Atlanta Falcons Week 2 Postgame

Jul 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; An Atlanta Falcons helmet on the field during training camp at Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; An Atlanta Falcons helmet on the field during training camp at Falcons Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Falcons took home a win over the Oakland Raider.

The Falcons won  this week against a tough Oakland Raiders team 35-28. It was a tight game that had big plays and was hard fought on both sides here are the important takeaways from week two against the Raiders for the Falcons.

Pros:  Matt Ryan looked like a Pro Bowl quarterback piling up yards and keeping the chains moving in this shootout. He looks much improved in the first two games this season and the addition of Alex Mack is evident.

The running game broke loose! Freeman is a good running back and he is helped out by Alex Mack as well. The running game was what was keeping the Atlanta offense from taking that next step last week and this week it came through big.

The young receivers, who didn’t get some key receptions today from Matt Ryan? He spread the ball around well and the young receivers stepped up. Of special note was Justin Hardy’s heads up touchdown catch on a deflection that could have been picked.

It is hard to find a pro for the defense (That last Raiders touchdown drive was especially hard to watch) who got ripped all day long. If there was one bright spot it was the key turnover that helped turn the game around for the Falcons. They also came through with a couple of nice stops late in the game to give the offense a chance to go ahead.

The biggest pro of the day is the win. The Falcons have a tough schedule ahead and today was as close to a must-win game as you can have in week two of the season.

Cons:  Yet another red zone turnover that gave you flashbacks to last season. While he more than made up for it Ryan cannot turn the ball over like he did in the red zone season last season.

Nothing new for the Falcons to have trouble getting pressure on the quarterback and that was the case for the Falcons most of the day. With a few exceptions Carr had forever in the pocket to attempt to pick apart the Falcons secondary. The Falcons must improve their pass rush somehow or they will be destined to repeat what they went through last season.

Missed Tackles were the theme of the day as well. Nothing meant toward Murray but he is not that good of a running back. He made the Falcons defense look silly and ran through them easily at times. For a team stressing toughness they sure didn’t look very tough.

I know he had a couple of big plays, but where is the Julio Jones that beat double coverage regularly last season? Is he hurt? Is it a new game plan? Regardless of the reason, Jones does not play as big of a role as he could and should in this Atlanta offense.

Real spin:  The Falcons offense is improved and won a shootout today in a rough stadium.   Matt Ryan and the offensive unit itself looks to be a playoff caliber unit that played tough today and came through.

On the flip side, the defense doesn’t look improved. If anything it looked as if they have forgotten how to tackle at times. If they want a win in the coming weeks they are going to have to improve and learn to get pressure on the quarterback and make key tackles.

It is still very early in the season and it would be an overreaction to say that this Atlanta defense cannot improve to at least not hinder this Atlanta team as they look for a playoff berth in their second year under Dan Quinn. Next up? The New Orleans Saints.