The Falcons won on Sunday, putting them over .500 for the first time since 2017. It was far from pretty, but anytime you win by two touchdowns in this league, you can’t complain. And perhaps just as importantly, the Falcons avoided injuries. They came into the game with a couple of key pieces missing — Cordarrelle Patterson and Jeff Okudah — but both of them could be back as early as Week 2.
Arthur Smith said the Falcons are in a good spot injury-wise. Nothing notable after the game.
Said Cordarrelle Patterson and Jeff Okudah are trending in the right direction and they'll know more on Wednesday.
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) September 11, 2023
Okudah was working towards a return ahead of Week 1. Arthur Smith even said the former Ohio State Buckeye was much further ahead of schedule than expected, but the Falcons did the smart thing by playing the long game and not pushing it. He is going to be a vital piece to this secondary, and the Falcons were able to handle the Panthers’ rather pedestrian wide receiver group without his presence. That won’t be the case against a more formidable opponent, so hopefully, he’s good to go this upcoming Sunday against the Packers.
Patterson has been dealing with a thigh injury and never appeared during the preseason. He was a game-time decision on Sunday and was eventually ruled out. Even without him, the Falcons have a lot of explosive on offense, but his presence adds an entirely different dynamic to an offense that struggled against the Panthers. Although, I would say that their issues had much more to do with poor pass protection than anything else. If that doesn’t change, it doesn’t matter who the Falcons have out there trying to catch the ball.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire