After winning their first preseason game 23-17 over the Washington Redskins. The Atlanta Falcons headed up north for their second game against the Cleveland Browns. Alot of fans were looking for tweaks and improvements in all facets of the game. So let’s get a recap of all the action.
Offense: The first team offense moved the ball alot better then they did last week. Matt Ryan looked more crisp on his passes and seemed more comfortable in the pocket then he was last week, so the panic button is not being pressed so hard now. Devonta Freeman ran the ball well and scored the first touchdown of the game. Julio Jones had one catch on one target and Mohamed Sanu had a decent game with 3 receptions for 45 yards. Matt Schaub continued his consistent play, going 8 for 12 for 78 yards while he continues to solidify his spot as the backup quarterback. Brandon Wilds continues to shine, carrying the ball 8 times for 49 yards including a 32 yard touchdown run. With Terron Ward battling injury, it will be an interesting battle for that third and final roster spot for running back if Wilds continues his solid play. Other key contributors for the Falcons offense was Quarterback Matt Simms (10-13 for 136 yards and a touchdown), Running Back Cyrus Gray (18 carries for 76 yards), and Wide Receiver Devin Lewis Fuller (4 receptions for 49 yards).
Defense: After putting on a solid performance last week, the Falcons defense was ugly in the first few minutes. Sloppy tackling and lack discipline contributed to alot of penalties, and All-Pro Cornerback Desmond Truant was burned badly on a long pass against Terrelle Pryor. Even though the defense had 2 sacks, the lack of pass rush was evident, as Browns QB Robert Griffin III had time to look down field and make throws with either his arm or feet. Rookie Safety Keanu Neal made his debut and was up and down. Some plays he made were good and other times he didn’t look so great. Deion Jones while he made some plays, whiffed on a few tackles and rookie De’Vondre Campbell once again stood out, whether it was in coverage or making tackles. This defense has the speed and athleticism to be pretty good, but it will be some growing pains, so Falcon fans will have to be patient and stick it out.
Special Teams: If Nick Rose is trying to get on as the backup to Matt Bryant, he is off to a shaky start, missing another kick from makeable distance. The big news is punter Matt Bosher suffering a chest injury in the contest. No one knows how bad it is so hopefully it’s nothing serious.
Summary: Despite the miscues, the Falcons still won handily by a score of 24-13. They outgained the Browns 498-243 in total yards and had more first downs (31-12). The preseason is all about tweaks and the Falcons will continue to do so these next two games. If it’s anything that we saw last night, it’s a positive sign for Falcon Fans.