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Falcons 24, Colts 27: Tale of two halves ends in a disappointing loss

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In a week 3 game on the road, the Falcons second half surge can’t overcome an incompetent and putrid first half.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons under Dan Quinn have an atrocious record against AFC teams. Yet, going into this game with the Indianapolis Colts, many felt like Atlanta had the edge. With linebacker Darius Leonard out, Matt Ryan and the offense should have had an easier time. How did things turn out? Let’s take a look below.

First quarter

The Falcons won the toss and deferred. Jacoby Brissett and the Colts offense start with an 8 yard run by Marlon Mack. After a short run for a first down, Brissett finds Mack for a 9-yard completion, who picks up the first down on the next run. Jacoby finds Parris Campbell for another first down. On a 3rd and 9, the Colts offense fails to convert on a short pass to T.Y. Hilton. Adam Vinitaieri comes in and doinks in a 49 yard field goal.

Falcons 0 - Colts 3

Matt Ryan and the offense start on their 17 after a poor return by Kenjon Barner. Thankfully, the running game gets off to an explosive start with a 28 yard run by Devonta Freeman. After a 3-yard run, Ryan finds Austin Hooper for the 9-yard gain and the first down. A run for no gain by Ito Smith is followed by a quick pass to Luke Stocker setting up 3rd and 5. Ito Smith gets the carry, but fails to convert the 3rd down, but it ultimately doesn’t count because of a hold by James Carpenter setting them back to 3rd and 15. Matt Ryan misses deep to Julio Jones and Atlanta is forced to punt. Matt Wile pins the Colts back at their 7-yard line.

Indianapolis starts their second offensive drive with pass to T.Y. Hilton for a 6-yard gain. They follow it with a big 14-yard run by Marlon Mack and a big catch by T.Y. Hilton, followed by a helmet-to-helmet penalty on Ricardo Allen. Allen was not ejected, but the Falcons give the Colts great field position. A short run by Mack and a block in the back sets up 1st and 20 for the Colts. After a two quick passes, the Colts faced a 3rd and 5 and converted on a pass to Eric Ebron. The drive ends with Brissett finding a wide-open Zach Pascal for the touchdown.

Falcons 0 - Colts 10

The Falcons start their second drive with a 17-yard pass to Julio Jones. They follow that up with a 19-yard pass to Austin Hooper. A nice 6-yard run by Freeman brings us to the end of the first quarter and a pressing need to drink battery acid.

Falcons 0 - Colts 10

Second quarter

On 2nd and 4, Freeman converts the first down on the ground. Amazingly, Bad Matt Ryan shows up yet again, throwing an interception to Clayton Geathers deep over the middle. Colts take over deep inside their territory.

The Colts offense starts with a big gain on a pass to Jack Doyle. After a short pass to Parris Campbell, Brissett finds Eric Ebron for a huge gain. Two straight runs for a loss puts the Colts in 3rd and 12, which is amazingly converted on a dump off pass to Nyheim Hines. Ugh. The Falcons awful tackling keeps the drive alive (along with penalties), but the defense manages to hold them to a short field-goal attempt. Amazingly.

Falcons 0 - Colts 13

The Falcons offense starts with a back-to-back passes to Mohamed Sanu for two first downs. Devonta Freeman blows up another big run of 24 yards to keep the drive thriving. After a run for no gain, Ryan finds Julio Jones for a first down. Freeman is stopped for a 1-yard loss and a Ryan incompletion leads to 3rd and 11, where Ryan throws it away after being pressured. Matt Bryant comes in and nails the 34-yard field goal to put Atlanta on the board.

Falcons 3 - Colts 13

The Colts offense returns to the field and start with a first down run that is stuffed and takes us to the two minute warning. A missed pass sets up 3rd and 9, but the drive is kept alive by defensive pass interference called on Keanu Neal. The Colts drive is kept alive by a bone-headed 12-player penalty. After Keanu Neal is penalized for throwing his helmet after an injury (screw those refs, man), the Colts convert the touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton. Everything is awful.

