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Key takeaways from Falcons vs. Steelers, a game of two halves

The second preseason game, as analyzed by The Falcoholic staff.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Jackson

The Falcons are shook. They’ve blown leads in three straight games dating back to the Super Bowl — all against AFC opponents. God help us all.


In his first action in an NFL game, we saw what we hoped we would see out of Takk McKinley. While he didn’t register a sack, his presence was definitely felt. His speed off the snap and power were both demonstrated on Saturday. It’s still really early, but the early signs point to another potential disruptor on our defensive line.

Dave Choate

The Falcons continue to showcase their stacked roster when the starters and even the immediate backups are in the game, blowing two teams off the field in preseason by virtue of their athletic ability and physicality. That’s despite a cheerfully vanilla preseason game plan, too.

When you get to the end of the roster, though, things look bad. The Falcons are going to have some tough choices at the tail end of the 53 man this year, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Thankfully, that’s only going to matter in the regular season if things go terribly awry.

Steve Cohen

After the Falcons drafted Brian Hill, it appeared that Terron Ward was in danger of losing his spot on the roster. Instead, Ward has come out this preseason and done essentially everything he could possibly do to stick. In Sunday’s game, he mixed in a TD run (powering over a defender), a good-looking outside run in open space, a great block in pass-protection on a successful deep pass, and had contributions on all of the starting special teams units. Pencil in Terron Ward as the Falcons RB3 for 2017 and you can probably go ahead and throw away the eraser while you’re at it.


The main thing we’ve learned from the first two preseason games is that the guys who are going to play on Sundays are really good, and we’re going to have some promising prospects on the inactive list and the practice squad as well.

We’ve certainly had facepalm-worthy moments in these first two preseason games. But if you go back and make a list of the bad plays, you’ll find that most of it has come from players who aren’t even projected to make the practice squad. The starters have been outstanding, the second units have been solid, and we’ve had strong performances from enough third stringers to fill out the roster.

Caleb Rutherford

Revenge Tour 14, Poor Suckers Facing Our 1’s 0

I have watched the #6 WR battle with great interest and feel that any of Anthony Dable, Nick Williams, Marvin Hall, and Reggie Davis could make the roster and make an impact. Hall actually got some snaps with the #1s (and made a fine catch over the middle on one) but that dropped TD on a decent throw from Simms was an ugly final impression for the speedster from Washington. Reggie Davis, he of some not-good UGA memories, continues to make a stronger and stronger case to nab that final spot with not only a great catch of his own, but a fantastic block on a WR screen that was dropped by someone else. Based on game performances I have witnessed, I would give Davis and Nick Williams equal chances to make the roster with Hall and Dable slightly behind.

Kevin Knight

The part of the preseason that matters--aka the first few series involving starters--have to make you incredibly excited about this Falcons’ team. Atlanta’s first-string offense has now marched down and scored an opening drive TD in both 2017 preseason games, picking up right where they left off in 2016. The starting defense looks both fast AND physical, and has shut down opposing offenses at every opportunity. If both of these units can play like they have during the preseason, the rest of the NFL needs to watch out.