Wow the Falcons have had some of the most amazing finishes this season and Thursday’s game was no exception. Big plays from both our offense and the defense, but the Ravens showed us why they were considered one of the best teams in the AFC. The Ravens played us tough the entire game, but we emerged the winners and now hold a 7-2 record and remain on top of the NFC South.
What an incredible night for the offense against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Matt Ryan was unstoppable and once again earned his “Matty Ice” nickname. He threw for over 300 yards, completing 64% of passes and three touchdowns. Ryan was constantly being harassed by the Ravens defensive line, but maintained his composure throughout the game and had one of the best games of his career. The last touchdown in the final minute will remain in my memory to constantly remind me how lucky Falcon fans are to have this quarterback from Boston College.
One of the largest reasons Matt Ryan had the game that he did was because of #84, Roddy White. He was playing status was questionable for this week with a knee injury, but I think the only real question is whether Roddy White is inhuman or superhuman. He hauled in 12 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, one of them being the game-winning touchdown. White did have some drops in this game, but after every drop he made another amazing catch, so it’s hard to complain too much. It is easy to say the game MVP is the Ryan/White pass connection because you can’t say that only one of these players had the game that they did without the other.
Michael Turner. Where was he? Luckily we had Jason Snelling in a game that was dominated by the passing game. Snelling only had 3 carries for minimal yards, but he was able to make 6 catches for 56 yards with a touchdown. A lot of analysts like to point out that Matt Ryan rarely has a good game when Michael Turner can’t get the running game going, but this is a great example where this wasn’t true at all. Hopefully the Turner/Snelling combo can get it going again next week.
Good, but quiet games by Michael Jenkins and Tony Gonzalez making some crucial 3rd down catches. Also compliments to the offensive line for keeping Matt Ryan up most of the game. I know that they couldn’t give him a lot of time in this game, but they held off numerous Raven’s blitzes allowing Matt Ryan to make a play. Sam Baker allowed the only two sacks of the game, but aside from those two mistakes he had a decent game and has been improving since the beginning of the season.
Now the defense was a little more up and down this game, but I couldn’t have asked more from this young group of men. We held Ray Rice to under 60 yards and if we had better composure on some reverses we would have shut down the Raven’s run game all together. Joe Flacco didn’t throw all over us like Dree Brees has done to us in the past, but he still managed to have an efficient game. However, I have never seen our pass rush be so much of a hassle to an opposing quarterback. John Abraham had a ridiculous game with two sacks and our interior linemen were a massive force causing Flacco to constantly throw the ball away or just run for life.
It was good to have Dunta Robinson back, but you would never had known he was on the field because his name was only mentioned on one tackle. For a linebacker this is not a good thing, but for a defensive back it means that the quarterback was not throwing the ball his way. So even thought Robinson isn’t piling up the interceptions and tackles, I prefer that the quarterback not even have the option of throwing it to the left side of the field. Brent Grimes did not have as good of a game with all three of Flacco’s touchdowns going to the man he was covering, but he did make up for it with a great pick that ended up getting us a touchdown.
Matt Bryant continues to impress me. Making both of his field goals with one being from 51 yards. Also congrats to the coverage teams for not allowing any big plays on special teams.
All I know is that I am glad that this game is over and that we came out with a win. We have road game against a surprisingly tough Rams team and then its back at home. We have a longer week to rest up, so hopefully the injury report will be shorter than it has been in the past. Go Falcons!