Our Atlanta Falcons are 0-1, after a tough loss to the Bucs. The immediate takeaways from fans ranged between “it’ll be ok” and “Matt Schaub would have won that game.” Emotions always run high after the first game, so these takeaways are hopefully going to avoid falling into that trap.
Sanu drops the mic (and some balls)
Many fans wondered whether Mohamed Sanu could truly be a legitimate WR2. The game against the Bucs went a long way towards proving he is legit, mostly. Sanu hauled in 5 passes for 80 yards and a TD, looking comfortable in the role opposite All-Pro Julio Jones.
However, Sanu also reminded us of some of our frustrations, dropping some passes that should have been caught. It was a mixed bag for Sanu, but he at least showed that he’s capable of contributing. If he can take care of the drops, he could silence the doubters completely.
Rookies looked like rookies (but potentially good ones)
The Falcons are starting a very young defense, which is now anchored by two rookie linebackers. While Sean Weatherspoon occasionally got in on the action, DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones are clearly the future.
Both Jones and Campbell had some good moments and some poor ones. Campbell demonstrated great coverage skills early, only to nullify it by drawing defensive pass interference. Jones was able to chase down a ball carrier for a tackle for loss, but was also beat soundly in several cases due to being in poor position or being unable to get off of a block.
However, both players showed considerable range and demonstrated why their speed is critical. Both players made plays we haven’t seen from a Falcons linebacker in quite some time. If they can limit the rookie mistakes, they have the potential to be very good.
It’s only one game
Yes, I’m concerned about the lack of a pass rush. I’m also concerned about the drops and the dismal running game. I also realize that the first few games of a season can give a bunch of false positives. That’s not to say it’s not important for the Falcons to win - clearly it is - but this game is not necessarily a predictor for all that will come in 2016. Many times, the first game is the spark that finally ignites the fire. Let’s hope that’s the case with this team.
What are your takeaways from Sunday’s game against the Bucs?