The Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs face off on Sunday afternoon in the Georgia Dome. Here are photos from the game.
Berry Wreaks Havoc in Georgia Homecoming:Chiefs safety Eric Berry, an Atlanta native, turned in a stellar game by picking off Ryan twice – once on a 1st and 10 in the second quarter, once on a two-point try – and taking both to the house. Berry's second interception occurred following an Aldrick Robinson touchdown catch and gave Kansas City a one-point edge with 4:32 left in regulation.
"It was a poor play on my part," Ryan said about his second INT. "We were expecting combination coverage to the outside, and Eric Berry did a good job of coming down off and going onto the tight end. So it's a disappointing play, bad play on my part. And ultimately that was a tough one. So I'm disappointed with it, we'll learn from it and try to be better moving forward."
Pass Defense Struggles: Kansas City QB Alex Smith was efficient from start to finish, completing 21 of 25 throws for 270 yards and a touchdown. Atlanta had a hard time containing the Chiefs pass-catchers – especially TE Travis Kelce, who led the way with eight receptions for 140 yards. A number of missed tackles downfield hurt the Falcons defense, which surrendered 8.1 yards per snap and allowed a bevy of explosive plays.
"I do know some missed tackles – usually that comes down to leverage," head coach Dan Quinn said. "I know those are correctable and fixable. No need for us to go further than that until I look at the tape with them and get those issues corrected."
Chiefs' Special Teams Risk Pays Off: On the opening drive of the second half, the Chiefs faked a punt on 4th and 1 from their own 45 and Albert Wilson ran up the middle for a touchdown, giving his club a 27-16 lead. It was a substantial risk by Kansas City head coach Andy Reid – one that paid off in a big way.
Julio, Devonta Shine: Julio Jones turned in another fantastic performance, this time reeling in seven passes for 113 yards, marking the seventh time he eclipsed 100 receiving yards this year. His first reception of the day resulted in a big milstone: By grabbing a 16-yard catch, Jones leapfrogged Terance Mathis for the second-most receiving yards in franchise history.
Devonta Freeman excelled vs. Kansas City, too, finishing with 105 yards of offense and two touchdown runs. He now has 25 TD in his career; Gerald Riggs (26) is the only Falcon to have more in his first three NFL seasons, according to Pro Football Reference. Freeman has four games to tie and surpass that mark.
He also reached 1,000 yards from scrimmage on the year, making him the first Atlanta RB to do so in back-to-back seasons since Michael Turner in 2010-11.
"He's been awesome since he got here for us," Ryan said about Freeman. "He's been extremely productive, specifically the last two years in terms of scoring touchdowns and making people miss. He's done a good job. He did a great job. I thought he played really, really well today."
Bryant Comes Through in the Clutch: With two seconds left in the first half, Matt Bryant converted on a 59-yard field goal attempt, which is tied for the longest FG by a Falcon (Morten Andersen also made a 59-yarder in 1995). It was the second-longest NFL kick made by Bryant, who booted a 62-yarder in 2006 when he was with Tampa Bay.