Falcons Feel Right At Home In San Diego
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While Atlanta has an impressive home record since Matt Ryan became its quarterback, the Falcons may be more comfortable at QUALCOMM Stadium. With Atlanta’s 27-3 beat-down of the San Diego Chargers, Atlanta improved its all-time record in San Diego to an impressive 6-0.
While this may sound like deja vu all over again, for the third week in a row Atlanta faced an undefeated AFC West team. Like the previous times, Atlanta was the one who walked off the field still undefeated.
In what was supposed to be a battle of unbeaten teams, San Diego hardly looked the part. Atlanta’s defense limited the Chargers to just 280 yards of total offense and allowed only 15 first downs. With two interceptions and one forced fumble, the Falcons are now plus-10 in the takeaway department; currently the best in the league.
The Falcons were just as impressive offensively. They controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes and made good use of their possessions. Atlanta was 4 for 5 in red zone efficiency and more important, was 3 for 3 in goal to go efficiency. Atlanta racked up nearly 400 yards of total offense and averaged a very impressive 5.6 yards per offensive play.
Rather than the typical good, bad and ugly report of the Falcons, the majority of their game plan would definitely be categorized as “good”. The only “ugly” play would be the bad snap on Atlanta’s first PAT attempt. Otherwise, there isn’t much to complain about.
Atlanta’s defense, specifically Thomas DeCoud, gets an A. DeCoud intercepted two Philip Rivers passes and recorded three tackles. The only reason he doesn’t get an A+ for the game was he had a net return game of negative two yards.
Thanks to Atlanta’s smothering defense, Philip Rivers had one of his worst statistical games ever. Rivers was 21 of 38 passing for 173 yards with no touchdown passes and two interceptions. He finished the game with a quarterback rating of 45.2.
Atlanta’s passing attack gets a B+. Matt Ryan and company were responsible for 275 passing yards. The good news for the Falcons organization–but bad news for fantasy owners–was that Ryan didn’t have a receiver top 100 receiving yards in the game.
Ryan completed passes to eight different receivers and his three touchdown passes were to three different receivers. The one downside of Matty Ice’s offense was he finally threw his first interception of the season. Still, Ryan completed 75 percent of his throws and finished the game with a quarterback rating of 107.8 and the interception came in the fourth quarter when the Falcons had complete control of the game..
Michael Turner and the Falcons’ rushing game get a B. The first two games of the season were not kind to the Falcons ground game. While it wasn’t a career day for the former Charger, his 5.7 yards per carry was a vast improvement of the sub-three yards per carry of the past two weeks. As a team, the Falcons finally broke the century mark in rushing with 119 yards for a respectable 4.6 yards per carry.
Atlanta will return to the Georgia Dome next week to face fellow NFC South rival, the Carolina Panthers September 30th. Atlanta leads the all-time series 22-12, but the teams have split the season series each time since 2006.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.