Another close game that probably should not have been so close. Atlanta won Sunday afternoon to improve to 6-0 on the season after beaing Oakland 23-20. Matt Ryan had probably his poorest effort of the season, but was bailed out by the defense in this one. This game was full of turnovers, as both teams had 3 by the end of the game. Ryan threw 3 picks, all in the first half. Carson Palmer threw just one, but it went 79 yards the other day for a pick six in hands of Asante Samuel. It wasn’t over there though, as the Raiders drove down field with about 2 and half minutes left and capped it off with a Darren McFadden TD. The Falcons, similar to last week, took the ball down themselves and set up a 55 yard FG for their veteran kicker Matt Bryant. Once again he nailed it at the end of regulation and Atlanta came off the field celebrating.
A win is a win, but this one wasn’t great. Atlanta was outgained 474 to 286 by a pretty mediocre offense. Carson Palmer had a big game against this Falcon’s secondary who has taken a step back in the last two games. He had 353 yards through the air, hitting a large variety of receivers. He did throw the one INT, along with a fumble, and DMC fumbled the ball once himself. If it weren’t for that, obviously they would have likely won the game. Then again, Atlanta turned the ball over 3 times also, so that point is kind of moot. Still, giving up nearly 500 yards of offense and turning the ball over 3 times won’t lead to many wins. The fact that they were able to squeak one out shows the fight of this team.
The turnovers I won’t put too much stock into considering it was very uncharacteristic of how Matt Ryan has played this year. If this becomes more a trend, I’ll show some concern, but for now it looks like more of a fluke. The other factors are a bit more concerning. They have struggled on defense for the last two weeks, giving up a ton of yards. They had done pretty well previous to that, but are starting to look a little overmatched. The loss of Brent Grimes could start to become more and more obvious as the weeks go on. The running game was flat again today, which really makes this offense one dimensional. Michael Turner was mostly absent for this one again, which could have led to a more aggressive pass defense. They need to figure out something to do, because Turner is not performing well.
That is about as much nitpicking I can do on a 6-0 team. Atlanta still looks like the team to beat in the NFC, and until someone does, they are the best team in the conference. A bye week is upcoming, which is a bit unfortunate considering how hot they are. They do still have some things to work on, so they could come out even scarier after the bye.