Falcons win first of ‘Smitty’ Era
The Falcons won their first preseason game with a 17-3 victory over the Tennessee Titans. It marked the first of hopefully many under new head coach Mike Smith and hope that it’s somewhat a preview of what will be to come in the regular season with many of the team’s starters getting extended minutes.
Matt Ryan got a taste of the starting position playing the entire first half and a series in the second. He finished the game completing 15 of 21 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. Chris Redman replaced him and finished the game with 83 passing yards and completing 9 of 11 attempts. On the ground, Jerious Norwood despite an early injury led the team with 4 carries for 53 yards. Jason Snelling added 46 yards on 9 carries. Thomas Brown had 7 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown. Brian Finneran and Michael Jenkins led the receivers with 5 grabs each for 53 and 44 yards, respectively. Harry Douglas had 4 grabs for 19 yards and 1 score.
Defensively the Falcons were tough, limiting the Titans offense to 215 total yards. Curtis Lofton got his first start and led the team with 6 stops. Lawyer Milloy (5 tackles), Kroy Biermann (4 tackles, 1 sack), John Abraham (4 tackles, 1 sack), Michael Boley (4 tackles), Erik Coleman (3 tackles), Brent Grimes (2 tackles), Chevis Jackson (1 tackle, 1 interception), and Willie Evans (1 tackle, 1 sack) had notable performances as well.
Jason Elam connected on one of his two field goals making a 49-yarder. Michael Koenen had 5 punts for an average of 39.6 yards with 3 booted inside the 20-yard line. Thomas Brown had 2 kickoff returns for an average of 21 yards, and Adam Jennings had a solid outing, averaging 18 yards on 5 punt returns.
Next week the Falcons close out their exhibition schedule on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, hoping to build some more momentum with another win heading into the regular season.