Through the first two weeks of the season, the Falcons starters showed us what we wanted to see.
But it wasn't until this third game, the most important of the preseason, that Atlanta's second- and third-stringers really showed us something we hadn't seen (consistency). Several facets of the game, on both sides of the ball, looked improved from last week's matchup in Cincy as well.
All in all, this was a nice game in Falconsland. As for specifics...
Matt Ryan looked great for the third straight week. The offensive line didn't provide great protection (he was sacked twice), but Ryan still made good throws and showed continued rapport with main man Julio Jones (four catches for 90 yards).
The running game, and Michael Turner, showed some improvement. 35 yards on seven carries is much better than last week's sluggish performance, and it should perhaps keep some of the national fantasy media from eagerly jumping off the Turner train.
The only sore spot was the offensive line. Tyson Clabo got beaten twice by Cameron Wake, and Garrett Reynolds had his share of struggles at right guard. Rookie Peter Konz finally got some work with the first team and didn't distinguish himself, which is the goal if you play O-line. He should overtake Reynolds any day now.
As for the backups, Dominique Davis threw a beautiful 39-yard TD pass to Tim Toone in the fourth quarter, along with a nice 14-yard touch pass to Lee Meisner. His only incompletion was a drop by tight end Chase Coffman.
Antone Smith showed continued versatility as a pass-catcher, snagging two for 22 yards. Combine that with his special teams value, and Smith should once again make the roster.
While the Dolphins aren't a high-caliber offense by any means, the defense did limit them to six points.
Miami's first-rounder Ryan Tannehill was feeling the D-line pressure all night, including one play that featured a John Abraham sack-and-strip. Lawrence Sidbury would add a sack-strip of his own later on in the game.
Thomas DeCoud also had himself a nice game after leading the team in tackles, deflecting a pass and intercepting Tannehill after his pass was tipped by Sean Weatherspoon.
The only blemish was came against the run, where Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas had pretty decent success against the front seven. But both Weatherspoon and Akeem Dent would combine for six tackles on the night, for what it's worth.
Matt Bryant was a perfect three-for-three on field goal attempts, Matt Bosher averaged 42.0 yards on four punts, and Jacquizz Rodgers reeled off a 40-yard kickoff return.
The only negative was Dominique Franks, who only managed four yards on two punt returns. Backup wideout Tim Toone actually did a little better, managing 10 yards on two returns. Combined with his nice TD catch, Toone all of a sudden might actually have a shot at cracking the roster.