Monday, September 8, 2008
Must... Contain... Optimism...
In case you missed it, the Falcons played better than anyone could have imagined. The offensive line was dominant, Turner could not be tackled, Ryan got a TD on his first throw, and Abraham got three sacks (6 ball).
But the wild amounts of optimism stemming from this victory have to be tempered by the fact that the Lions defense is AWFUL.
I can guarantee our o-line will not be that dominant all year long. But if they play half as well as they did on Sunday, I think we should be fine and Ryan will make it through the year in one piece.
Relatedly, I can also guarantee that our running game will not gain over 300 yards every week. I think Turner and Norwood will be great, but not that great. The Mikes (Smith and Mularky), however, know that our best chance at winning is through the running game, so they will be feeding those two guys the rock again and again. It was good to see an offensive coordinator that knew how to effectively use two running backs, however, after seeing Norwood languish on the sideline last year.
Finally, in this logical string, with the running game not able to churn out 300 yards, Ryan will not be able to get away with just 13 pass attempts. I'm glad that he got his first TD out of the way, but overall Ryan looked like a rookie QB. He was very conservative in his reads, most of the time looking to dump it off. He had several passes that were off the mark, including one that was tipped up by his receiver and should have been picked off. Any significant third down was either picked up by our running game or wasn't picked up at all. Our offense will struggle when Ryan has to throw more. That's just the reality of a rookie QB starting.
I was most surprised though that our secondary held up pretty well. Granted they were playing from ahead the entire game and could sit back in a soft zone, but they covered and tackled one of the most athletically gifted pair of receivers in the game in Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams. One note from Williams' TD catch in the corner of the endzone at the end of the first half. Since Grimes is so short he either needs to pull a Darrell Green (hit the ball out of his hands on the way down) or just shove him out of bounds. The NFL killed the "force-out" rule, so Grimes should have just shoved Williams once he touched the ball. No way he would have landed in bounds.