. That drive ended with a field goal, but hey, Atlanta was on the board.
  • Defensively, the last drive could not have been more frustrating, even though it ended with a Dolphins missed field goal.

First Quarter

  • Desmond Trufant doesn’t get a ton of interceptions, but when he does, they’re super fun. His first quarter pick of Ryan Tannehill was an undeniable highlight.
  • Offensively, things were not great. The Falcons had a handful of effective plays, but simply kept coming up short, including on a 4th and short where Coleman got dragged down for a small loss.
  • Defensively, the first couple of drives were a very good sign. Brooks Reed looked fast and physical (TM), the Falcons got stops.
  • Then it all went to hell. Keanu Neal was injured and left the game, and the Falcons surrendered a touchdown that included a 4th and 3 conversion along the way. It was an unfortunate display, to be sure, and given that this was the most extended playing time the defense was getting all preseason, it was not the sign we wanted.
  • Then the Falcons drove down the field with the help of some Miami penalties and hated man Jacob Tamme, getting close to the end zone...and then Matt Ryan threw a pick. At this point, to borrow a phrase from Jeanna Thomas, we were all mad online.