Falcons’ 35 points, 528 yards should quiet criticism of Shanahan

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones celebrates with quarterback Matt Ryan after the two hooked up for a 21-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that gave the Falcons a 10-7 lead. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones celebrates with quarterback Matt Ryan after the two hooked up for a 21-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that gave the Falcons a 10-7 lead. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. — This would be a good time to pull a dart out of Kyle Shanahan’s picture.

The Falcons’ offense failed in the red zone too often in last week’s 31-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but that was primarily the byproduct of the Falcons’ inability to run the ball and the loss really should be blamed my on a collapsing defense (allowing the Buccaneers touchdowns on three straight possessions and four out of five in the second and third quarters).

In Game 2 against Oakland, it would’ve been easy to second-guess some of the play-calling early in the red zone when the Falcons twice had to settle for field goals after driving to the Raiders’ three- and two-yard lines in the first half. But the Falcons’ offense kept the Raiders off-balance all game, scored touchdowns on three straight drives into the red zone in the second half, would have come away with points on seven straight possessions if not for a Matt Ryan interception and totaled 528 yards in offense in a 35-28 win.

The Falcons punted twice in the first quarter. They didn’t punt again until there were 10 seconds left in the game.

“We were flowing,” said wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who was one of nine Falcons to make at least one catch and had a key third-down reception for 15 yards to extend a drive in the final minute. “Everybody came up big.”

You know who came up big? Shanahan.

He mixed in a fair amount of no-huddle offense, even while seemingly suggesting that it’s not going to be a staple of their offense.

“We felt we would speed it up a little bit at times,” Quinn said. “It was a hot day, and we knew we would have some [opportunities] for our runs based on the looks that we would have.”

As for the team’s use of the no-huddle, Quinn said: “Just to clear this up because this has been a big topic of conversation. We do use no huddle. It may not be in the shotgun format where you see it all the time, but often times when we’re under center, we (use) hand signals. We love using it often times within a drive. Some people would think of two-minute as a no huddle but we’re not into that mode.”

The Raiders’ defense, which albeit is not among the NFL’s best, never seemed to know what was coming Sunday.  It certainly has been an impressive start for Ryan this season. In two games, he is 53 for 73 (72.6 percent) for 730 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. The lone pick came in the third quarter when he threw behind a slightly open Jacob Tamme in the end zone when the Falcons trailed 14-13.

Ryan: “I have to throw a better ball. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to, giving him a chance to make a play on the ball. I didn’t do that.”

But it was one of his few misfires. The play call was solid. So credit to Shanahan.

For my complete column on the Falcons’ win, click here.

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27 comments
DHustle GetithowUcit
DHustle GetithowUcit

Pitful..kyle sucks... and he destroy qbs mcnabb, manizel, schuab, and numerous other... and why we signed Blake Sims so if this Janko offense don't work he can change to a mobile qb that can actually run this unintelligent offense.

ctfalconsfan
ctfalconsfan

??? Schultz, get in the game!!

Shan needs to go


1st drive, inside the 10, 1st and goal and not 1 throw to the end zone. Shan loves to run for some season inside the opponents 10.


Run run, run then FG that's what we did against TB and 1st half yesterday.


TideDawg
TideDawg

@ctfalconsfan The idiot loves to call run plays because somebody told him years ago that you have to run to win. He tries to run even if they can't run on a D. 

DarrylDouglass
DarrylDouglass

1 win does not define anything.  Also, they were successful in spite of Shanahan.  At some point the talent will shine over the process.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Our tackling still sucks bad!!!

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket Ditto that! The linebackers think they are playing flag football. They're more into grabbing and fondling ball carriers. The O line does a better job tackiling defensive linemen.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@TOJacket Obviously I have a D lineman's computer. It misspelled tackling.

OH:IO
OH:IO

9 years and $millions in, if Ryan "needs to throw a better ball", it's too late.

OH:IO
OH:IO

FIRE SCHANNY

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Good win. I'll admit I was wrong, did not see them beating Oakland this week. They played hard and took advantage of the bounces.


I do think the defense could (should) actually improve at least marginally this year when the missing kids get back in the lineup and they all grow from experience. As for the playoffs, I'll jump on that bandwagon if and when they take care of their own Division.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@DawgDadII: "I'll admit I was wrong, did not see them beating Oakland this week."

_________________

Same here. Of course, I'm delighted to admit that--especially if it's the result of a W for any ATL pro team.

Problem, of course, is that those Ws don't come along nearly enough.

