Short takes: Julio’s stunning start, Freeman’s big game

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) sails into the end zone for a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys defensive back Tyler Patmon (26) watches in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) sails into the end zone for a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys defensive back Tyler Patmon (26) watches in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Arlington, Texas

These short takes are presented as a companion to the Falcons-Cowboys game column, which can be found here. The Falcons won 39-28. They’re 3-0.

1. The weekly Julio Jones observation takes a statistical turn. With 34, Jones has — per Elias — set an NFL mark for receptions in a season’s first three games. But that’s kind of an arcane achievement. (Who holds the record for yards rushing in a season’s first three games? Who has the most yards passing in Weeks 11-14?) What’s jaw-dropping is this: At his current rate of 11.3 catches per game, he would break Marvin Harrison’s record for catches in a season by 38. At his rate of 146.7 yards per game, Jones would break Calvin Johnson’s record for yards receiving in a season by 383. And this latest big game — 12 catches, 164 yards — came on a day when, as Matt Ryan said, the opponent did “some things to scheme toward Julio.” Imagine if the Cowboys hadn’t. How many yards would he have had then? Three hundred?

2. Ryan told his teammates at halftime that they were going to win. Ordinarily I don’t make much of this sort of thing — Ryan conceded that he has never once said, “Guys, we’re going to lose” — but the Falcons were clearly not rattled at being down 28-17 on the road against a good opponent. (Albeit one missing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.) These Falcons have now trailed in the fourth quarter of all three games, and they haven’t lost yet. Were Dan Quinn scripting the kind of start he’d want for his first team, I can’t imagine it would be much different from the one his first team is writing.

3. For the first time in his professional life, Devonta Freeman made a difference. It wasn’t just that he had a career-best 141 yards rushing, though that was no small deal. Even more impressive was the way he knocked people backward while running inside, which change-of-pace backs aren’t supposed to do. And let’s not forget that cobbled-together offensive line, which blocked like thunder against the NFL defense ranked No. 1 against the rush. This was big-boy football, and the Falcons proved bigger than the ‘Boys.

Reader Comments 0

100 comments
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR

Once more with feeling . . . . pump the brakes on Julio.  The Falcons have played NO ONE thus far in the 2015 season.  They have not seen ONE team that will make the playoffs and Julio hasn't seen ONE good defensive team.  Another cream puff is on the schedule Sunday (Redskins) and they are laughable.  The scheduling gods have blessed the Falcons with rollover opponents.  Wake me up when they see a team that is legitimately a .500 team or better.

SeanLB
SeanLB

Remember that time when everyone cried that we "mortgaged the future" for Julio Jones?


Good times.  

AFalcons71
AFalcons71

Julio is beyond a beast....and there were thoughts of trading him for more players?  Just hope he can hold up all year

Swilson0000
Swilson0000

The Falcons stink and play in a terrible division. You beat a team without 8 starters. You lose yesterday if Dallas is at full strength. Don't start thinking Super Bowl.

reckingball
reckingball

@Swilson0000

"if".....haha

The stronger team is suppose to defeat the weaker team, genius. That is how it works.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

@Swilson0000 What do you think the Media would say if they lost to the Cowboys with eight starters missing? It's still professional football, you line up and play to win. Nobody felt sorry for the Falcons when they didn't have their starters last year and the year before.  You must be a Cowboy fan, You're crying with a loaf of bread under your arm.

WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR

Pump the brakes on the Calvin Johnson comparison.  First of all, Julio won't last a full season, never has, so the 20-25 targets he gets a game will not allow him to break that record.  Secondly, Julio has yet to see the exotic defensive schemes Calvin sees every week.  When Julio starts enjoying 2-3 DBs and safeties following him around, the massive numbers he's putting up will dissolve.  He gets more targets than any WR in the league now but he can't keep taking that much workload and not implode.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

The blocking by the 0-line was good, especially in the 2nd half. Freeman had actual holes to run through.

Swilson0000
Swilson0000

Because you played against reserves on the D Line.

