I’ll be back shortly with my column on the Falcons’ ugly 24-10 loss to Cincinnati Until then, here are my three short takes on the game.
UPDATE: HERE’S A LINK TO THE FULL GAME COLUMN.
1. Problems up front: The Falcons’ offensive line was pretty good against New Orleans in Week 1. Not Sunday. Losing starting tackle Jake Matthews (ankle), after already having lost starter Sam Baker in the preseason, was too much. Matt Ryan was sacked only two times but he was forced out of the pocket on several occasions and rushed on throws. Ryan was only 24-for-44 and threw three interceptions. The Falcons also couldn’t mount a rushing attack. Consequently, the offense that went for 37 points and 568 yards against the Saints to 10 points and 309 yards against Cincinnati (98 in the first half) If Matthews’ ankle injury is significant enough to lose more games, the offense is going to have issues.
2. No A.J. Green, no problem: So you think this game was a rout? Imagine how bad it would have been if Cincinnati didn’t lose five starters during the game, including wide receiver A.J. Green on the opening series. Even without Green, the team’s best player, quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 252 yards (145 in the first half on only nine completions) and receiver Mohamed Sanu completed a 50-yarder to Brandon Tate on a flea-flicker. Cincinnati had over 400 yards in offense with six minutes left in the third quarter. If not for shutting it down, they might’ve gone over 600.
3. Pass rush, where are thou? The defense couldn’t pressure New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees last week but it didn’t matter because the Falcons could score. This week, it mattered. The defense rarely pressured Dalton. Actually, I can’t remember the last time he was even touched by an Atlanta pass rusher. Dalton was not sacked, which means the Falcons’ have no sacks in two games. This is a problem that’s not likely to go away. The Falcons have no pure pass rushers. And on that subject: Has anybody seen Osi Umenyiora?
•Digital Jukebox (but it only plays Schultz songs)
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