Lets take this quarter by quarter, as we saw fewer and fewer starters the later this terrible, painful, frustrating game went on. There was a lot to be excited about, but we might be getting a little worried.
The most important part of the game with most of the starters in. The defense looked good, but Matt Ryan came out the gate and tossed a pass a bit behind Levine Toilolo who popped it up. He followed it up with another uneven drive, with a lucky drop saving him from an interception, and another football bouncing off of Mohamed Sanu’s hands.
Tevin Coleman looked electric both up the middle and out on the edges. He could definitely be looking at a monster year.
The defense finally gave up some yards late in the first quarter, and Chris Johnson fumbles twice (!).
Deion Jones looked as impressive as he did last year, but I would have hoped for the defensive line to get more pressure on the statuesque Carson Palmer.
Jarnor Jones was running with the starters and immediately gave up a deep touchdown pass to John Brown.
Matt Ryan stayed in and was aggressive... and was almost picked off by Antoine Bethea. Brian Hill of all people looked pretty impressive, powering through a tough run. Ryan connected on short passes to Sanu to Hill, with the team trying to open up the deep pass. It didn’t work, and Ryan looked all types of rusty.
The Falcons punt to the Cardinals backups. The defense looked pretty good and were swarming the football. They still need to get polished up, but they run fast and tackle hard.
Takk McKinley hustles. How often do you see a defensive lineman hit a wide receiver so hard he coughs up the ball? The refs ruled he was down, but I still consider that a big play by the rookie.
He followed that play up with beating the left tackle around the outside and pressuring Drew Stanton right into Jack Crawford.
Amazing play, but the Cardinals kick a field goal and Falcons go down 10-0.
Matt Schaub comes in and does Matt Schaub things, immediately getting stripped-sacked by Marcus Golden. It puts the Cardinals in great field position, and they toss a touch down on their first play. Another touchdown by Brown, but C.J. Goodwin had really tight coverage. Honestly, it was a perfectly thrown ball by Stanton.
Later, Crawford blew right through the Cardinals offensive line and forced a fumble on the running back. It wasn’t just his number that reminded me of Jonathan Babineaux on that play. For a relatively unknown player, Crawford has made a ton of big plays this game.
UGA standout Reggie Davis made a few plays, and definitely looked faster than Nick Williams. Both were running on the same offense, so expect that competition to be close.
Right before the half, the offense putters out under Matt Schaub. On 4th down at the two yard line, the Falcons... kick? I don’t know why, but they did.
Davis looked pretty solid returning a kick, and may be the other option behind Andre Roberts. Cornelius Edison, the backup center, went down before Matt Simms even got to play. In a day with some terrible passing, the best Falcons pass was probably Simms to Deante Burton for like 15 yards. Simms started sharp.
The coaching staff clearly wanted a long look at Hill, who flashed with the starters but was unable to do much without blocking. Terron Ward went in with the same offense and looked like he had a bit more wiggle running through a muddy offensive line.
He’s no magician, and got slammed right when he got the ball. Simms was immediately pressured, and suddenly it was fourth down. The Falcons again stall out in the red zone and are stuck kicking a field goal. 17-6.
This quarter just kept going and I don’t know if we will make it through the 4th. We are running low on starters at this point, but there’s still plenty of talent. Jalen Collins ain’t dead yet. He attacked the football and cause a Cardinals rookie to cough it up.
The fourth quarter is a sloppy mess and no one should have to watch it. The defense was looking tired, which is weird because these guys have been playing maybe a quarter. Blaine Gabbert is scampering for yardage. Collins takes a pretty weak angle on a running back and suddenly the Falcons are down 24-6.
Was there anything worth knowing?
Jermaine Grace was making some plays, and if he doesn’t land a roster spot, he’s a lock for the practice squad.
Like last week, Simms slowed down and looked worse the longer he played.
Eric Saubert has been mentioned as a potential cut. He had a fine performance, but not sure if he did enough. He may make sense as a practice squad player.
Hooray! It only took 57 minutes, but the Falcons produced something other than a field goal. Wide receiver Josh Magee took a bubble screen 57 yards for a touchdown against a bunch of guys just like him: days away from being cut. Magee is way too far down the roster to save himself from the chopping block, but with that play he may latch onto the practice squad. They complete a two point conversion, moving the score to 24-14.
This game felt unusually like last season’s week 3 preseason game, except this year’s defense was definitely an improvement. Otherwise, we saw an uneven performance and a lot of players looking rusty. Don’t worry, but this was from an encouraging team performance.