Intruder
Intruder

Worrilow makes Pro Football Focus Worst Team.


It was only a matter of time before Worrilow made his way onto this list, based on last year’s play. His coverage was not strong, allowing all 10 targets to him to be caught, for 115 yards. What’s worse is the 86 YAC he allowed on those plays. He also could not get off blocks in the run game, finishing with just one stop. 

dtanner311
dtanner311

dallas also broke our hearts in '78 with staubach out with a concussion

DanJohn
DanJohn

I'll be honest I thought the Falcons were toast going into halftime. I'm glad I was wrong. Whatever adjustments made to the defense were incredible. DQ has these guys drinking the Kool-Aid which isn't a bad thing. What I want to see is a complete game...consistency from both sides of the ball. Houston this week should be a win even though they're stout on defense.


As for Roddy? He had the surgery and missed practice time. Not to mention he's getting older. He is no longer a reliable #2 What he does still have is respect in the locker-room. That shouldn't be ignored! Hankerson is okay but my guess is that you'll see some of the young guys getting larger roles in the receiving game especially with Tamme out. What I loved about the game was seeing the Falcons run the ball. That was freaking awesome. Jeez...I guess I'm drinking the Kool-Aid too!

Swilson0000
Swilson0000

You should be drinking Kool Aid. You beat Branden Weeden dude. At full strength you don't beat Dallas.

Dman
Dman

We weren't full strength when we beat you. If we were, we would have put up 60 on you cowgirls...

Game Warden
Game Warden

I think Roddy will get more looks as Hankerson continues to drop balls at crucial times...

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

Roddy's presence on the field commads respect from the defense. Ryan will pick em apart depending on with whom and how they cover. It's a beautiful thing.

all_i_am_saying_is
all_i_am_saying_is

Guess this team playing well has more to do with hearing a different voice other than Smitty's, huh, Bradley?  At least that was your (dumb) theory last week.  Can anyone imagine the coaching staff under Smitty making adjustments at halftime the way these guys obviously did given the disappearance of the Dallas rushing attack?

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

Don't discount the balance in the offence that's keeping defenses honest (thank you Mr. Shanahan).  More rest for defense now with better linebackers and better tackling safeties (thank you Mr. Quinn).   Upgrades at OL, DL, LB, S, TE, and RB (no thanks to Mr. Dimitroff).

Swilson0000
Swilson0000

Don't discount that you beat a team without 8 starters. Calm down

Ver1tas
Ver1tas

Roddy is proving to be a classy guy. Havent heard one complaint from him in spite of the fat that Shanahan has not called his number. He is handling the situation with class- a real team player and he deserves recognition for that.

Ver1tas
Ver1tas

Where is Roddy White????

moh236
moh236

First, congrats on a great 2nd half and a WIN! My question is, where's Roddy? Is he injured or has his role been reduced to just being a decoy?

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

@moh236 He's just not getting open, his time will come though.  Roddy learned the proper way after his first couple of seasons.  Hard work and determination is what makes the difference, not running your mouth and being concerned with only yourself (see RGIII et al.)   

TPC
TPC

Great win! Does Roddy White play for us anymore? I might be mistaken, but he hasn't caught a ball in the last two games has he? What's up with that?


Dman
Dman

Dallas broke my heart in 1981 when we had the best team in football and leman Bennett decided to run the ball in the second half with a big lead. STUPID... Anytime the Falcons beat Dallas is a fantastic great victory. Great job Falcons. RISE UP

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

@Dman 

I was at that game on a very cold day in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Dman

That '81 debacle was the most devastating loss in a history full of huge losses for this franchise. Set the team back for years.

DazzyG1
DazzyG1

@reckingball 


Also, is it me or is @JSSN suspiciously absent these days? Yep -- good. :) Winning certainly cleans out the blog haters!

reckingball
reckingball

What ever happened to all of those Aints fans that used to hang around, like NOLA and SeenThisB4?

Swilson0000
Swilson0000

The Falcons stink and beat a team without 8 starters. You lose yesterday if Dallas is at full strength.