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Falcons Looking For Another Fast Start

Posted Dec 20, 2012

A fast start is among the top goals of the Falcons each week. In the last two weeks, they've seen what happens when they start strong and when they don't. Against the Lions, they hope to have a repeat of last week, not the week before.

While the first score of the day last week against the Giants came from the offense, specifically the running game, most Falcons on offense point to the defense as the reason for the fast start.

On the first pass of the game for New York, just the second play of the game, Asante Samuel picked off Eli Manning and set up the Falcons on the New York 16-yard line. Four runs later, Michael Turner had Atlanta on the board early and the scoring just continued from there on out.

It was the fast start the Falcons had been looking for and with all the stats that support a quick start for Atlanta on either side of the ball equating to a win, it's no wonder that's how they want to begin the game.

“It was a great opportunity for us," Turner said. "It got the team going a little bit. It really started with Asante (Samuel) getting that interception early and giving us that great field position.”

The Falcons are 41-10 in games since 2008 when they score first and their 224 points on first possessions leads the NFL in that time frame, well ahead of second place New England with 201 points.

The week prior to the Giants game, the Falcons experienced what can happen when they don't start fast on either side of the ball. Things can escalate quickly and against the Panthers, the Falcons found themselves behind the eight ball and could never recover. The Falcons didn't put points on the board until the third quarter, and at that point they had created a 23-7 deficit that they couldn't fully overcome.

Against the Lions this week, both sides of the ball have their eyes on another fast start after experiencing the opposite ends of the spectrum of jumping out early in the last two weeks.

“We definitely have to start fast," linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. "We’ve been in that situation before.”

A fast start feeds each side of the ball. A turnover from the defense gets the offense and a score as a result of a turnover causes the defense to want to go out and do it again. Having the ball in your hands often usually means an edge in time of possession as well. Any time an offense can turn their possessions into points frequently, good things will happen as the time of possession margin grows.

Against the Giants, the Falcons held a 38:57-21:03 margin in time of possession. A day like Sunday shows what can happen when both sides of the ball are firing on all cylinders.

“I think time of possession was big for us last week," QB Matt Ryan said. "We did a good job with it, but it all started with our defense creating a turnover early. I think that kind of got the momentum going for everybody and we tried to keep up our end of the bargain.”


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