The Falcons play and win and don’t look awful

Matt Ryan completed six passes and called it a night. (David Goldman/AP)

Matt Ryan completed six passes and called it a night. (David Goldman/AP)

Matt Ryan completed six passes and called it a night. (David Goldman/AP)

So: Did the Atlanta Falcons look bigger? Tougher? Meaner? Are they ready to “rectify with a vengeance,” as general manager Thomas Dimitroff hopes? Is one exhibition victory over the Miami Dolphins cause to fire up the Super Bowl Express?

Nah.

They looked OK. Not great, not awful. Just OK. They didn’t take a lead until the second half, and by then both starting quarterbacks were long gone, neither having played beyond the first quarter, neither having thrown an incompletion. The Dolphins took the opening kickoff and drove to a touchdown. The Falcons answered. That was it for both No. 1’s, and that was it for touchdowns.

“We want to be a physical football team, and I think we showed that tonight,” coach Mike Smith said, perhaps overstating after his team’s 16-10 victory, but what’s a coach going to say after a first exhibition? That world domination is at hand?

To return to the first question: The Falcons did look slightly bigger. Paul Soliai is a massive man in the defensive middle, and they ran effectively behind the rookie right tackle Jake Matthews on their first drive. (Alas, Matthews was also flagged twice for holding, the second time negating a 76-yard Antone Smith touchdown burst that wouldn’t have been possible without the rookie’s grab-powered hole.)

Ryan looked good, which was no surprise because he’s a good player. Jacquizz Rodgers ran hard to not much effect. (Steven Jackson didn’t play. Neither did Julio Jones.) Smith ran better. The rookie Devonta Freeman caught a Sean Renfree pass for 57 yards and rushed for 50 more. Prince Shembo, another rookie, had a sack.

All the officials showed impressive arm strength to bear up under the burden of casting so many penalty flags. There were 19 accepted penalties — nine against the Falcons, 10 against Miami — and two more that offset and another that was declined.

Smith: “We’ve got a lot of things to work on as we go through this journey of preseason.”

Which reminded us, as if we needed reminding: This was the first of four games that do not count. It’s meant only to prepare for the games that do.

From myajc.com: The Falcons take a baby step on the road to redemption.

Reader Comments 0

31 comments
zuzu331
zuzu331

Of course it 'mattered'. It allowed the FO to assess and built positive momentum. They blocked better,Shembo looked great and Antone Smith needs to actually play in games to help the team. Finding all this out didnt matter? Meh.

DawgNole
DawgNole

I'd rather win a game that doesn't count than lose a game that doesn't count. The sooner the Falcons adopt that philosophy, the better off they'll be. They took a good first step last night. Sure beats last year's winless preseason, when all you heard were rationalizations and excuses. 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

A win is a win, keep it rolling. Go Birds!!!

JChikara
JChikara

I don't know what many of you were expecting, the Falcons to just cut block and step over people on their way to the QB? Doesn't work that way in the NFL. The OL did what they were supposed to do, and Ryan was able to get rid of the ball and complete a lot of 3rd down passes. 

4DaBirds
4DaBirds

The team does not look any tougher from the looks of this game. The starting D looked soft at times and not smart at anytime. The Falcon D was better against the run, but the LB's look terrible in coverage, and got basically no pressure against a very mediocre Miami OL. The starting D looked better on the 2nd drive, but the starting QB was not in there. It's one game though, and we didn't get to see Hageman in action. I'm starting to think that Mike Nolan's past success was completely dependent on exceptionally talented players, and we don't have any of that on this Falcon's D. The Falcons D is full of middle of the road talent IMO.


The OL looked better in run protection, but when Ryan was taken to the ground, 2 defenders came in almost untouched. Ryan still doesn't have anything that resembles a clean pocket to work with.


Special teams kick coverage is not good, and the return unit was not much better. 


It's one game and a lot can change between now and the start of the season, and it's going to have too, else wise this team will be lucky to to 8-8 or 9-7.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Bradley!? Where's my 'atta boy' for 1st post.


Does that only go to the hind end smoochers?

