Falcons vs. Chargers: Atlanta's Winners and Losers from Week 3
The Falcons showed off a complete arsenal of weapons on both sides of the ball. The offense executed against the Chargers defense time and time again.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense, on the other hand, weren’t able to keep up.
Credit the ball-hawking Falcons defense and a shoddy San Diego offensive line for never giving the Chargers a chance to stay in the game. Atlanta took a 20-0 lead at half and didn’t look back.
There were whispers that the Falcons would have a tough time traveling out to San Diego after an impressive Monday night performance.
There won’t be any whispering against Atlanta going forward. This team looks like the real deal.
Mike Shiekman is football junkie who loves to give advice to unsure fantasy owners. He also is a Breaking News writer for Bleacher Report.
Besides one interception when the game was out of reach, Ryan had a magnificent day under the San Diego sun. The Atlanta signal-caller completed 70 percent of his throws and threw for three touchdowns.
Stats don’t tell the whole story, though. Ryan had time to throw all day, and he looked at ease throughout the afternoon carving up the San Diego secondary. He got everybody involved in the process, throwing to eight different receivers throughout the game.
Loser: The Future of the Atlanta Running Game
The Falcons' game plan early on was to pass, pass and pass again. Atlanta no longer has a ground-and-pound mentality. Quarterback Matt Ryan is being given more freedom in the offense to work with his dynamic receiving core early in games.
As a result, Michael Turner is a complementary player in this offense. Against the Chargers, the Falcons' lead back only had 14 carries on the day, while the running backs combined for 26 carries total.
A changing of the guard couldn’t have been more obvious on Atlanta’s fist drive. The Falcons were within 10 yards of a score, but decided to throw to the end zone with Ryan. Jacquizz Rodgers, not Turner, took a pass out of the flat for their first score.
Winner: Atlanta Pass Rush
Part of Philip River’s issues throughout this matchup can be credited to the Falcons’ front line.
They only piled up one sack (John Abraham, who else?), but they racked up quarterback hurries and hits throughout. By the end of the third quarter, the Falcons defense had only surrendered three points and the Falcons were in complete control.
It seemed that even when the San Diego offense had the ball, their opponent was in control. Not a good sign for the Chargers offensive line going forward.
Loser: Roddy White
White did not have a strong encore performance after a brilliant one Monday night. He had to play third banana behind Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez in this game.
While this may not be a continuing trend for Atlanta’s top receiver from last season, it seems that Jones is emerging as an equal to White in the passing game. In addition, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has been looking for Gonzalez whenever he’s in the red zone.
Roddy finished with only five receptions and 55 yards on the day. This may be a changing of the guard in the Atlanta offense.
Winner: Tony Gonzalez
Gonzalez continues to drink the Fountain of Youth in his 15th season.
The best tight end of the modern era scored his 98th career touchdown in the second quarter. Instead of doing his patented field-goal post dunk after he scored, “Gonzo” shot a jumper through the uprights.
He may have faked NFL viewers out, but Gonzalez is still his same old self. He played the thorn in the Chargers secondary all game, finishing with nine catches for 91 yards and that one score.
Loser: The Field Goal Team
The Falcons field goal team left a point out on the field today. There's no excuse for not converting the extra point.
A muffed snap prevented the Falcons' from going up 7-0 early in San Diego. Luckily, the mishap did not come back to bite Atlanta, who would never trail in this contest.
The extra point is called "extra" for a reason. If Atlanta is going to make a deep run into the postseason, they'll need all the points they can get. Hopefuly for Matt Bosher and Co., this will be the last issue they have on field goals.
Winner: Julio Jones Fantasy Owners
It wasn’t a banner day for Jones, but fantasy owners avoided a potential injury in the game’s second quarter.
It was reported that Jones had suffered a hand injury and had been checked out in the locker room. While fantasy owners held their breath, Jones came back onto the field towards the end of the quarter. He would catch a touchdown right before the end of the half.
Jones finished the game with five catches, 67 yards and a score.
Loser: Julio Jones Injury Reporters
Julio Jones out with a hand injury. That man is comprised of tissue paper.
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) September 23, 2012
Boy, did they get punked.
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