Matt Ryan and other offensive starters played three drives, two of substance that led to two field goal attempts. Kicker Matt Bryant connected on one, prompting Falcoholics to wonder if the team’s kicking competition was settled just a bit too early. Atlanta's pass protection looked much improved from last week, only giving up three quarterback hits.
Former Bama star John Parker Wilson played the rest of the game, except for a Chris Redman cameo at the end. Wilson is thought to be the team’s third-string quarterback, and the Mike Smith regime has been known to click Randomize when configuring preseason QB depth charts. D.J. Shockley started a game once, for instance. Wilson played more like a third-stringer, averaging 3.9 yards per attempt against the Patriots’ B- and C-teams.
Highly hyped (by Falcons blogs, at least) Kroy Biermann accumulated his second strip-sack of the preseason. The Falcons’ pass defense played reasonably well, considering they were missing three of their best cornerbacks, among other noteworthy non-participants. Let’s face it: our backup corners are not as good as Tom Brady and Randy Moss, the principals of the highest-scoring offense in NFL history. I think we’re ok with that.
The run defense, however, clearly has a way to go after giving up big runs to young Chiefs runners last week and letting veteran Pats backs Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor run wild tonight. The pair combined for 106 yards and a 6.2 yards per carry average. The Pats were able to convert several long third downs by running simple draws. That’s not supposed to happen.
The only noteworthy injury of the second half: rookie receiver Kerry Meier grabbed his knee after tumbling on kick coverage, but walked off the field unlimpingly.
Birds fans are unhappy, but still. This is preseason. For evidence of how much these games matter, take a look at Colts backup quarterback Curtis Painter’s perfect passer rating from his efforts against the Bills tonight. (Yes, your correspondent took last week’s win as seriously as this loss.)
Atlanta’s three-day baseball-esque series with the Patriots is over. The Falcons look ahead to a week of practice and an August 27 matchup against the Dolphins in Miami.