Falcons 3 - Colts 20

Third quarter

The Falcons offense starts with a pass to Luke Stocker and a run for a loss by Freeman to setup 3rd and 8. Ryan thankfully finds Mohamed Sanu over the middle to convert. After a 3-yard run by Devonta, Ryan gets them to 3rd and 1 with a pass to Justin Hardy. A very narrow conversion on a Freeman run is followed by a big pass to Julio for a gain of 34. Ryan finally finds pay dirt with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper.

Falcons 10 - Colts 20

The Colts offense with Falcon killer Jacoby Brissett get back on the field. Grady Jarrett stuffs a Marlon Mack run and Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley follows that up with a sack to setup 3rd and 23. A short pass sets up the first punt on the day for the Colts. A decent return by Kenjon Barner is offset by a penalty.

The Falcons start with a pass for a loss to Devonta Freeman. Another pass to Devonta sets up 3rd and 10, where Ryan connects with Julio Jones for the first down. Ryan scrambles for 4 yards (???) to setup 2nd and 6. A nice run by Freeman sets up 3rd and 2, and a nice conversion is offset by an OPI call against Calvin Ridley. Ryan still finds a way to convert on 3rd and 12 by finding Julio Jones. After two ineffective runs by Freeman, the Falcons ended up in 3rd and 10 yet again, where Ryan connects with Sanu for the critical conversion. A 3-yard run by Freeman is followed by a pass to Kenjon Barner to setup 3rd and 3. Ryan finds Calvin Ridley for the conversion. Freeman picks up 12 on the subsequent run, setting up first and goal and the end of the quarter.

Falcons 10 - Colts 20

Fourth quarter

Devonta starts the fourth quarter with a 3-yard run and on second down, Ryan connects with Luke Stocker who is stopped 2 yards short. Thankfully, Austin Hooper catches the 3rd-down pass for another TD closing the Colts lead to 3 points.

Falcons 17 - Colts 20

The Colts offense (without the injured T.Y. Hilton) takes the field with almost 14 minutes left in the game. A delay of game setups 1st and 15, where Brissett is pressured into a nearly intercepted ball. They convert the first down on the next pass to tight end Mo-Alie Cox. Mack is tackled for a 5 yard loss on the following play, but the Falcons gift Indy with a penalty to put it back at 2nd and 10. After a 5-yard pass to Mack, Brissett escapes a near sack to scramble for the first. An incomplete pass sets up 3rd and 10, Damontae Kazee gets flagged for defensive holding, keeping the drive alive. The drive ultimately ends in a Marlon Mack rushing touchdown, putting the Colts back up by two scores.

Falcons 17 - Colts 27

Ryan and the offense start with a short dump pass to Devonta, but a penalty sets them back 10 yards. After a short pass to Freeman, Hooper makes a nice play to setup the first down conversion by Mohamed Sanu out of the wildcat. After a holding penalty sets up 1st and 20, Ryan finds Sanu for 10 and follows it up with a first down completion to Julio. After an incomplete pass to Devonta, a hold by Jake Matthews sets up 2nd and 20. A 9-yard completion to Hooper is followed by a clear defensive pass interference against Julio on the Colts, which is challenged and upheld. Ryan immediately finds Sanu for another first down and a roughing the passer penalty against the Colts gives Atlanta some free yards. On first and goal, Kaleb McGary getscalled for a false start. A short pass to Julio is followed by a touchdown pass to number 11 to bring the Falcons back within 3.

Falcons 24 - Colts 27

The Colts take to the field to try and burn out the 4 minutes left on the clock. An 8-yard completion is followed by a first-down run by Marlon Mack. A 26-yard run by Mack kept the clock moving, ticking towards a Falcons loss. After a 3-yard run on 2nd and 7 after the two minute warning, the Colts convert the third down on a short pass to Jack Doyle, effectively ending the game.

Final Score: Falcons 24 - Colts 27