Well, there you have it. The Atlanta Falcons lost a nail biter at the last second. It doesn’t really go with what Atlanta is known for, but Tony Gonzales didn’t make the game-winning catch he needed to. So as promised, here it is, Saints fans. I am eating my hat. I chose to go without the hot sauce, but it doesn’t make a difference. It tastes bitter.
Atlanta starts the season 0-1, but I believe this says more about the Saints than it does the Falcons. Atlanta’s defense didn’t look quite so bad. Robert Alford had an interception and Desmond Trufant didn’t blow many coverages. In fact, he played pretty well. I’m glad he’s stepping up. Even Alford, with the exception of a few passes, looked pretty decent. Maybe Asante Samuel would have made the difference.
Lamar Holmes looked about average. He allowed a sack, but he looked light-years ahead of the guy we watched in the preseason. Sam Baker, on the other hand, didn’t look like he was living up to his contract. Matt Ryan came away from the game with three sacks. In a close game like that, that could be the difference in a win or a loss.
On top of that, I can’t help but wonder what the game would have been like if Julio Jones didn’t lose that fumble. The Saints offense played very well as they can always be counted on to do. Their defense is leaps and bounds ahead of last season’s. Sean Payton obviously made a difference.
It’s always difficult to beat the Saints in the Superdome, and today proved no difference. I was hoping that if Atlanta lost, I could blame it on the few weaknesses they had, but I can’t The Falcons looked fine. Matt Ryan gave us hope, Julio Jones and Roddy White seemed like a non-factor, they were taken out of the game. Gonzalez couldn’t make the game winning catch and Harry Douglas looked like he may just be able to be a big factor in this offense.
Unfortunately, the Saints defense was much more improved than any Falcon fan could have predicted. But to keep it even, it only means the falcons have to sweep some other team in the division. There is a tough schedule ahead of the Falcons and I don’t think the Falcons will lose to the saints a second time. The difference in this game was so minimal, it could have been the fumble, the home-field-advantage, the dropped Gonzalez pass, it could have been anything. Atlanta is still a playoff team and this doesn’t make a huge difference.
What we can take from this game is that the Offensive line has to improve all around, not just the right tackle. But they can always hang with the best of them. My hat is off (and in my mouth) to the saints for this game. The falcons didn’t play poorly quite as much as the Saints played well. Trufant looked good, Alford looked good, and Holmes didn’t play awfully.
The next game the Falcons have to pull out a win against is the Patriots. Let’s hope they have the drive for that game.
Keep calm and don’t panic, there is a lot of good things to look at.