The Falcons 24-10 victory over the Panthers was anything but pretty.
Desmond Ridder and the offense spun their tires for much of the game, including a couple of near turnovers. Kyle Pitts and Drake London combined for four targets, two of which were caught by Pitts for 44 yards.
Ridder, the protection, and Arthur Smith are to blame. The quarterback didn’t impress with his anticipation and reads. The protection was lacking for much of the afternoon, and Arthur Smith’s passing concepts left a lot to be desired, particularly the spacing on routes.
However, none of that matters if the club corrects those mistakes or at least takes steps toward correcting them. The Falcons, nor any team in the NFL, should apologize for an ugly win. It’s hard enough to win in this league, and Atlanta is over .500 for the first time in five seasons.
“Obviously there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Jake Matthews said. ‘But, hey, we’re 1-0.’ “
“It’s Week 1. A win or loss, you’re either going to be 1.00 or you’re not. We just have to keep stacking, just keep digging game by game and try to go 1-0 each week,” A.J. Terrell added.
“When you get a win like that, you’re not behind the count. We’ll never apologize for winning. We know we’ve got a lot of work. That’s the National Football League, to keep improving. Don’t ever stay the same,” Arthur Smith concluded.
There were certainly some bright spots in the victory.
Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier already look like the best running back duo in the league, combining for 131 yards on the ground and 46 through the air to go with three total scores. They’re the driving force in this Falcons offense, and it’s a headache to defend that kind of power on every single touch.
Moreover, the free agent additions shined in their debuts. David Onyemata was effective against the run and rushing the passer, relieving a ton of pressure off of Grady Jarrett. Kaden Elliss didn’t get many pass rush opportunities, which should be addressed moving forward, but he did his job all Sunday long. None were more impressive than Jessie Bates III, though.
The gem of the free agent class had a debut for the history books, logging double-digit tackles to go with three turnovers — two interceptions and a forced fumble.
There was a lot to clean up, but there was also a lot to build off.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire