Welcome to another Overreaction Monday, which seems to happen every Monday during the football season. So I thought to myself: “Hey. Dummy. Blog idea.”
Overreaction narrative: The Falcons’ are 2-0! Their big problems are fixed!
Reality check: Opening the season with wins over Philadelphia and New York is impressive, especially Sunday’s game, which came on the road against a desperate Giants’ team. But there was a period of at least two quarters (second and third) when the Giants’ offensive and defensive lines dominated. Not won, dominated. The Falcons couldn’t protect Matt Ryan. They couldn’t get any pressure on Eli Manning. It was 2013 and 2014 on replay. The Falcons have shown a strong no-quit attitude, which enabled them to come back in the fourth quarter and win both games. That’s a trait they didn’t show in the last two seasons. Something like that doesn’t happen because of “better talent” — it’s all attitude. It’s better coaching. So credit to coach Dan Quinn and his staff. The Falcons play at Dallas this week before the schedule gets easier. But don’t be fooled. This team’s margin for error remains slim and line play needs to get stronger and more consistent or there will be problems down the road.
Overreaction narrative: This is the Greyson Lambert we can expect the rest of the season!
Reality check: It was an amazing performance by Lambert in Saturday’s 52-20 dismembering of South Carolina. I covered the San Francisco 49ers when Joe Montana had a consecutive completion streak of 22 passes and Lambert looked Montana-esque, going 24-for-25 with 20 straight completions before he was taken out of the game. Lambert actually could’ve had a perfect night: His only miss was a smart overthrow in the direction of a covered Jeb Blazevich in the first quarter (before a Dogs’ field goal). Richt pointed out Sunday that Malcolm Mitchell was open on a check-down crossing over the middle and “he probably would have walked in and scored.” Hah! Slacker. Truth: If that’s going to be Lambert’s only mistake in a game, Georgia will be fine. But the reality is he still will have much to prove against Alabama in two weeks and in road games against Tennessee, Florida and Auburn. Not all defenses will wilt and collapse like South Carolina’s did. (Kentucky scored 26 points, including three touchdowns, at South Carolina, then only nine points, all field goals, at home against Florida Saturday.) Was this really the quarterback who lost his starting job at Virginia? But if Lambert’s pocket awareness and accuracy against South Carolina was not a complete aberration, Georgia will have a special season.
Team: Georgia Tech
Overreaction narrative: See! Georgia Tech stinks and their offense is a relic!
Reality check: Let’s start with the option offense: It produced only one touchdown until the fourth quarter in a not-really-that-close 30-22 loss at Notre Dame. But the option is like ANY offense: It works if it’s blocked correctly and Notre Dame was blocked. The Irish simply punched the Jackets in the mouth, dominating physically. The most concerning thing was seeing Tech’s veteran players, particularly Justin Thomas, not doing a better job of handling a tough atmosphere in South Bend. But don’t the Jackets have at least one of these ugly losses every season … and then everybody stops paying attention to them … and then they reel off a few wins in a row and people think, “Where did they come from?” Tech should beat Duke and North Carolina in the next two weeks, but those are two teams they lost to a year ago – and you can bet every coach will be looking at the Notre Dame’s game tape to see how the Irish smothered the option. If the Jackets win the next two, their next big test is Oct. 10 at Clemson. But I wouldn’t bury the Jackets just yet. It’s a really good team that played a really bad game at the worst time — on a national stage.
•Recent ramblings Dawgnation: Georgia chases away Spurrier demons with dominating performance Dawgnation: Short takes: Lambert says, ‘I just had to go through a rough patch’ Dawgnation: Georgia can’t blow game, Tech can’t blow chance AJC: Weekend Predictions: Tech over Irish, Georgia over South Carolina (but not by 17) Dawgnation: Tech has something Georgia would like — comfort at quarterback position MyAJC: An impressive opening by Dan Quinn’s new Falcons AJC: Short takes: Gruden praises Falcons’ defense after win Dawgnation: Georgia looks like a shaky 2-0 with its passing game Dawgnation: Short takes: Another Georgia win but QB issues continue AJC: Weekend Predictions: I can’t block this Falcons’ upset from my brain AJC: Poll: I say 9 wins for Falcons, national media mixed, what say you? MyAJC: Falcons’ late roster scramble not a good sign AJC: Fredi Gonzalez needs to make more of his losing hand Dawgnation: Lambert good but didn’t do enough to cement starting job Dawgnation: Lambert, lightning and the joy of Keith Marshall MyAJC: Kennesaw State’s little startup off to a dazzling start AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets roll, Spurrier escapes, Petrino goes down AJC: Falcons won Julio Jones trade but would like to forget 2012 draft Dawgnation: Greyson Lambert’s big test won’t come in opener, it will be later AJC: Hello, football: Thoughts on UGA, Tech, Kennesaw, both GSUs Dawgnation: It’s Lambert over Ramsey for now, but assume nothing for future at Georgia AJC: Falcons were never going to let Julio Jones get away