The Falcons closed out the preseason with a tough loss to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 20-3. It was marked by a lackluster offensive performance in which most of the starters were pulled in the first quarter.
Matt Ryan started the game and played in only one series before being pulled. He finished with 13 yards passing, completing his lone pass attempt. John Parker Wilson entered the game, and completed 13 of 19 passes for 80 yards. D.J. Shockley closed out the game, completing 2 of 6 passes for 15 yards and 1 interception. Thomas Brown led rushers with 39 yards on 11 carries. Jason Snelling added 21 yards on 8 carries, while Michael Turner had 2 carries for 12 yards. Troy Bergeron led receivers with 3 grabs for 23 yards. Eric Weems had 3 catches for 10 yards. Keith Zinger, Robert Ferguson, and Jason Rader each had a pair of receptions for 19, 10, and 9 yards respectively. The Ravens defense limited the Falcons to 175 total yards for the entire game.
Defensively, the Falcons played better as the game progressed, allowing 276 yards total and the Ravens converted 7 of 16 third downs. The Ravens drove 91 yards for a score on their opening drive, but then held the Ravens scoreless until 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Kroy Biermann led defenders with 6 tackles and a sack. Tony Gilbert (4 tackles), Peria Jerry (4 tackles, 1 sack), Curtis Lofton (4 tackles), Jamie Winborn (4 tackles), Spencer Adkins (3 tackles), Jamaal Anderson (3 tackles, 1 sack), Maurice Lucas (2 tackles, 1 sack), had noteworthy games.
Jason Elam’s 45-yard field goal was the team’s lone score. But he missed his second attempt of 35 yards. Michael Koenen averaged 34.7 yards on 7 punts, with 2 placed inside the 20-yard line. Chandler Williams averaged 28.3 yards on 3 kickoff returns, while Eric Weems had 7 yards on his lone punt return.
The Falcons coaches will use this game mostly to find out who makes the final roster. Teams will have to finalize their 53-man rosters by Saturday, however typically the Falcons have made their cuts as early as possible, meaning moves could come as soon as tomorrow. The regular season kicks off for the Falcons with a home game against the Miami Dolphins. Their last home game against the Dolphins was a late season rout in 1998 in which they won 38-16. Their last meeting with the Dolphins also was a victory back in 2005. Current Falcons head coach Mike Smith is 1-0 on opening day. The Falcons have won 5 of their last 6 opening games, and 5 of their last 7 openers when played at home.