After a disappointing road loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Falcons returned home hoping to avoid a dreaded 1-3 start. They hosted the Tennessee Titans, a team with a good defense but an offense that Atlanta should be able to take advantage of. In a critical game early in the season, this is how it played out.
Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense start on offense with a quick completion to Corey Davis for a first down. After a 2-yard loss on the subsequent run by Derrick Henry, and an incomplete pass on 2nd down, Ricardo Allen tackles Deion Lewis for a loss and forces the punt. Mohamed Sanu fields the punt for a short return.
Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense starts with a run for 4 yards by Devonta Freeman. After an incomplete pass to Julio on 2nd down, Ryan’s pass for Calvin Ridley is batted away forcing the quick 3 and out.
The Titans start their next offensive series with a long touchdown pass to AJ Brown in what was a comedy of errors for the Falcons defense. Just horrifying.
Falcons 0, Titans 7
The Falcons offense responds with a quick 5 yard pass to Austin Hooper. A deep pass to Mohamed Sanu fails to connect due to defensive pass interference. A one yard gain to Freeman is followed by a big completion to Hooper for another first down. Ryan connects with Sanu for 9 yards, and it’s followed by a nice run by Ito Smith for 10 yards, putting the ball on the 1 yard line. The Falcons finish the drive with a touchdown run by Smith, tying the game up.
Falcons 7, Titans 7
Mariota and the Titans start with an incompletion as Takkarist McKinley nearly blows up the play. On 2nd and 10, interior pressure forces another incomplete pass. After a false start, the Titans convert on a pass to Corey Davis on 3rd and 15. After a 3 yard gain by Henry, Mariota runs for another first down. A short run is turned into a first down when Tyeler Davison is caught holding. After Mariota is pressured to throw it away on another ineffective bootleg, Davison is called for another penalty giving the Titans the first down. A run for no gain is followed by a completion to Delanie Walker to setup 3rd and 7. The Titans keep their drive alive with a completion to Adam Humphries. Derrick Henry comes alive with a big run for 16 yards and another first down. A run for no gain is followed by a Mariota pass to AJ Brown for another touchdown.
Falcons 7, Titan 14
Atlanta responds with a big pass completion to Julio Jones for 20 yards to start their subsequent drive. Freeman gains 3 on the next play and Austin Hooper is unable to bring in the pass to setup 3rd and 7. Ryan keeps the drive alive by connecting with Austin Hooper for a 16 yard gain. The drive dies a premature death on 2nd and 8 as Matt Ryan fumbles the ball after getting hit. Titans recover.
The Titans send us into the second quarter after a short run up the middle.
Falcons XX, Titans YY
A quick pass to Dion Lewis is followed by a tackle of Mariota by Deion Jones to force 4th and 2. The Titans punt it away.
Matty Turnovers and the stale jail birds take the field again. Ryan fails to connect with Calvin Ridley on the deep ball, setting up 2nd and 10. A 2 yard loss on a run by Freeman sets up 3rd and 12, and Ryan fails to convert on his scramble for 6 yards. Atlanta is forced to punt.
The AJ Brown show continues on the next drive with a 28 yard pass to open the drive. On 2nd and 9, Mariota connects with Humphries to setup 3rd and 3. Mariota is unable to complete the pass to Dion Lewis and the Titans opt to go for the 45-yard field goal, which they punch through.
Falcons 7, Titans 17
The Dirk Koetter run pointlessly offense takes the field. A 3 yard gain by Devonta Freeman is followed by Julio dropping the pass that hit him in the hands. On 3rd and 7, Julio makes up for it by converting the third down. A check down to Freeman is followed by a nice run by him to get the first down. An end around to Julio for no gain and an incomplete pass sets up 3rd and 10, where the Falcons gain 9 yards on the pass to Sanu. They opt to go for it on 4th and 1 and fail to convert on the run by Freeman.
The Titans take over and start with two consecutive 5 yard runs by Henry to move the sticks. Mariota connects with Davis for a 28 yard gain on the next play. After De’Vondre Campbell blows up a screen pass to setup 2nd and 13, Henry catches a pass and puts the Titans in 3rd and 5. Mariota connects with Davis again for the 23 yard touchdown reception. My god this team is awful
Falcons 7, Titans 24
Matt Ryan and the stagnant offense take the field to try and close the 17 point gap. Ryan quickly connects with Austin Hooper for 10 yards. After the 2 minute warning, Ryan connects with Austin Hooper who converts another first down. An incomplete pass is followed by a 5 yard reception to Freeman to setup 3rd and 5. Mohamed Sanu keeps the drive alive with the 5 yard reception. After a 9 yard pass to Hooper, the Titans gift Atlanta a first down with a roughing the passer penalty. After an off-target pass to Ito Smith and a 6 yard gain by Sanu, Ryan is forced to throw it away. The Falcons opt to get the 3 points, but Matt Bryant misses the 32-yard field goal. Please god make it end.
