The Falcons kicked off their 2010 season with a win in their first exhibition game over the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 20-10.
Several starters were out of the lineup, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but the Falcons pushed ahead. Matt Ryan appeared in two series, completing 3 of 6 passes for 34 yards. He was subbed by Chris Redman who completed 4 of 7 passes for 30 yards. John Parker Wilson made his appearance midway through the third quarter, and finished the game completing 7 of 15 passes for 64 yards. On the ground, Michael Turner had 4 carries for 29 yards. Jason Snelling subbed in with 24 yards on 11 carries. It was then time for Antone Smith and Dimitri Nance to finish the game with Jerious Norwood out of the lineup. Smith led the team with 36 yards on 12 carries. But Nance added 2 touchdowns, totaling 6 yards on 6 carries. In the air, the Falcons had five different receivers tie for the lead with two receptions. Tony Gonzalez, Kerry Meier, and Nance had two grabs each for 28, 27, and 26 yards respectively. Troy Bergeron had 2 catches for 13 yards, and Michael Palmer had 12 yards on 2 grabs. Roddy White had 1 reception for 22 yards. Nance’s second rushing touchdown capped off a twenty-play drive that nearly took up ten full minutes in the third quarter.
The Falcons defense had a strong start. They held the Chiefs to a three and out on their first offensive drive, and then Kroy Biermann forced a fumble on their next series. On the Chiefs next two successive series, which still featured starter Matt Cassel at quarterback, the Chiefs were forced to two long 53-yard field goals that they missed. The Falcons got their second turnover on a Shann Schillinger interception in the third quarter, which set up Nance’s first touchdown run. The Chiefs next offensive series was capped by a Chevis Jackson interception which led to three more points for the Falcons. The Falcons did not relent their only touchdown until 20 seconds remaining in the game with a 1-yard sneak from quarterback Tyler Palko. Spencer Adkins led defenders with 6 tackles. Curtis Lofton (5 tackles) and many of the Falcons starters in the back seven got extension playing time through the entire first half due to injuries. Kroy Biermann (2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble), Erik Coleman (4 tackles), Thomas DeCoud (3 tackles), Dominique Franks (3 tackles), Chevis Jackson (2 tackles, 1 INT), Stephen Nicholas (4 tackles), Chris Owens (4 tackles), Sean Weatherspoon (4 tackles), and Bear Woods (3 tackles) all had noteworthy games.
Special teams didn’t fare quite as well. Matt Bryant got the Falcons first on the board with a 30-yard field goal in the first quarter. Steven Hauschka would later add a 37-yarder in the fourth quarter. Hauschka missed a 53-yarder that hit off the front crossbar early in the game. Bryant also missed from 50 yards on a kick that sailed wide right. Coverage units had a few slips. Chiefs rookie Javier Arenas took a Hauschka-kickoff 99 yards for a school, but it was fortunately nullified by a holding penalty. Arenas also had a 42-yard return that wasn’t nullified by penalty. Punt coverage did a little better thanks to the punter. Michael Koenen had 3 punts for an average of 44.3 yards, forcing two fair catches inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems had the team’s lone kickoff return for 31 yards, and also returned a punt for 9 yards. Dominique Franks also field punts, but had two fair catches.
The Falcons will take on the New England Patriots next week on Thursday night. It will be their second and last home preseason game. It will follow some joint practices with the Patriots next week.