Atlanta Falcons fans were ecstatic about their team’s 2013 season kickoff against their division rivals, the New Orleans Saints. When Steven Jackson signed with the team this offseason, many believed that their offensive struggles were through. Matty Ice threw for 4,719 yards last season with the help of Pro-Bowlers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, and don’t forget about Harry Douglas. The only believed setback was Michael Turner, who was axed this offseason. Fans were ready to see their dream team take a win over the Saints in the Superdome.
In the first quarter, the Falcons effectively stopped the Saints in their first drive. When it was the Falcons second attempt at a successful drive, they succeeded with a touchdown from Ryan to the veteran Gonzalez, despite Douglas’ fumble (ball went out of bounds). The defense stopped New Orleans on a fourth-and-one play and handed the ball back to their offense at the Saints 46 yard line. Dirk Koetter’s offense scored only three points, surprisingly. And when Brees received his chance again, his offense only scored three points too.
In the second quarter, the Falcons came out gunning it with Ryan’s pass to Julio. But the pass was fumbled once again by a wide receiver but this time it would be recovered by Roman Harper. In result the Falcons had thirteen unanswered points at halftime.
After the break, the third quarter started with the Falcons touchdown pass to Julio Jones. But the next drive, Brees responded to the touchdown by throwing a short pass himself.
Unfortunately, the Falcons no longer scored in this game due to the new offensive line and a defensive line that struggled to find balance and get pressure on the quarterback.
The good thing to take away from this game is that the young secondary, who was without Asante Samuel, could shut down the experienced receivers and come up with an interception.
Let’s face it, Atlanta spent way too much money on offense this offseason to score only seventeen points. The offensive line has finally started to create holes for Steven Jackson but they completely forgot about the 100 million dollar man, Matt Ryan. Matt was sacked three times and had to take an intentional grounding penalty after the first quarter. We all know he loves to stay in the pocket but when the quarterback is hit that many times in a game, your money maker becomes injured due to back blocking and suffers from concussions and has to wear an eye-patch like Vick. (Poor guy.)
The Falcons’ defensive line has to get more pressure on the quarterback. It has to consistently put pressure on the opponent throughout the game. I’m not asking for four or more sacks every game but don’t let the guy have five Mississippi or more to throw the ball.
On a positive note, Atlanta’s line is young and they go up against the Rams this upcoming Sunday. It should be a long and drawn out practice so the youngsters can get used to the fatigue that comes with playing this game. Most teams are a little flat the first regular season game and nothing is better than experience.
Hopefully the injuries won’t prohibit the team from growing as a whole.
But this is only an evaluation based on what we’ve seen in week one and the Falcons are still ranked in the top 10 in power rankings. I’m sure we all still expect big things from this team and are anxious about what they will do during this year’s postseason appearance.