After a terrible loss in Week 1 the Falcons come back strong against the Arizona Cardinals blowing them out 41-7. This is one of my favorite activities when I get to right about the Falcons with so many positives to mention and struggling to think of some negatives. This is the kind of win that makes me proud to be a Falcon’s fan, so let’s breakdown this week’s win.
Jason Snelling the Falcon’s third string running back and 7th round pick four years ago once again came into the game and was a reliable back up when Turner and Norwood went down with injuries early in the game. He rushed for 129 yards for two touchdowns and had over 50 yards receiving with a receiving touchdown. You can not ask more from a back up running back. Norwood’s injury came on the opening kickoff when he just fell down to the turf and then was later carted off the field. It is being reported that it is a knee injury and is questionable for next week’s game. This isn’t good, but I have come to expect this from our injury prone tailback. Turner’s injury came later in the game and doesn’t to seem as serious because Coach Smith said Turner was ready to go again, but the score of the game gave us no reason to chance a re-injury. But congrats to Snelling and I hope to see more carries in his future.
Matt Ryan was back to the good old Matty Ice again with 225 yards passing and three TD’s to go along with a 60% completion rate. Very impressive for the third year quarterback to come back after a poor performance last week. A lot of this had to do with the improved performance of the O-line, which kept Ryan up throughout the game and opened up running lanes to keep the run game going. Sam Baker (considered the weakest link in the line this year) had a pretty good game as I kept a close eye on his protection skills throughout the game. However, Baker did have one excruciatingly bad drive where he had three penalties called on him (2 False starts, 1 holding), but the rest of the team persisted and ended up with a touchdown even with the penalties being called.
Roddy White had another good game with 7 catches for 78 yards and a TD. It was good to see Brian Finneran get his first TD since 2008 after having to go through two torn ACL’s and I’m glad we have such a good possession receiver on our roster. The Cardinals had Gonzalez blanketed pretty well and I wish we had given some more looks towards Douglas who only had three catches, but made some nice moves to gain some extra yards on a few of his grabs.
The defense was unstoppable! Well, except for that 80 yard run by Hightower for a touchdown, but besides that they were UNSTOPPABLE. Defensive MVP for this week would definitely have to go to Sean Weatherspoon who had 9 tackles and a very impressive sack. Weatherspoon was flying around the field and seemed to be involved in every play in some form or fashion. Also nice work by the secondary who had three interceptions (Owens, Moore, Franks) and kept the league’s best receiver in check. Robinson was nipping at Fitzgerald’s heels the entire game and had a couple of nice pass deflections and a really head-jarring tackle for a loss. Props to William Moore for his first career start at Strong Safety and for making some really nice tackles even if one of them occurred out of bounds, but I’ll let that one slide because of the great tackling and a great interception. Also it was good to have Babineaux back from his one game suspension and have that added pressure on the quarterback, which accounted for a sack and a fumble by Mr. Babineaux himself. However, the rest of the D-line seemed to get pushed around yesterday, so hopefully we see our sack numbers rise next week as we face the Saints who are going to be passing it a lot more.
Good work this week and let’s get ready for the true test for the best NFC South team when we face the Saints in the Superdome. Hopefully I’ll be writing with only good things to say, but this is going to be one of hardest tests this year and having this week’s win should help us go into the game confident that we can control the clock with our run game, keep Brees in check, and pull out the win.