Phew! As ugly as that game was, I have to say, I am still happy. While I am not thrilled, I am content. The entire game was quite honestly ugly. I saw poor-performances all over the field. This gets my in to the Falcon’s Report Card. I will grade 5 players or coaches or positions, and break down their performance. My goal is to continue this for the rest of the season. Let’s start off with my Kool-Aid supplier Mike Nolan.
Mike Nolan: C-
As much as a fan I am of Nolan, his game plain plain stunk this week. The Raiders completely stumped Nolan for some reason. The formula is simple, make Carson Palmer beat you. It seemed he let McFadden beat him instead of Palmer. What actually happened is they played the pass too much early, which created holes for McFadden, which the Raiders later used to open up the pass game. The formula wasn’t there. Not all blame should go towards the Coordinator, because that Falcon’s defensive line is playing the run very poorly.
Tony Gonzalez: B-
Honestly, I have to say Gonzalez should have been an A. It seemed like Matt Ryan couldn’t find Gonzo all game. He was one of the biggest miss-matches for the Raiders. I guess the miss-match was for the Falcons. Usually, Gonzalez would take over the game when they were struggling. He would get a few first down catches here and there to get a drive going, but it seemed he couldn’t do that until late. This is why Gonzo is receiving a B-.
Matt Ryan: D-
This was about to be an F if it wasn’t for the last drive. I have to say, this was the worst performance Matty Ice has put up in my memory. How the hell he still pulled off that last drive was astonishing. While he did throw those interceptions, it didn’t seem to phaze him, which is a good thing. He did earn one thing this week, however; His nickname. He was Ice on that last drive.
Mike Smith: B-
There is a lot of pros and cons for Mike Smith this week. Let’s start with the cons. First, he really didn’t get the players ready to play. They came out flat. They were flat in the middle of the game. They were flat until the end of the game, until that last drive. They were not ready to play. Second, the overall game plan wasn’t great. It seemed he didn’t watch enough film. He even under-estimated the Raiders. But the pros for Smith were he did rally the troops when he needed to. That is why he earned that B-.
Matt Bryant: A
I hesitated to give him the A+, but he did miss a field goal earlier in the game. We all know why we won the game, and it was because of his leg. His season has been an A+, but the game was an A for Bryant. He was the shining star after this game.