The Falcons got off to an early lead in their season opener, taking down the Detroit Lions 34-21. The Falcons took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and pretty much coasted the rest of the game. It was a strong offensive performance by the team and was a very positive performance considering it was the first of the Mike Smith era.
Matt Ryan’s first official NFL start was a success. His first attempt was a 62-yard scoring strike to Michael Jenkins. He finished the game with 161 yards, completing 9 of 13 passes for a touchdown. Michael Turner led the team on the ground with a new team record 220 yards on 22 carries and 2 scores. Jerious Norwood added 93 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. He also had 2 catches for 6 yards. Roddy White led receivers with 2 catches for 54 yards. Jenkins only reception was his 62-yard score.
Defensively, the Falcons were tough. They gave up only 62 yards on the ground, and 262 yards in the air which more mostly accumulated as the Lions were in “catch-up” mode. Michael Boley led the team with 7 tackles. Erik Coleman (6 tackles), Brent Grimes (6 tackles), Lawyer Milloy (5 tackles, 1 interception), John Abraham (4 tackles, 3 sacks), Grady Jackson (4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss), and Curtis Lofton (4 tackles) had noteworthy performances.
Jason Elam shook off any preseason rust, connecting on field goals of 50 and 25 yards. Michael Koenen punted only 3 times for an average of 38.3 yards. Jerious Norwood had 2 kickoff returns for an average of 32.5 yards and Adam Jennings returned 5 punts for a 3-yard average.
The Falcons will travel to Tampa Bay next week to take on the Buccaneers (0-1), hoping to prove that their Week 1 victory was no fluke and get a win over a division opponent.