“I thought we did a nice job attacking the ball,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.
Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton was the strong, finishing with 11 tackles. So was Lawrence Sidbury, who had a sack, two hits on Dolphins QB Chad Henne and a fumble recovery. And Erik Coleman intercepted a pass in the end zone
Key stat: The Dolphins were 1-of-9 on third and fourth downs. That’s a good sign for a Falcons defense that is targeting improvement after finishing 23rd in the NFL last season.
Lawrence Sidbury had a sack, two quarterback hits and a tackle for a loss. The Falcons (2-1) are hoping for defensive improvement after ranking 23rd in the NFL last year in yards allowed per play despite a 9-7 record.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan threw his first touchdown pass of the exhibition season. He led scoring drives of 60 and 54 yards, the second of which took more than seven minutes.
NO THIRD DOWN WOES: The first-team defense, mostly blitzing out of a 3-3-5 nickel package, was stout on third down in the first half. The Dolphins converted only 1 of 7 third down situations.
Improving on third downs has been a point of emphasis after the Falcons led the league in allowing teams to convert on third down 45 percent (97 of 214) of the time. Indianapolis (104 of 231) and Jacksonville (94 of 209) were also at 45 percent.
The Dolphins only first-half conversion came on a 20-yard pass to Brandon Marshall in the last drive before halftime.