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No Falcons Injured! Oh, Also, Falcons Top Chiefs 20-10

The best news of the evening: nobody got hurt. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who scored a sack early in the game (which failed to trigger a police car siren on the Dome's PA), was slow to get up after one play, but that's about it. Eleven Falcons, including four or five likely starters (Dunta Robinson, Michael Jenkins, Mike Peterson, Corey Peters, and Harry Douglas), skipped the game altogether.

The Falcons and Chiefs attempted to out-ugly each other tonight. Both teams struggled with pass protection, and all six quarterbacks had to do a little evading and bailing. Both teams missed two field goals. Neither team passed for more than five yards per attempt. In short, it was definitive preseason football.

The Chiefs piled up more first downs and yards than the Falcons, as halfbacks Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster broke off several long runs. But the difference was the Falcons' defense forcing three turnovers, led by Kroy Biermann's strip-sack of Matt Cassel and interceptions by Shann Schillinger and Chevis Jackson. The Falcons' offense simply had better starting field position to work with than the Chiefs'.

Tony Gonzalez celebrated the reunion with his former teammates by grabbing two receptions, both third-and-long conversions from Matt Ryan. Vintage 2009 Ryan's habit of locking on to Gonzalez, for better or worse, appears intact.

Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon found his way to four tackles, playing all three downs for at least the entire first half. He read one misdirection outside run very well, shifting before the snap into the eventual running lane, but got negated by a tight end. 

First-year wide receiver Kerry Meier played much less than expected, catching two passes and whiffing on one target as he fell to the ground.

Also, we finally realized Roddy White's voice sounds a lot like Mos Def's.

The Falcoholic delivers a fistful of dollars the good, the bad, and the ugly from tonight's game:

The Good

  • Turner looks ready to go. He's fast, breaking tackles, and running all over the place. Oh, and he caught a screen!
  • There's a new nickname in town. The Rushin' Russian Dimitri Nance. Number 30 accounted for the only TDs the Falcons scored tonight. While he only had six yards in six rushes, he had two TDs and made a big impression on just about everyone. And then there was that 30 yard screen pass he took to the house that was called back on a hold.
  • Kerry Meier made a couple of clutch first down grabs, much like...
  • Tony Gonzalez, who looks even hungrier for yards than he did last year.
  • The Defense. As a whole. There's a fire there. A hunger. Determination. They swarm to the ball. They apply mountainous pressure. They get good penetration.
  • Dominique Franks hits HARD.
  • Shann Schillinger picked a pass out of the air and ran with it. Another Grizzly makes good.
  • Kroy Biermann forced a fumble. Surprised? Thought not.
  • Chevis Jackson looks hungry for a spot on the secondary. He accounted for the other INT of the night, a beautiful jump-the-route snag-and-go. Smooth as silk.
  • Jamaal Anderson... did his job well. That took a lot out of me to say, fyi.
  • OL rooks Johnson and Hawley looked good and stout when protecting JPW.
  • Snelling. Smith. Nance. All great backs. All fighting for position behind Turner and Norwood. Gosh it feels good to say that.
The Bad:
  • The O-Line is having trouble protecting pass plays, especially the side Sam Baker squats on.
  • The D-Line had trouble containing quarterbacks after the inital rush was over.
  • Ryan looked, at times, anemic out there, showing some of the happy-feet he had mid-season last year. Granted, his OL kinda collapsed a lot, but still...
  • Do not throw screens to Roddy. Please.
  • Our outside edge running plays are lacking in a trait I like to call "ability to succeed." We need HD back on that field.
  • Matt Bryant missed a field goal within thirty five yards. Steve Hauschka missed a 53 yarder. Matt Bryant missed a chip shot. When will our kicking woes end?

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.