Marmoset
Marmoset

ATL is back!  with this huge win---atl put teams on notice this year---AtL will win the division--take it to the bank!  new orleans---overrated.  carolina---flash in the pan.  tampa--terrible.  ATL 10-6, division title!!

Intruder
Intruder

It is all about Mike Smith and his 2-8 record vs Sean Payton, his 10-25 record vs playoff teams, and his 1-3 record in the playoffs.  This is what Blank was referring to when he said the Falcons were not tough enough. Smith's emphasis on being more physical indicates that he has heard Blank loud and clear. We will see.

Dman
Dman

Our backups looked a lot better than they did last preseason. That was a nice change. We may have a little depth this year...

DedicationTo98Falcons
DedicationTo98Falcons

Honestly I can't speak for the season but it's all about the schemes and personnel In the preseason

To think about it we didn't play Julio that's a plus

We didn't give up noooo more points and no one realize that tannihill was still in the game until around the mid of the second qtr and we shut him down

The run was nice to help move the chains we didn't look predictable the usual pass pass then run lol

All of our rookies looked good to me it was their 1st game yea the mistakes are there with the penalties except with Harry Douglas lining up incorrectly and he"s not a rookie and he asked the ref was he ok and ref lied smh and gave him a flag anyway

gfw
gfw

Antone Smith.  TreeRollins is right on it:  PLAY HIM!  AT aside, our running game is frankly not looking so good right now.

Bernard Reedy.  Find a place for him.  What a burst!

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I think there were way too many penalties in that game. Now I think Jake Matthews knows what it feels like to play in the NFL. I thought Antone Smith should of got some touches way back in the 49ners championship game when Turner got injured. I like Renfro he looked poised out there. I think there's more talent on this team than last year. Shembo, Freeman and Roddy white looked impressive. Now can the coaching staff coach these guys up?

waltbellamy
waltbellamy

Ditto what young Wayne Monte Rollins said about Antone Smith.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

On a brighter note,, isn't this the first preseason game Mike Smith has won in about 5 seasons??

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

I am so sick of Antone Smith tearing it up in preseason and then the Falcons won't play him when the games count! Isn't anybody else sick of seeing this guy sit on the bench to yield to pathetically weaker running backs (that are paid more)??

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

this journey of preseason

It is always a process, now called a journey.........................when will Black call the it a duck, the walks like one and whacks like one??

seminoleking
seminoleking

i really hate to say it, but the falcons didnt look physical at ALL during this game. both lines still suck. the offensive line didnt open any holes for the running backs, and the defensive line didnt pressure the quarterback. another reminder from last year. why is it the other team can throw underneath the falcon safeties at will??? i saw NOTHING out there today that was different than last year.......and finally, i kept saying they shouldve drafted that kid out of michigan instead of jake matthews, but no one would listen......

Wilbo
Wilbo

Good for them. Don't think it means much, but better than looking bad.

warfalcon
warfalcon

@4DaBirds who are you,you did not watch the same game @4DaKooKooBirds.


LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Intruder

Uh, you're giving Smith too much credit on those playoff games. He's actually 1-4!

GeorgiaBugman
GeorgiaBugman

@TreeRollins I have been screaming this for two seasons to no avail. Guy had a 8ypc average last year and we continue to use slo footed Quizz instead. SMH...

scientist2
scientist2

@WhopperDawg Put down the alcohol and calm down, then write a comment (try doing it in English) -who is 'Black'?

zuzu331
zuzu331

@seminoleking No. Another pointless Troll. They looked alot better in alot of ways and Won. That was a big difference.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@seminoleking: "i saw NOTHING out there today that was different than last year."

____________________


I saw a WIN. That was a helluva lot different than last year!

DedicationTo98Falcons
DedicationTo98Falcons

You didn't watch the game well at all my guy ,quizz ran to baker side of all places ran out of the I formation and fell through the creases for a gain of 6

Stay tuned it's the 1st

GeorgiaBugman
GeorgiaBugman

@TreeRollins Just went and checked, my bad for not doing so first: he has a career 24ypc ave in his ATL career. If he can't block, OK. Figure out a way to use his speed that doesn't require him to block!