Back to the basics is how we will win. I do not understand why teams are trying to throw for 2000 yards a game. Ok, maybe not 2000, but I will say 350-400 yards a game. Including my favorite team the Atlanta Falcons. Yes, I am a die hard Atlanta Falcons fan since I've been able to talk. Enough about that. Atlanta Falcons are now 2-2, after a nail-biting and blood pressure rising 30-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. For starters, the score was much closer than the actual game. There is no way that game should have come down to the last eight seconds, where I was literally crossing my fingers hoping Steven Hauschka would miss a 61-yard field goal. Most kickers would miss that field goal, which he did, but giving the fact he made a 62 yarder the week before, it could have gone either way. But, one thing I do not talk about when it comes to sports is the "shoulda, coulda, wouldas," because at the end of the game, the "ifs" do not matter, it's all about the score when the clock says 0:00. Luckily, that game was in our favor.
One of the reasons the Falcons were mildly successful in this game is that they returned to basics, the running game. Yes, the Atlanta Falcons are a run first team. Call it boring if you want too, but they are a physical, strong team and can run the ball. Running the football allows the offense to spread the ball around to the different weapons on the team as well as slow the pace and tire out the defense. No, Matt Ryan is not a Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or even an Aaron Rodgers, yet. Yes I said yet, in his fourth season, Ryan is very talented, poised, and a leader on this Atlanta team. With an overall 35-19 record as a starter that is pretty good and he is only getting better. In the game Sunday, Ryan threw for 291 yards, one TD, and no INTS. Not bad, and in the backfield Michael Turner touched the ball 28 times this game. That is more than he has all year. Also, Roddy White had 78 yards, my favorite target Tony Gonzalez caught a TD, and the so impressive rookie WR Julio Jones caught 100 yards for the second week in a row. Let's not forget the rookie, standing at 5 "6" Jacquizz Rodgers aka "Lil Man" (well what I call him) ran for 49 yards. That is how Atlanta Falcons football is supposed to be. The ball was evenly spread around the offense to mix it up. Exactly how we did against Seattle. The past 3 games, before Sunday, the play calling was terrible. No way, we should be throwing the ball every down. Not to mention Ryan actually had TIME to throw the ball this game. The offensive line actually blocked and allowed Matty Ice, to not get killed. We played a great game offensively. I would like to see Harry Douglas in the rotation more, especially against the Packers, he catches most balls thrown at him. He is a great 3rd receiver.
Now for the negatives and the reason the game was entirely too close. Our defense. I wont say much about it, because before this game, our defense hasn't played too bad. Sunday, our defense fell apart in the second half. Gave up WAY too many big plays. One of the issues for me, ATL plays way to much soft zone coverage. We play too far off the receivers/ball for my liking. I need to see more man to man defense to actually make some plays. I will give credit that we forced two turnovers during that game. Random Fact: Falcons have forced a turnover in 23 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. However, that does not change the fact that we did not sack Tavaris Jackson at all during the game, who is one of the most sacked QB's this year after Jay Cutler. We kept rushing three guys, did not blitz enough, and too many missed tackles. And the secondary? Burnt and wide open. Where is Brent Grimes when you need him. I need him to step up. This cannot work against the Packers this Sunday night. The defense is going too have to step up big time if we have a chance at winning this game on national TV. We all know what happened last time these two teams met on national TV, although I try not to relive that day.
Overall a 2-2 start is not bad. We play the Packers at home this week. Ryan is 20-2 at home as a starter. The Dome will be on fire this weekend. Another plus, is that we have already played three road games, so 7 out of the next 12 games are at home. Not bad. A while back I tweeted I would like to see us at least 3-2 by game 5 after the Packers game. So far, I'm on my way to being accurate. We will see how Sunday night plays out, but our team has to learn how to play to win. I feel like we play to try not to lose. Let that sink in.......its a big difference. If you haven't noticed throughout this piece, I have written in first person a few times. Don't worry, all my post will not be about the Falcons. However, as corny as it sounds, I feel apart of the team and I always will. It's like that.