JSSN
JSSN

Thank goodness two folks are not eating that bowl of crap for breakfast this morning. When a defense (for all of its assets in Oakland) gives up over 1,000 yards in 2 games, you're nuts to think things are fixed. What Del Rio did in taking over defensive play calling during the last three drives shows they have bigger issues out in Oakland. His panic on 4th and 2 giving the Falcons a short field was nearly Smith-like in level of distrust of his defensive side of the ball. 

Speaking of Smith, the team who walked into your place opening day of the season and spanked the home team was shellacked in the desert. 

So, drawing conclusions in the first quarter of the season always get this town in trouble. They won a game that could have easily been lost. There are a lot of very bad defenses in this league. But even some very bad Ds (see the Saints in NJ yesterday) can dial one up against the right scheme. 

Teams that cannot defend their home fields  are the ones who will be eliminated early this season. The Seahawks are a different if Russell Wilson is less mobile because he (Mershawn Lynch) have masked an average line for a long time. That revamped one in Seattle is being exposed. You better hope they don't figure it all out before the Falcons get to town. They played lights out defense two straight weeks (home and away). So over the next 5 weeks, folks (teams) are going to put your praise of Shanahan to the test.


It's Saints-Falcons week, so I hope that some of the more unsavory posters will watch themselves. I doubt it, but one can hope!

JSSN
JSSN

@TOJacket 

As a heart attack, you're supposedly grown folks act like it.


TOJacket
TOJacket

Do "grown folks" act like you?......you need to worry about yourself Steve.

JSSN
JSSN

@TOJacket 

Call me when you don't have daily garbage pail fire full of comments about the schools playing 18-22 year old boys and girls in games. I have a username, use it! All of that mess you get into with folks like DawgNole is boring! If my comments were: "Wishing people dead, Praising hurricanes and floods destroying communities, wishing players hurt or arrested" then there is a problem! And that problem is not mine!

JSSN
JSSN

@TOJacket 

And I very few issues with you, so as the old saying goes: "Don't start none, and there wont be none!"

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

@JSSN   I agree, all the crap about mobility and arm-strength should be off the table for a week. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JSSN @TOJacket

Why would you read "all that mess" if it's boring?

Just scroll on by.

TOJ's little more than an annoyance, buzzing around like a dirty little fly--lighting on one blog, then another, and another.

If a fly lights on your food or drink, do you ignore it? I don't; I swat at it, and sometimes it goes away.

TOJ sometimes goes away, too--just like that distasteful little fly. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

JSSN
JSSN

@DawgNole 

Shouldn't have to, and believe you me I scroll and scroll etc... And if fly lands on my food, I go to new restaurant!

Hey it is a Saints rule, you know my policy, I'll be back Monday after all of that silliness is over! Good luck!

kevkat
kevkat

I'm not ready to say Shananhan's offense is great after one win. They executed somewhat better than before but can they be consistent? Defense is what it is and Matt is still throwing behind receivers but the win is encouraging. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

He.will need a few more games like that first.

Eric_C
Eric_C

Jeff, I usually agree with your themes, but you must have watched a different game.  If not for the tipped pass TD, it would be the same rehash.  If you want to define insanity, Shanahan's offense is a great place to start.  In fact, the TV announcers late in the game figuratively threw up their hands when describing the red zone deficiencies of this offense.  If this sham of a red zone offense produces more than 10 points in either of the Seattle or Denver games, I'll shut up.  

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

We hired Quinn for his defense prowess. Shanahan because his Dad has naked pics of someone important. Ryan because of his success at BC and the result is the best QB in franchise history. See any Defensive improvement? Hear a lot of the coaches talking about not doing a lot of what their QB notably does well? What's Shanahan's major accomplishment OC wise other than his Dad winning two SBs with Elway and Terrell Davis? But, yeah, lets not give Ryan credit for anything...

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Just to clarify, Jeff, you realize as anyone who has watched him play over his career that Matt Ryan excelled in a no huddle offense that was given to him at his discretion back when, you know, we had winning seasons. He was as effective at calling plays at the line as Peyton Manning was early in HIS career. Taking that away from Matt has made him pedestrian. Effective, yes, but little more than a game manager compared to the type of QB he was when he racked that enormous number of 4th QUARTER game winning drives. The fact that his ability, and not the coaching staffs decision making/arrogance, is a subject of question disgusts me. Ryan, despite the end zone interception, played another stellar game. Had someone to hand it off to and hit every receiver when it mattered most late in the game. Shanahan didn't do that. Shanahan and Quinn actively resist playing to their QBs strengths. But, yeah, lets all hail last week's architects.