Falcons versus Panthers: 3 Things to Love


The Big Uglies Came to Play

Nobody on the Falcons offensive line will tell you they played well against the Eagles. It was an overall poor performance, as they failed to protect Matt Ryan and were never able to get anything going in the run game. That display resulted in them coming out with vengeance on Sunday.

Tevin Coleman ran the ball ferociously behind this group, totaling 107 yards on just 16 carries. With Devonta Freeman out, rookie Ito Smith filled in as the backup running back and showed us why the Falcons selected him in the fourth-round. Smith finished the day with 10 touches and 54 total yards. All was possible because of an offensive line that absolutely dominated a talented Carolina front seven.

Not only were the big uglies able to control the line of scrimmage in the run game, Matt Ryan stayed clean all day. The Panthers were not able to come up with a single sack after recording six the previous week against the Cowboys. And when you give Matt Ryan time, great things happen. On paper, this is a top offensive line in the league, and they showed why versus Carolina.


Matty Ice

Anonymous team reps ripping him, analysts and players talking about how overrated he is, that is all noise to Matt Ryan, who has proven over his career how much of a consummate professional he is. After a dismal start to his 2018 campaign in Philadelphia, Ryan bounced back with a near-perfect performance in a 31-24 win over the Panthers.

It’s easier to talk about the bad in this one rather than the good. Ryan’s one blemish came on a floating interception that was caused by a missed block on Austin Hooper. If Hooper had made that block, we might be talking about a five-touchdown performance and 100 QBR for the former MVP. Ryan finished with four total touchdowns, two coming via his legs and a near perfect QBR of 95.6.

Were you wrong doubting Matty Ice after his week one performance on the field where he has faltered the most over his career? Yes. For a quarterback who is called overrated and not clutch, he sure does come up with some fantastic performances in crucial games. The Falcons were staring 0-2 in the face, missing their two best defensive players, Devontae Freeman and then lost  Andy Levitre in the middle of the game. None of that phased Ryan, who put the team on his back and led Atlanta to their first victory of the season.

Welcome to Atlanta, Calvin Ridley!

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect from Atlanta’s loss to Philly was the lack of involvement from some of the Falcons most dynamic weapons. None more so than Atlanta’s first-round draft pick, Calvin Ridley. After failing to catch a pass on opening night, the Alabama product was much more involved against the Panthers.

He finished tied with Julio Jones in receiving yards with 64, hauling in four passes including an 11-yard catch for his first career touchdown. It was a big score too, as the Falcons were able to shake off some of their red zone woes from the week prior. It tied the game at 10, and most importantly, allowed Atlanta to take a huge sigh of relief.

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