In the Falcon’s second preseason game they hosted the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs first team offense played the entire first half. On their 2nd drive they scored a field goal and their lone touchdown of the half came after the starters were no longer in the game. The first team defense looks like it could be a top five unit in the league this year. Atlanta currently 31 rookies on its roster, while the average for the NFL is 21. Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Matt Bryant, and Deion Jones did not play. Let’s dive deeper into the game.
Atlanta’s offense looked much better in this game compared to last week. Brandon Fusco got the starting nod at right guard. The Falcons scored a touchdown on their opening drive as Austin Hooper leapt over a defender to find the end zone. Atlanta found themselves in scoring position on their first four drives. Two of those drives resulted in touchdowns, while the other two ended on failed fourth down conversions. Matt Ryan played two drives completing 5 of 7 pass attempts for 90 yards and a score. Calvin Ridley scored his first touchdown of the season on the Falcons third drive. The rook finished the game with 3 receptions for 49 yards and a score.
A I R H O O P E R
Slow motion for ya. 😏 pic.twitter.com/SXgE41VpDw
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 17, 2018
Atlanta’s starting defense looked very good again in this game. On the Chiefs opening series they went 3-and-out. Damontae Kazee shined again, he had the lone interception for the Falcons. No one stood out in this game besides the starters. Isaiah Oliver was burned by Gehrig Dieter in the second half. Oliver was caught reaching in press coverage and he couldn’t recover. Keanu Neal made a routine tackle on the second drive, but was flagged for helmet-to-helmet contact even though he led with his shoulder. The new helmet rule continues to be a problem in the preseason. It was reported that the referees were told to just throw the flag during these preseason games. Let’s hope it doesn’t carry over into the regular season.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 18, 2018
On the opening kickoff Calvin Ridley returned the kick for 34 yards showing his speed and elusiveness. Ridley was the return man alongside Justin Hardy for the kickoffs, while Hardy was the punt returner while they were both in the game. When Ridley came out of the game Ito Smith was the primary kickoff returner, while Marvin Hall manned the punts. Ito muffed the two kickoffs that he was in for, but recovered both of them and had enough time to return the first for 23 yards, and the second for 10. The returner position looks to be an open battle and should remain this way throughout the rest of the preseason.
Again, nobody was injured! Atlanta looked much more impressive and comfortable in this game on both sides of the football. They still had 5 penalties for 40 yards, but played much more disciplined. Atlanta is now 0-2 in the preseason, but we finally got to see rookie Calvin Ridley showcase his skills and the offense looked to be much more in rhythm. Atlanta heads to Jacksonville next Saturday for their 3rd preseason game.