After perhaps the worst half of football in franchise history the Falcons played perhaps the best third quarter in franchise history. It was a complete Jekyll and Hyde performance. They were as bad as they were good. I don’t know what the coaching staff said at half time, but they need to tattoo it on everyone’s brain. Perhaps it was a magic potion of Gatorade whoever made it needs to make it forever.
They wore the same uniforms, had the same faces, they looked the same, but they didn’t play the same. Somehow they were transformed. It was a half of football to forget; Matt Ryan threw his 6th interception of the season at a critical time just outside the red zone. They were undisciplined committing 8 penalties for 58 yards. Devastating was the 6 penalties that allowed the Colts to extend drives which contributed to converting 21 first downs. Others were just plain bad defensively Jack Crawford had two encroachment calls, Grady Jarrett got caught trying to escape the field as they tried to change to a new defensive package (illegal participation 12 men on the field). Campbell was holding in the end zone, Quinn had to call timeout on defense at the goal line the team was totally out of sync.
Meanwhile, the Colts accepted each gift. They established the run immediately blasting Marlon Mack right up into the teeth of the defense to set the tone. Their outstanding performance resulted in two scoring drives of more than 90 yards. Not bad for a team struggling to find their identity after star quarterback Andrew Luck stunned the football world by retiring thrusting Jacoby Brissett into the starting role.
The falcons made him look like a pro bowler. He started the game completing 12-12 passes and a touchdown. It was a perfect pump fake to the motioning running back the Falcons defense over-committed he set up and tossed a picture-perfect pass to a wide-open Zach Pascal for an 18-yard touchdown. It was a complete breakdown by the defense.
The Falcons primary focus was to stop the run disrespecting Brissett’s’ ability to throw. They looked unprepared therefore vulnerable. Before they realized it was a nightmare, the score was 20-3, and they were standing behind the woodshed dealing with the aftermath feeling victimized.
The Falcons came into the game ranked as the #1 defense against the pass allowing only 167 yards per game. Jacoby Brissett had 218 yards completing 21-27 passes and 2 touchdowns at halftime.
Thank goodness they were saved by the bell. They went into the locker room; something happened, call it a coming to Jesus moment or perhaps, it was some good ole fashion hell-raising. Whatever it was, it was miraculous. A team that couldn’t avoid self-inflicted wounds suddenly was operating with surgeon-like precision. It was a thing of beauty; Matt Ryan orchestrated an 8 play 75-yard scoring drive. A short pass to Luke Stocker, 16 yards to Mohamed Sanu on third and eight, 6 yards to Justin Hardy, then a dagger 34 yards to Julio Jones to set up Austin Hooper for the 13-yard touchdown pass across the middle.
The Falcons dominated the third quarter gaining 156 yards and crippling the Colts forcing -5 yards. Matt Ryan was impressive going 12\12 for 133 yards. Their next scoring drive was 16 plays, 78 yards, and lasted a whopping 9:56. Suddenly the score was 20-17; it was one of the most amazing turnarounds I have ever seen. They brought fans to the edge of their seats, but the Colts held on to come out victorious 24-27. I guess if you start the game with a field goal doinking off the goal post but falls through, it’s your day, it was the Colts, just as the Falcons were saved by the bell at halftime. The Colts
Interesting facts of the game
- Falcons came into the game averaging 65 yards rushing.
- Devonta Freeman looked great early (7-65 yards first half) finished with 16 carries 88 yards
- Matt Ryan first half 7-11 for 88 yards finished 29-34 for 304 yards, 3 Td’s, 1 int
- 16 penalties 128 yards
- Julio Jones 8-128 yards, 1 TD, 7th straight game with a touchdown, 51st time over 100 yards
- Ridley had no catches in the first half finished with only 1 catch for 6 yards
- Grady Jarrett ended the game early with a toe injury
- Keanu Neal tore his Achilles out for the season the second year in a row
- Ito Smith concussion
Next on the schedule for the Atlanta Falcons are the Tennessee Titans Sept. 29, 2019, at home in Mercedes Benz Stadium.