Atlanta Falcons down Tennessee Titans 31-24 in opening preseason game


The era of Dan Quinn got off to a strong start as the Atlanta Falcons downed the Tennessee Titans 31-24 in the preseason opener.

The Falcons received the football first, and Matty Ice was red hot as he marched the team down the field on a ten-play, 91-yard touchdown drive. Ryan went 6 for 6 for 86 yards, finding Julio Jones four times, finishing with a 13-yard strike for a score.

“We talked about wanting to come out and start fast, execute and get in and out of the huddle really fast and change personnel groupings,” Ryan said. “I thought we did a great job with that. We still have a long way to go, but it was a really good start for us.”

This is all we would see from the starters on offense, but it was a nice preview of what’s to come in the regular season.

Over to you, defense. And over to you, Marcus Mariota.

Mariota completed his first pass to former Falcon Harry Douglas, but that was about as good as it got for the second overall pick. Four plays later he was sacked by Tyson Jackson as the Falcons’ new-look defense enjoyed great interior pressure.

The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner was picked off the very next play by Justin Durant after being pressured by Vic Beasley, putting the Falcons at the Tennessee 9-yard line. On the Titans’ next series, Mariota fumbled and Paul Worrilow was there to take it into the end zone.

Welcome to the NFL, Marcus.

It was a dominant opening quarter for Dan Quinn’s Falcons, forcing two turnovers while Matt Ryan carved through the Tennessee defense with ease.

The concern for Atlanta came in the second quarter. Third-string running back Antone Smith suffered a hamstring injury while running in for a 1-yard touchdown. Smith didn’t return to the game.

This now means that Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Smith are all sidelined with hamstring problems, which is a setback for Kyle Shanahan as he attempts to strike balance between the run and pass on offense.

The Falcons’ starters showed plenty of promise in the first half, and we can now look forward to seeing how the team progresses on the road to the New York Jets next week.

Next: Watch: Julio Jones opens scoring against Titans

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