So that happened.
In the Atlanta Falcons first real (fake?) test of the 2010 season, they were handled by the well-oiled machine in New England, losing 28-10 to the Patriots. Yes, the Falcons were without nine players including three probable starters. And yes, it’s only preseason. But. There’s always a but.
Hit the jump for my over-reactions.
Eric Weems got the start in place of the injured Michael Jenkins and didn’t catch a pass. He was targeted twice but, as I’ve said before, he’s not an NFL receiver. He’s an NFL returner but doesn’t have the ability to become a consistent target for Matt Ryan.
Corey Peters and Kroy Biermann were new starters on the D-line this week. If it wasn’t already decided, it is now: Biermann will be the starter opposite John Abraham and I expect him to finish the year with more sacks than #55. He had another one in this game and forced a fumble (again). Peters had one tackle before leaving with an knee injury. We’ll know more about the extent of it today.
After the Falcons scored an early field goal, they let the Patriots score four consecutive touchdowns. Three of the touchdowns were over 20 yards. The big play, an Achilles heel for the Falcons last year, reared it’s ugly head again.
Michael Turner had a tougher go of it this week but he still ran hard and even caught two passes. That makes three catches in the preseason. Maybe the Falcons really are going to focus on him passing situations.
Antone Smith continues to outplay Dimitri Nance but, unfortunately, it still appears they are playing for the practice squad when Jerious Norwood returns next week. Nance also fumbled this week. That’s the quickest way for a young running back to find the bench.
Coach Mike Smith let John Parker Wilson play 2.5 quarters and gave Chris Redman the night off, save for a few handoffs at the end of the game. Wilson didn’t give the coaching staff any reason to make him the #2 QB but it’s good for his confidence down the road.
I noted in the pre-game column, I would be looking to see how the Falcons responded after the Patriots made a big play. After Fred Taylor’s 28-yard touchdown run, the Falcons went three-and-out.
I am going to chalk this one up to playing an elite team with several of our starters out. I expect a much more improved performance against the Dolphins. I’m not worried. Yet.
Your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter.