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Falcons Team Report/Inside Slant


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Atlanta Falcons

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  Falcons have taken Alka-Seltzer for hangover

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is long past the Super Bowl debacle and is ready to face his buddy, Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.

"I don't think about it too much," Ryan said. "I think everybody else does because the question keeps coming up. For us, we were focused on playing each week."

The Falcons addressed their issue of blowing the 28-3 lead against New England in Super Bowl LI.

"We tried to answer it that way, but it kind of seems like nobody really believed you when you were saying it," Ryan said. "It's felt that way in our building for sure. Were we disappointed in it? Absolutely, but we got past that."

The Falcons have been focused on moving forward and have gotten off to a 2-0 start.

"We started working on trying to become the best 2017 football team we could be," said Ryan, who vacations with Stafford, the former University of Georgia legend. "We're two games into it. Mission accomplished on those two first games."

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has been pleased with how his team has tried to move forward. They received two big plays from cornerback Desmond Trufant against the Packers. Trufant missed the Super Bowl with a torn pectoral injury.

He had a key interception and scooped up a fumble returning it for a touchdown to help the Falcons beat the Packers.

"That was just a big play with him getting the interception at the end of the half," Quinn said. "Then it was a smart play to start the second half on the forced fumble that you have to scoop up and take back. He was aware. It was a great way to have him back in that kind of performance."

The Falcons replaced Kyle Shanahan with Steve Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator after scoring 540 points, the seventh most in league history.

Whether Sarkisian would be able to keep the car on the road was a major part of the Falcons' offseason narrative.

The offense scored on five of their seven possessions in the victory over the Packers in the first regular-season game in the posh $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

"What we really wanted to emphasize was our execution," Quinn said. "We thought the effort was on point, but there was a play here or a play there where it just wasn't crisp and detailed enough where we missed some. We knew the effort and strain would be there, but could we take our execution up a notch? We really had that as part of our preparation.

"When we go through the week, we prepare a lot for the opponent and so much of it comes right back to us. That's really the emphasis that we had. Although we knew Green Bay and the tough opponent they are, it was still going to come back to us and our style, attitude and how we played. We're pleased to see that kind of execution tonight."

Ryan leaned heavily on Julio Jones and running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The running backs combined for 29 touches, 145 yards and three touchdowns. The two combined for 20 carries and 53 yards rushing in the opener against the Bears.

"Freeman had some really aggressive runs and made yards after contact and made guys miss," Quinn said. "That was vintage Freeman. We saw Tevin's speed when he got out to the outside. I was pleased with that part of our game."

Now, the Falcons will travel to Detroit to face Stafford and the upstart Lions.


Notes, Quotes

The Falcons, who are off to a 2-0 start, are going to be without All-Pro edge rusher Vic Beasley Jr. for at least a week and possibly more games.

Beasley suffered a hamstring strain and even if it's the mild - grade 1 - sprain, those takes up to three weeks to recover from.

If Beasley has a grade two sprain, which is a partial tear, it would take from two to eight weeks to recover.

"Vic Beasley will be out this week with a hamstring strain," Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said on Monday.

Quinn originally similarly under-reported Desmond Trufant's torn pectoral muscle injury last season before he went on to miss the final seven games of the regular season.

Beasley was injured in the third quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers. On video of the game, Beasley is seen grabbing the back of his right leg after the play is over.

In addition to Beasley's injury, the Falcons will be without defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw, who suffered a sprained ankle and right tackle Ryan Schraeder, who suffered a concussion and is in the league's protocol.

It was reported that Beasley has a tear and could be out for up to a month by Zach Klein of WSB Radio citing "a NFL source."

Quinn, however, doesn't believe Beasley will be out that long.

"We certainly wouldn't put that kind of timeline on him," Quinn said. "I'm not sure which doctors reported that, but it wasn't ours. He's a guy who's going to work really hard.

"I know he'll miss this week. Past that we'll see how it goes to see if he's able to make it back in time for the next game (against Buffalo) and then we have a bye. We'll see where it goes, but he'll definitely miss next week."

If Beasley is out a month, he'd be set to return against the New England Patriots on Oct. 22 in a rematch of Super Bowl LI.

With Beasley out at least a week, the Falcons will turn to rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley to play left defensive end in the team's nickel defense. De'Vondre Campbell has been playing the strong-side linebacker spot in the base defense.

McKinley played 44 of the 76 defensive snaps (58 percent) against the Packers. He played just 14 snaps against the Bears. McKinley had two quarterback hits against the Packers, one when he came free off a stunt with defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

"With Vic (out), we'll lean on Takk and Brooks (Reed) and Derrick Shelby, who can also play outside," Quinn said. "We are fortunate that we have some depth at the position this year."

Shelby, who has a base salary of $4.5 million, is coming back from his Achilles surgery that shortened his 2016 season. Shelby tore his right Achilles against Seattle on Oct. 16 and later was placed on injured reserve.

He has played 56 of 143 of the defensive snaps this season (39 percent).

"Versatility is going to be an important," Quinn said. "Derrick is a guy who can play both outside and inside. Last night (against Green Bay) he played more inside. Whenever you lose two guys at the same position in ball games you lean on others."

Ty Sambrailo replaced Schraeder and played 49 of 58 of the offensive snaps (84 percent) against the Packers. The Falcons acquired him from the Denver Broncos for a fifth-round pick on Sept. 1.

"Great job by Sambrailo coming in," Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. "Obviously, he's only been here a couple of weeks. We asked him to go in and really play the duration of the game for us. I thought he did an excellent job."

The defense held the Packers to 59 rushing yards, and 3.9 yards per carry.

The Falcons also sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers three times, extending their sack streak to 17 straight games and two straight games with three-plus sacks.


Strategy & Personnel


CB Desmond Trufant recorded his first defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery, and added his first interception of the season. Trufant's pick was the eighth of his career and it was the second touchdown he's recorded in his career. He finished the game with two total tackles.

QB Matt Ryan finished the game 19-of-28 for 252 yards with one touchdown and a 108.0 passer rating. Ryan extended his streak of 200-plus yards passing to 57 games and he is now up to 20 games with a passing touchdown.

RB Devonta Freeman scored two rushing touchdowns on the night, which were his 24th and 25th rushing touchdowns since 2015 - first in the NFL during that time period. The Packers game was Freeman's eighth multi-touchdown game of his career, and his sixth game with two-plus rushing touchdowns.

WR Julio Jones had five receptions for 108 yards - his 36th 100-yard game of his career, which is three off from the franchise record.

RB Tevin Coleman had six carries for 42 yards and also chipped in two receptions for three yards and a receiving touchdown.


PASSING OFFENSE: A Matt Ryan got Julio Jones involved early, throwing his first pass to Julio Jones out to the left flat. Jones turned the play into a 19-yard gain. He later had a 34-yard gain on a pass play to keep the first drive alive. With Jones involved, Mohamed Sanu got involved and Coleman added a 3-yard touchdown catch.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus The run game was not spectacular, but it was steady enough to keep the attack diversified. Freeman scored 1-yard and 2-yard touchdowns to help power the offense in the first half. Coleman busted loose for a 35-yard gain in the second quarter. He slipped out to the right side of the offense and used his speed in the open field before being tackled by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

PASS DEFENSE: C All-Pro edge rusher Vic Beasley Jr. came up with a bone rattling sack of Aaron Rodgers in the third quarter that resulted in a touchdown. Desmond Trufant scooped up the fumble and returned it 15 yards to make it 31-7 early in the third quarter. Trufant also had a big interception late in the second quarter that the Falcons converted into a touchdown to make it 24-7 at the half. Takkarist McKinley had a big quarterback hit on a third down. Adrian Clayborn added a sack in the third quarter. It must be noted that the Packers were playing without their starting tackles David Bahtiari (left) and Bryan Bulaga (right). Also, the Packers lost guard Jahri Evans during the game.

RUSHING DEFENSE: B-plus The Falcons cut down on their missed tackles and held running back Ty Montgomery in check before the Packers fell behind and had to scrap the run game. Montgomery, the converted wide receiver, had six carries for 14 yards at the half.

B - Matt Bryant made all of his extra points and 51- and 53-yard field goals. The punt return unit had two holding penalties on one play by Deji Olatoye and Kemal Ishmael. Andre Roberts didn't break any big returns.

B-minus The Falcons rushed four and used middle linebacker Deion Jones to spy on Rodgers on third downs. The Falcons wanted to keep Rodgers in the pocket and not let him slide out to his right and make throws down the field. Coordinator Steve Sarkisian came out on fire as the offense scored on five of its first seven possessions. It was wise to get Jones involved early and that opened up things for the rest of the offense. Sarkisian got creative late and went to the wildcat with Sanu at quarterback. The Falcons picked up a first down on a handoff to Freeman to keep the clock moving.

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It was a great win and an awesome game, except the loss of Schraeder is big.  We need him back ASAP.  I see the right side of our line as a real liability heading into the game against the Lions.  I'm pretty sure they will game plan to exploit us big time on that side.  Packers didn't really get a chance to do it and don't have the horses up front that the Lions do.

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1 hour ago, Lowndesfalc said:

"What we really wanted to emphasize was our execution," Quinn said. "We thought the effort was on point, but there was a play here or a play there where it just wasn't crisp and detailed enough where we missed some. We knew the effort and strain would be there, but could we take our execution up a notch? We really had that as part of our preparation.

What nonsense is this?  I was told it was bad playcalling. 

Shenanigans!  Everybody grab a broom!

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3 hours ago, mattyicefalcon said:

Lions are complete team....i still remember last time we played them in London. Up by 21 at half time and then lost by 22-21!!! 

That was a huge blow!!! Still stings!!! 

You can't compare that Falcons-Lions matchup with this Falcons-Lions matchup.

Two different times, two different teams.

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