Facing off against the Ravens on Thursday night and an offense that fields Pro Bowl-caliber players, Atlanta’s defense began to put some of those conversations to bed.
They gave up a big play in the first half, a 77-yard touchdown to Torrey Smith, so the defense knows it has got to continue to cut down on the big play, but in general the effort the unit left out on the field against the Ravens is something to build on.
“I think we played pretty good,” cornerback
The Falcons played heads-up football throughout the first half against the Super Bowl champs and it was never more evident than on
With a very short field to work with, the Falcons offense scored a 2-yard touchdown on the first play after the turnover. Last season the Falcons scored 103 points on their 31 takeaways, the ninth-best performance in the league and an improvement there would be a big step for the 2013 defense.
“I think they did a very good job on stopping the run,” head coach Mike Smith said. “The statistics were certainly in our favor but again it’s a 60-minute game. It’s a four-quarter game and we’re all playing to win. We didn’t get that done (Thursday night), but I am encouraged that we were able to go through this evaluation process and see improvement from Week 1 to Week 2.”
One of the key cogs in Thursday’s run-stopping defense is a familiar face, but one that may be on the verge of a true breakout season. Defensive tackle
In 2012, Babineaux recorded 8.5 tackles for loss, the second-highest mark among all defensive tackles. It’s nothing new for the DT, since 2005, his 49.5 tackles for loss are the most by any defensive tackle in football.
Worrilow was a bright spot among the younger players fighting for roster spots in the second half. He finished with another game leading the team in tackles, this time with six. He added a sack on the night as well.
The defense, however, wasn’t just good against the run. The 77-yard touchdown play glares, but that aside, the Falcons shut down the Ravens offense. In the first quarter Baltimore only managed one first down and just two in the second quarter. Atlanta held the Ravens to a 1-for-5 conversion rate on third downs and allowed 131 yards of net offense in the first half.