Two of the worst defenses met up in a predictable high scoring game. For the second week in a row the Falcons found themselves in a game that came down to the last seconds. Also, for the second week in a row, the game ended with the same result, a loss. The Falcons lost 37-36 to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
The game started in the way most expected. Both teams went back and forth marching down the field and exchanging touchdowns. The Falcons continued their offensive success. Matt Ryan and his offense came into the game with 9 straight touchdowns in 9 trips to the red zone. They tacked on two more touchdowns before ending the streak with a red zone stop in the second quarter. The first punt of the game was not until the third quarter.
Ryan continued to spread the ball around the offense by giving two offensive players their first trips to the end zone. Ito Smith got his first career touchdown and Logan Paulsen caught his first touchdown this year in the first quarter. Calvin Ridley strengthened his case for “Rookie of the Year” by catching his 6th touchdown this season. The leader of the offense has now thrown eight touchdowns with no interceptions in the last two losses of the season.
The Falcons defense was the big concern going into this game. In the first quarter, Vic Beasley went out with an apparent ankle injury, but came back into the game and helped get pressure on the quarterback for the rest of the game. The Falcons defense actually came alive after an unfortunate injury to the Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert. The depleted defense was able to get two back to back 3rd down stops that ended in sacks. Takk McKinley, who was missed in last week’s game, had an impressive day. McKinley was able to get to Andy Dalton, and get three sacks in the game. Damontae Kazee had an at-the-time big interception but in the end it was Desmond Trufant’s dropped interception that could have won the game for Atlanta.
The game had no punts and no turnovers in the first half, but both defenses turned it around and began to make stops. The veteran kicker, Matt Bryant, did what he is loved for and made a 55-yard field goal going into halftime. The Falcons special teams got a huge momentum shifting play by blocking a punt in the third quarter. The block punt gave the Falcons the ball inside of the 15-yard line and summed up the frustrations of coming up short by only getting three points out of the deal.
The Falcons have dug themselves into a hole with this second home lose, especially playing in the tough NFC South division. They will face another test having to visit the Pittsburg Steelers next Sunday.