The Atlanta Falcons came up short 24-19 against the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night. This loss marks the Falcons’ sixth consecutive preseason loss dating back to last preseason.
Continuing the theme from last game, the Falcons (offensive) starters looked great, and the backups looked not-so-great.
– Matt Ryan was on point. He completed eleven consecutive passes before his first incompletion. He was pulled after leading the Falcons on a touchdown drive in the second quarter, capped with a two-yard pass to newly-signed fullback Lousaka Polite. Ryan ended the night going 18/21 for 174 yards and a touchdown.
– The offensive line gave up a bit of pressure on the first drive but shored up fantastically thereafter. Ryan was neither hit nor sacked once, and he had plenty of time to make throws down the field.
– The Falcons ran several screens, including one designed for Harry Douglas and another for Michael Turner.
– Jacquizz Rodgers has to get the ball a lot more. He may be short, but he’s extremely quick, has good hands, and packs a punch; he has no qualms with lowering his shoulder. He also had a few nice gainers on both screens and rushing plays. I’ll go ahead and say it: he’s much more explosive than Michael Turner.
– Peria Jerry is looking much better. He’s now two years removed from his ACL injury, so he’s fully healed. Jerry generated a bit of pressure and was able to notch a sack. However, he was flagged for roughing the passer after he slammed Andy Dalton to the ground.
– I really like how Travian Robertson has looked this preseason. With how the Falcons like to rotate their defensive linemen, he’ll be an invaluable substitution.
– Dominique Davis looks like he’ll beat out John Parker Wilson (who really needs to go back to the practice squad) for the third quarterback job. Davis was able to lead the backup Falcons on a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. He has nice arm and exhibits good mobility in and outside the pocket.
– Dunta Robinson blitzed several times from the nickelback position.
– The backups still need work.
– Although the offensive line shored up for Ryan, the second and third-stringers played pretty terribly. Chris Redman was pressured and hit on several dropbacks.
– Asante Samuel’s gambling nature resulted in a 50-yard touchdown for A.J. Green. Samuel tried to sit on Green’s route, but Green shot past him for the catch and score.
– Turner looked awfully slow. He finished with three carries for -3 yards. He was met in the backfield on a couple of his carries, though, so those particular plays are the fault of the offensive line. However, on the one carry where he had a semblance of a hole, he was slow to get there before being bottled up.
– Replacement referees – Jonathan Babineaux prevented Dalton from scrambling out of the pocket, only to be hit with a phantom facemask call. To make matters worse, they placed the ball 13 yards from the spot of the foul instead of the correct 15 yards.