Atlanta Falcons: Well, No Worries From the Defense

Tim DarnellContributor ISeptember 14, 2009

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Mike Peterson #53 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after a defensive stop against the Miami Dolphins at Georgia Dome on September 13, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

While most prognosticators predicted little to worry about from the Atlanta Falcons offense, just as many were making dire predictions regarding the other side of the ball.

If Sunday's solid 19-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins was any indication, the only area of concern for this squad surrounds the kicking game.

The Falcons defense smothered, contained and stuffed the Dolphins' formerly heralded offensive attack, giving up only a meaningless touchdown late in the game.

LB Mike Peterson, the only significant defensive free agent signed in the off-season, came up with a crucial interception that stopped a pretty solid Dolphin drive.

Miami head coach Tony Sporano was frequently seen raging up and down his sideline, obviously frustrated at an unexpectedly stiff Falcons D.

At the same time, QB Matt Ryan was solid, throwing two TD passes and rapidly convincing observers that he has a new favorite target in future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez.

WR Roddy White was somewhat ineffective in the contest, so it'll be interesting to see how things shape up in terms of receiving options.

Kicker Jason Elam had a horrible day, missing two field goals and an extra point. Expect Head Coach Mike Smith to give Elam a few games to work out his problems, but the 17-year vet must show improvement next week.

And about next week: if they play the kind of defense they did against the Fins, the Falcons may force Jake Delhomme into an early season retirement.

Delhomme was terrible in Carolina's season opener, and the Falcons can put a serious damper on one of their division rivals come Sept. 20.


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