Early in the dreaded third quarter it was more of the same for the Falcons. After a drive that would've stalled at Atlanta's 40 was kept alive by a Tennessee penalty, Matt Ryan would throw an absolutely beautiful strike to Roddy White into double coverage for a 43-yard gain. Three plays later, the big man Michael Turner would punch it in for the touchdown to put the Dirty Birds up 20-3.
After converting on a fourth-and-one on their next offensive possession, the Falcons would drive all the way to the Tennessee five and ultimately settle for a field goal, extending the lead to 23-3. Atlanta continued to shut down the Titans passing game- in part thanks to two tipped passes by Jonathan Babineaux- and when Hasselbeck would leave the game with an injury, all hope for the Titans seemed lost.
And then inexplicably, rookie first-round pick Jake Locker would come into the game and do what Tennessee had not been able to all day with Hasselbeck at the helm: score a touchdown. On a three play scoring drive, Locker would complete two of three for 48 yards and a touchdown. The 40-yard TD strike to Nate Washington should have been limited, but somehow both Thomas DeCoud and Chris Owens took bad angles trying to tackle Washington.
However, following another offensive possession by Atlanta, which produced almost nothing yardage-wise, the Falcons were able to continue shutting down Chris Johnson and keep Locker in check. This time around, he would only complete two passes for 12 yards. The coverage was much improved, and any chance at a comeback crisis will be averted with another score here.
In any case, the Falcons should walk away with a win today (I fervently hope so).