The Atlanta Falcons fell to the Miami Dolphins, 23-20 last night, but there’s plenty positive to take away.
If their first drive of last night’s preseason game was any indication, the Atlanta Falcons offense won’t slow down in 2017.
Matt Ryan opened the Atlanta Falcons preseason with a 12-yard pass to tight end Austin Hooper. Three plays later, the reigning NFL MVP executed a play-action fake and hit Devonta Freeman in the right flat. It was a 4th-and-1 play Freeman took 24 yards to the end zone, giving the Falcons a 7-0 lead.
The first team offense would spectate for the remainder of the game. Backup quarterback Matt Simms took a majority of the offensive snaps, finishing the game 10-for-20 passing for 104 yards.
On the ground, Terron Ward showed no willingness to lose the third string running back job to rookie Brian Hill. Ward lead the Falcons in rushing with 11 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a few passes for 16 yards. Hill took nine carries but wasn’t able to get much going.
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Things could’ve been better for the Falcons on the defensive side of the ball. The secondary play was a tad clumsier than expected and the defensive line depth failed to apply adequate pressure.
On the plus side, Falcons’ linebackers showed some excellent zone coverage throughout the game. De’Vondre Campbell was easily the defensive stud of the night, tallying three tackles and an interception. Defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman also posted a pair of solo tackles in about a quarter-and-a-half of action.
Things didn’t go so well for cornerback Jalen Collins in Miami. Collins looked unmotivated and discombobulated as he was consistently burned by Dolphins backup receivers. It was early in the fourth quarter when Damore’ea Stringfellow beat Collins down the left sideline for a 99-yard touchdown.
Falcons’ fans throughout social media are now calling for Collins to be cut ahead of serving his 10 game suspension.
The Atlanta Falcons special teams were so-so on the night. Matt Bryant missed a 47-yard field goal in the first half and the kick coverage teams weren’t great. Andre Roberts showed some elusiveness during his 39-yard punt return in the first quarter. Rookies Marvin Hall, Josh Magee, and Reggie Davis were also given return opportunities throughout the night.
It’s back to Flowery Branch for more Falcons training camp this weekend. Atlanta travels to Pittsburgh for their second preseason game on Sunday, August 20th at 4 p.m.