Monday, September 14, 2009

Falcon defense answers the bell in week one

In the off-season the Falcons made the decision to get quicker and younger when Lawyer Milloy and Keith Brooking did not have the wheels to make critical stops in the playoffs. Grady Jackson, Michael Boley and Dominique Foxworth were also let go (Foxworth got an offer that the Falcons did not want to match). The defense re-placed Lawyer Milloy by moving veteran Erik Coleman over to his spot in the secondary. Second year man Thomas DeCoud then replaced Erik Coleman. Michael Boley was replaced mid-way through the year last season and this season Stephan Nicholas got the opportunity to start. Peria Jerry was the first round draft pick for the Falcons this year and was tabbed to replace Grady Jackson. Long-time Falcon Keith Brooking was replaced by Mike Peterson and Brian Williams was signed last week and he got the start at CB to open up the season for the Falcons. With all of these changes it was obvious that the Falcons got younger and faster at many positions but the defense played very poorly in the pre-season and left lots of questions unanswered.

Round One was yesterday against the Miami Dolphins and the defense answered the bell and came out swinging for more. Mike Peterson was the MVP of the defense. He caused a key fumble and made a big interception in addition to getting 7 tackles. Curtis Lofton was the anchor of the defense with 10 tackles and a also forced fumble. John Abraham and Koy Bierman were in Chad Pennington’s face all day and each came through with 2 sacks a piece. The front 7 really won this game for the Falcons. If Abraham and Bierman were not chasing down Pennington then it was Babineaux and Jerry clogging up the middle so the Dolphins could not run the football. When Pennington was free he throwing short passes and the athletic and speedy linebackers were chasing the Dolphins down quickly and hitting them hard so that they remembered the next time they thought about catching the football. The Falcons defense was opportunistic today causing 4 turnovers while our offense gave back 0. The play of the front 7 covered up any deficiencies of the secondary as Pennington didn’t have time to try and take advantage of the weakest part of our defense. The leading tackler in the secondary had only 3 tackles. That is a sign that the front seven did their job.

The Falcons started off the season with a big 19 to 7 win against the Fins. The two major concerns coming out of today’s game was the lack of a running game, which was our major strength last year, and the inefficiency of kicker Jason Elam (missing an extra point, and two very makeable Field Goals). Matt Ryan did a great job spreading the ball around. He was 22/36 for 229 yards and 2 TDs and had 4 players get at least 4 receptions. Tony Gonzalez caught 5 passes and a Touchdown and was impressive in his debut but it was the defense that won this game. Next week, we have a match-up against a Carolina team that really struggled in its opener and will be looking to bounce back from their week one embarrassment at the hands of the Iggles.


Greg said...

With two great backs, what do you think the problem with the running game is? The line, I guess? Where precisely?

Kevin said...

It's only week one so I'm not really worried about the running game. I think the Dolphins came in wanting to take away the running game and they did that but the Falcons were able to get their running backs involved in the passing game. Norwood had 5 catches for 49 yards and Ovie Mughalli has 2 catches for 22 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins have Jason Ferguson, Channing Crowder, Joey Porter and Jason Taylor so they have a pretty good front 7 and DE Phillip Merling had a better game than any of those guys.