Atlanta opened up the 2018 NFL preseason against the New York Jets and failed to put a single point on the board. On the positive spectrum, the first team defense only played one series. During that series the Jets offense went 3 and out. Across the board it was a sloppy game for Atlanta, including 10 penalties for 71 yards. Lets take a closer look at the key takeaways from the game.
Atlanta’s offense was lackluster and reminiscent of last years, but it’s only the preseason and the first team offense was only on the field together for one series. Julio and Devonta suited up, but were inactive for the game. Wes Schweitzer got the start at right guard and Ricky Ortiz was the starting fullback. Calvin Ridley only had one reception that resulted in a loss of two yards on a screen play. The Falcons couldn’t seem to get a running game going, only producing 49 rushing yards on the day. Matt Ryan only attempted one pass, which was the screen to Ridley. Rookie Kurt Benkert saw a majority of the pass attempts. He finished 9/17 passing for 125 yards with one interception and no scores.
On the defensive side of the ball Damontae Kazee was flying around all over the field. During the game it felt like he was involved in every single play while he was on the field. He finished the ball game with 11 tackles. Another player that stood out was Deadrin Senat. He only had two tackles, but he was often penetrating the offensive line and drawing double teams. When he gets the opportunity to play alongside Grady Jarrett they will be a dominant force on the interior line. On the Jets second offensive series Teddy Bridgewater led the team down the field for the first score of the game. Duke Riley was found flat footed as Teddy found Isaiah Crowell on a crossing route and he split through two other defenders for the score. Duke was outplayed by rookie Foye Oluokon during this game. Look for that to be a key preseason battle.
On the Jets first kick return it appeared that the return man had found a seam and could potentially break one to the house, but out of nowhere Marvin Hall made the stop. Hall made his presence felt on special teams and will be a key contributor this season. Marvin was the main punt returner throughout the game and on kickoffs he was back several times with rookies Ito Smith and Isaiah Oliver.
Nobody was injured! Even though Atlanta lost the game and couldn’t muster up a single point, Falcon fans still have a lot to be optimistic about this upcoming season. The first team defense appears it will be a force to be reckoned with this season. On the offensive side of the ball Atlanta was without Julio and Devonta. Once those two are in the game defenses will have a hard time stopping this team on offense this year. On paper this looks like it could be the best defense the Falcons have had in Matt Ryan’s tenure. Atlanta’s next preseason game will be at home on August 17th against the Chiefs. Only 26 more days until they kick off the regular season in Philadelphia.