By: Gabriele Watts
If you are a Falcons fan, then you’re probably used to the occasional heart-stopping, back and forth, change-in-score game, with the Falcons almost never coming out on top as of late. On Sunday, however, the game between the Cowboys and Falcons seemed to have a different feel to it than those from the past, and surprisingly, the good guys (Falcons) were the last team standing.
A Tale of Two Halves
Coming into this game, many people speculated that the Falcons would have no trouble jumping out to an early lead and keeping it throughout, because of the fact that the Cowboys are decimated with injuries to key players on offense and defense (i.e. Dez Bryant & Tony Romo). However, that proved to not be the case, as the new starting quarterback for the team, Brandon Weeden, orchestrated a near perfect first half. Besides Weeden throwing 13 straight completions, (had an INT late in the second quarter) the run game was also effective, with Joseph Randle gashing the Falcons with huge chunks of yardage and multiple touchdowns.
To everyone’s surprise, including my own, this newly revamped, Dan Quinn-led defense suddenly could not tackle properly, couldn’t put pressure on a shaky-at-best quarterback, and couldn’t keep up with what the Cowboys were doing at all. To be honest, after the Cowboys had run it down our throats on consecutive drives for touchdowns, in unison with successfully stopping our offense, I was ready to mail it in. I thought that the Cowboys’ momentum was too great and the Falcons had no chance to win, much less, even keep up. Clearly, I was still living in the Mike Smith era.
Fortunately, the Falcons did just enough to keep themselves in the game in the first half. With two touchdowns by Devonta Freeman and a field goal that was the result of a masterful 40 second drive by Matty Ice, the Falcons had the Cowboys right where they wanted them.
To start the second half, the Falcons defense looked inspired and ready to play. They successfully were able to stop the run, as well as those little short passes over the middle that Weeden grew accustomed to throwing in the first half. With the defense showing some fight, the offense started to pick up as well. We all know what Julio Jones can do, and yes, he did it again, finishing with 12 catches for 164 yards and 2 TDs.
Jones set an NFL record for receptions through the first 3 games with 34. He is currently on pace for over 180 catches for over 2,200 yards, which would both be NFL records. However, in my opinion, Jones wasn’t the MVP of the game.
All Day Devonta
The MVP turned out to be Devonta Freeman, the second-year RB out of the national champion, Florida State Seminoles. He finished with an incredible 30 carries for 141 yards and 3 tocuhdowns! Freeman became the only running back to rush for 100+ yards and three touchdowns in a game since the days of Michael Turner.
For me, I was extremely proud and happy for Devonta. You can tell he works very hard at his craft and cares deeply about his teammates. Who would have thought that he would be the one to put the team on his back and essentially carry them to victory?
In the end, all I have to say is Dan Quinn is doing a heck of a job with this team. They never give up, no matter the circumstances. Quinn’s Falcons are the first team in NFL history to start 3-0 after trailing in the 4th quarter of all three games. He’s got this team believing that they can win any and all of their games. That, to me, is recipe for success. Who knows, maybe even a recipe for a “super” season.
- TE Jacob Tamme left the game and did not return due to a concussion.
- FS Ricardo Allen left the game due to a leg injury as well, but eventually returned to the game.
- The Falcons return home next week to face the Houston Texans. Look out for Brooks Reed—something tells me he’ll be playing in this game against his former team.