The Falcons completed their final preseason game of 2018 without a single win, a repeat of last year. The Dolphins beat Atlanta 34-7. This was virtually a meaningless game for Atlanta. Not one of their starters played in the game, several of the starters weren’t even dressed. Thankfully Atlanta doesn’t have many roster battles. Ricky Ortiz dressed for the game, but did not participate. It appears he may have won the fullback battle. On August 28th Dan Quinn named Brandon Fusco the starter at right guard.
Kurt Benkert started the game for Atlanta. Benkert played well into the second half and completed 10 of his 26 passes, while throwing two interceptions. Both of his interceptions were off of deflected passes. It’s safe to say that Matt Schaub has no competition for the backup position. Benkert should find himself on the practice squad, while Garrett Grayson will very likely be cut. It wasn’t a good game for Reggie Davis, who is fighting for a roster spot. He had several drops, one of them which would have been a touchdown. The lone bright spot on offense was rookie running back Malik Williams. He scored Atlanta’s only touchdown and hurdled a defender on a previous possession. Malik left the game with a shoulder injury.
The defense allowed 216 yards and 24 points in the first half alone. They were gashed on the ground by the run game, as well as many screen passes to the running backs. Richard Jarvis and Anthony Winbush each tallied a sack. Chris Lammons ripped a ball out of a receivers hands before he went to the ground. There wasn’t much to be excited about on the defensive side of the ball. On the bright side the only Falcons player that will see playing time that was in the game was Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Unfortunately, he also left the game with a shoulder injury. Look for the Falcons defensive starters to potentially have a top 5 unit this season.
There was a lot of kicking in this game for the Falcons. They punted the ball 11 times, while the Dolphins only had 5 punts. Only one of those five punts was returned by rookie Isiah Oliver for a mere 5 yards. The Falcons only returned one kickoff in the ball game. Rookie, Justin Crawford, had the lone return for 18 yards. Quinn has not confirmed who the starting returners will be, but I have a hunch that Calvin Ridley may get the nod on the kickoffs as he is such a versatile weapon.
This was a very rough game to watch as the offense could barely muster up many positive possessions, and the defense virtually let the Dolphins score at will in the first half. On the positive spectrum the first team offense looked good in the 2ndand 3rdpreseason games and the starting defense has looked tremendous so far this preseason. We are only 6 days away from opening kickoff. In a repeat of last year’s divisional game Atlanta will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles.
The countdown to Thursday night begins.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 31, 2018