Real preseason is here! We are inching ever so slowly to the season itself.
Tonight’s matchup pits the Falcons against the Dolphins in Miami, and it’ll be an interesting opportunity for the Falcons to play against a young quarterback pushing hard for a starting job in Josh Rosen. More than that, it’s a game against a team forging a new identity under a first-time head coach, and a team trying hard to pull themselves out of the morass they’ve found themselves in for years by adding talented young players to the mix. That should make for an interesting, if not necessarily exciting, game.
The Falcons will be without Kurt Benkert, who is hitting injured reserve, and that means the quarterbacking talents of Matt Schaub and Matt Simms will be on full display for an entire game, which is less than optimal. Instead, focus on the ducks they’re throwing to young receivers who are trying to break onto the roster, the suddenly hot running back battle, and of course the defense, which made a strong showing with mostly backups and third-stringers last week.
I’ll be posting quarterly updates during the game, so be sure to refresh this space as I break down the drives while remaining chipper despite the late hour.
The Falcons were able to get the stop thanks to a Durrant Miles forced fumble and a Del’Shawn Phillips recovery.
That Matt Simms-led offense? Woof.
The Dolphins put Jake Rudock and the deep reserves in the game and got rolling, pushing downfield and finding a ton of success targeting the likes of Jayson Stanley and Ryan Neal, the latter of who has now had two shaky games in a row. 19-27.
Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James combined for over 40 yards rushing and a touchdown (all Ollison) on the next drive, which led to a score. Matt Simms found C.J. Worton for the two point conversion and we’re all tied up! Somehow! 27-27
The preseason Falcons took over. The next drive went nowhere, Matt Simms was sacked left and right, and the Dolphins took over and got a quick touchdown to take the lead back. 27-34
The Falcons actually looked like they might tie it up after Simms picked up 44 yards on three straight passes, but two incompletions and a one yard scramble with time dwindling doomed those sweet hopes.
The first Falcons drive was an absolute dud, with two penalties and no blocking dooming Matt Simms and Qadree Ollison. Punt.
The Dolphins had little trouble picking up the touchdown to take the lead on their next drive, thanks primarily to a fairly brutal series by Kendall Sheffield, who has a ton of talent but is not quite ready for primetime. 19-20.
The Matt Simms-led offense didn’t totally falter, but it also wasn’t very good. Punt at about midfield.
The Dolphins got moving on Rosen’s arm and a player whose last name is Laird. Goodness, these games.
The Falcons got a field goal.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, got a touchdown. Penalties by Kendall Sheffield and Tre’ Crawford (the latter, in my opinion and others led to the score, but Josh Rosen also had a pretty nice drive.
The Falcons dithered, Jermaine Grace got a nice interception, and the Falcons got a field goal. 12-10
Then the Falcons scored yet again. Schaub hooked up with Kenjon Barner on a beautiful 38 yarder and Brian Hill vultured the short touchdown. 19-10.
The Dolphins answered with a pretty downfield pass before Durrant Miles corralled Rosen for a sack. They did manage a field goal, however, 19-13.
The Dolphins got the ball first, and the star of the first defensive drive was unquestionably Takk McKinley, who came up with a big tackle for loss and a stop at the line of scrimmage against Kenyan Drake. A couple of missed opportunities against the run and a questionable DPI call on Isaiah Oliver kept Miami moving, but the Falcons held them to a field goal thanks in part to a couple of nice stops by roster hopeful Austin Larkin. 0-3.
The Falcons turned in a touchdown drive, and while Matt Schaub didn’t blow anyone’s doors off, he was far from the lumpy sack of potatoes the Falcons threw out there a week ago. He found a lot of success targeting Russell Gage and Olamide Zaccheaus and Justin Hardy both had nice catches, and Ito Smith punched it in. Matt Gono got called for holding twice. 6-3.
The Dolphins punted.
How to watch Falcons - Dolphins
What: Preseason Week 1
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
When: Thursday, August 8, 7:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: CW69
Streaming: NFL Gamepass
Radio Channel: 92.9 The Game/Westwood One/SiriusXM
All-Time Records: The Dolphins lead the all-time series 9-4, and beat the Falcons in preseason Week 4 last year.
Opponent Site: The Phinsider