Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino didn’t have to wait long for his first win as the team defeated the Buffalo Bills 13-10. The Falcons won with on a 1-yard scoring pass to George Cooper from Chris Redman. Redman replaced D.J. Shockley, who left the game with a leg injury after leading the Falcons on a lengthy game-winning drive.
Joey Harrington started the game, completing 4 of 7 passes for 31 yards and an interception. Redman replaced him early in the second quarter and played through the third period. He led Falcon passers with 90 yards, while completing 11 of 21 passes for a touchdown and an interception. Shockley was 4 of 5 for 46 yards in his lone drive in the fourth quarter. Jason Snelling got the start at running back, and led the team with 50 yards on 12 carries (4.2 avg). Arlen Harris got the majority share of work in the second half, ending the game with 33 yards on 12 carries (2.8 avg). Shockley added another 18 yards on 3 attempts. Leading the receivers for the second game in a row was rookie Laurent Robinson with 4 catches for 54 yards. Adam Jennings added 3 catches for 26 yards and Eric Weems had 2 catches for 30 yards. Cooper’s scoring grab was his lone reception on the night. The Falcons starters got the majority of work in the first quarter, but were held scoreless. One drive ended on a Harrington interception, while another was a three and out. But the team’s first drive ended on a failed fourth down conversion at the Bills one-yard line, as Jason Snelling was dropped for a two-yard loss.
Defensively, the Falcons played much better, particularly the reserve units. In the first half, the Bills managed to only convert 1 of 7 third down attempts, and were only successful on 3 of 13 for the entire game. Rookies Stephen Nicholas and David Irons led the team with 5 tackles each. The Falcons dropped Bills passers three times, with Daren Stone (4 tackles), Jimmy Williams (4 tackles), and Travis Williams (3 tackles) each recording a sack. Trey Lewis (2 tackles, 2 hurries), Antoine Harris (4 tackles, 1 hurry), T.J. Jackson (3 tackles), and Jamaal Anderson (2 tackles, 1 pass defended) all had notable games.
On special teams, Billy Cundiff converted 2 of 3 field goal attempts, connecting on 32 and 46-yarder but missed a 54-yard attempt at the end of the first half. Adam Anderson had 2 punts for 79 yards and Michael Koenen had 1 for 49 yards. Adam Jennings had a single punt return for 8 yards and a kickoff return for 48 yards.
The Falcons will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals next week in Petrino’s NFL debut as a head coach on Monday Night Football in front of a receptive Georgia Dome crowd.