The offense did their part, but there was far more to it as the Atlanta Falcons dominated the San Diego Chargers to move to 3-0 on the season. Atlanta's offense is a known quantity– they're multi-faceted, varied, and incredibly difficult to stop, which the Chargers learned the hard way. What fans have been waiting to see, however, is the vaunted defense that Mike Nolan was going to be bringing to the table this year.
Against San Diego the Falcons employed varied fronts, multiple looks, and incredible secondary play to diffuse the Chargers' offense, and render Philip Rivers a shadow of himself. Ultimately he managed to go just 21-for-38, for 173 yards with two interceptions, and no touchdowns. Rivers was under pressure for the entire game.
It was a game where the sack numbers don't tell the whole story. While the Falcons only took down Rivers down once, they were constantly camped in the Chargers' backfield. John Abraham was stunning, as he showed a much needed veteran edge, using a rip move honed over a decade to dominate offensive tackles, and make their day impossible.
The most success the Chargers had was on the ground, as Ryan Matthews returning from injury finished with 10 carries for 44 yards, and Jackie Battle ran the ball 3 times for 55 yards. The run defense is mostly a moot point, because the key to victory was stopping Rivers, which the Falcons did perfectly. Next week the Falcons face the Carolina Panthers, still reeling from their ugly loss to the New York Giants on Thursday night football. If Atlanta can display the same defense they showed this week against San Diego, they'll be in good stead for week four.
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