The Titans take us to the half with some clock burning runs.
Falcons 7, Titans 24
The Falcons start the second half with a big gain on the RB screen to Freeman. After an ineffective run by Freeman, Matt Ryan runs for the first down. After two throw away passes setup 3rd and 10, Ryan connects with Mohamed Sanu to keep the drive alive with a 28 yard gain. Sanu then runs it for 5 yards out of the wild cat, but a holding call on Hooper sets up 1st and 20. An incomplete pass to Luke Stocker, Calvin Ridley drops a rare target to setup 3rd and 20. Ryan throws a perfect pass to Sanu in the end zone, but he can’t bring it in. Matt Bryant comes in to nail the 42-yard field goal.
Falcons 10, Titans 24
Mariota and the Titans start the second half with a 16 yard pass to Davis. After a run for loss and a short completion to Davis, the Titans are forced to throw it away after Vic Beasley puts pressure on Mariota. Tennessee is forced to punt. The ball goes out at the Falcons 5 yard line to setup the next drive for Atlanta.
Devonta Freeman starts the drive with a nice 8 yard run. A short run converts the first and Ryan finally connects with Calvin Ridley for a 21 yard gain. Ryan follows that up with a big 24 yard pass to Hooper. Ryan is sacked, setting up 2nd and 17. Dirk Koetter perplexingly calls a run that goes for one yard and sets up 3rd and 16. Ryan connects with Sanu for 15 yards. On 4th and 1, Ryan is sacked. Everything is awful.
After the turnover on downs, the Titans pick up a first down after two 5 yard runs by Henry. Grady Jarrett forces an intentional grounding and after an incomplete pass on 2nd and 20, Mariota throws a checkdown to Lewis and the Titans decide to punt on 4th and 9. The punt puts the Falcons inside their 10 yet again.
Atlanta starts with a false start by Kaleb McGary and a 7 yard pass to Sanu. Ryan is forced to throw it away on the 2nd down and on 3rd and 8, Ryan is unable to connect with Austin Hooper. The Falcons are forced to punt. The Titans take over on their own 25.
Derrick Henry starts the drive with a big run for first down for 15 yards out of the wild cat. He picks up another first down with a 13 yard gain. A five yard run by Henry brings us to the end of the third quarter.
Falcons 10, Titans 24
The Falcons gift the Titans a first down with an encroachment penalty to start the fourth. On the next play, Mariota is nearly sacked by John Cominsky, but it’s called an incomplete pass. After a short run by Derrick Henry, Mariota scrambles and fumbles and recovers it just short of the first down. The Titans decide to go for it on 4th and 1 and Vic Beasley stops the run to force the turnover on downs. Atlanta is miraculously still alive.
Ryan and the Falcons start with a high missed pass to Julio. Ryan finds Sanu for 6 yards and on 3rd and 4 is pressured and unable to connect with Ito Smith. On 4th and 4, Atlanta decides to go for it and Ryan connects with Sanu to keep the drive alive. Freeman picks up 9 on the dump off pass and on 2nd and 1, Freeman picks up the first again with a pick up of 9 yards. The drive is set back as Ryan is sacked again, setting up 2nd and 15. Ryan connects with Austin Hooper for 12 yards. The drive stays alive as Matt connects with Julio for a nice gain. A 9-yard pass to Freeman is set back by a personal foul penalty by Alex Mack. After a one yard loss on a pass to Freeman and a 3 yard completion to Ridley, Ryan finds Hooper for a 19 yard gain to setup 4th and 4. The offense stays in and Ryan is sacked for the turnover on downs.
After a run for a loss, the Falcons convert the first down for the Titans with another defensive holding call. Henry picks up 6 on the ground followed by another 3 yard gain. On 3rd and 1, Henry picks up the first down and fumbles it, but it goes out of bounds. On the following 3rd and 3, the Titans run wide to pick up the first down. On 3rd and 11, the Titans fail to convert, but mission accomplished as they burn the clock down to the 2 minute warning with a two score lead in hand. They punt it and pin Atlanta inside their own 5 yard line.
Ryan and the Fail cons start with an 8 yard pass to Invisible Ridley. Freeman picks up good yards on the following run. Ryan connects with Devonta again for a 9 yard pass and then Ito Smith for 8 yards. Ryan finds Ito again for 10 yards and the game mercifully comes to an end.
Final: Falcons 10, Titans 24