The weather was perfect. The Falcons, Dawgs, and Hawks all had good performances and pulled out the all-important W. Here’s a quick recap of each team.
The Falcons: The game was blacked-out in Atlanta. I wasn’t too upset—from the box score I don’t think I missed much. Seems like Harrington dinked and dunked a bunch, Dunn backed his way into 100 yards on the nose, and the defense played okay against a terrible 49er’s offense. I don’t know that we really learned much about the team other than that we are slightly better than the second crappiest team in the league. Although, winning this game means we lose the tiebreaker for draft position. I guess that’s something.
The Dawgs: The game was in hand from the start. Despite the lackluster beginning with two fumbles and a little sputtering from the offense initially, I wasn’t overly concerned. The coaches called a very vanilla game all the way around: no trick plays, no blitzing, no strange formations. We lined up, handed off, ran out routes and scored 44. Defensively, we played cover-2 pretty much the entire game. Reshad Jones got the start over what I’ll assume is an injured (again) Kelin Johnson. Reshad finally started putting it together in coverage, intercepting one pass and nearly intercepting another. Additionally, he delivered a couple of monster hits and seemed to bring a little more energy to the defense. The final score of 44-34 doesn’t indicate how close the game wasn’t. Troy’s coach kept his starters in and kept calling timeouts to get a garbage TD with 5 seconds remaining. The coaches’ goal was to get a win without revealing too much and with few to no injuries. They succeeded. Moreno went off for 196 yards and 3 TDs. After only 2 games as the starter, he’s over 1000 yards for the season with 9 TDs. He’s on pace for 1300 yards and 12 TDs, although at this rate it looks like 1500 and 15 are more realistic considering we still have 3 regular season games and at least 1 postseason (2 if UT loses another SEC game and UGA doesn’t).
The Hawks: Opened the season by downing Dallas and narrowly losing to Detroit. Both games were highlighted by a more aggressive Marvin Williams. Showing a little more hustle on the boards and continued confidence in his jumper, Marvin has been the consistent help to Joe that the team needs. Horford and Law have thus far looked just as advertised: the most NBA ready players from the draft. There are still stretches when they are a little out of place and create a few unnecessary turnovers, but overall they are playing with high energy and effectively. Woodson seems to trust them a little more than his previous rookies and is giving them a longer leash. The entire team is turning the ball over too much, but that is partially due to playing the rookies extended minutes (due to injury) and the team getting acclimated to a faster pace. Both will improve with experience, I think. Last nights game was decided by the officials. After rallying in the last 2 minutes to tie the game with seconds left, the officials called a touchy foul on Marvin with 2 seconds left. Chauncey “Mr. I have hit one big shot in my life” Billups sunk the first free throw and (seemingly) intentionally doinked the second. Josh Smith’s last second heave was to no avail. The foul was iffy. In that situation I’d prefer the refs keep the whistle out of it and let the game go to OT and be decided there. That said, coming from 10 down in the first quarter and rallying back at the end to tie it are moral victories for a young team on the road. I’ve said all along, 2 wins out of our first 6 will be good. After watching this game, I see no reason we can’t take 3 or 4. All this is without ZaZa, who we really miss. Not having an experienced C down low has hindered us defensively and we’ve missed his offensive rebounded quite a bit. It’ll be a nice lift when he comes back. AJ missed the game as his wife gave birth to their child. Congratulations to AJ on setting the new Guinness world record for the oldest male to conceive a child as well as to having the first baby born without a neck.
On Tap: Falcons go to Carolina in round 2 of the atrocious QB bust battle. Harrington vs. Carr. Hawks face NJ, Pho, and Boston this week. Boston presents the worst match up for us, as we really don’t have anyone capable of stopping KG. We should be able to take down NJ, as they have no one capable of guarding Josh Smith or Horford. The Dawgs stay at home to take on a feisty Auburn team. This will be the first home game I’ll miss in the last 5 years. I’ll hopefully find someway to listen to it discreetly. Hopefully I’ll have a pleasant drive back from NC.