Early Bird Report: Julio Jones honored Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Week 1

The top Falcons headlines from around the country 

For the 2020 NFL season, players have the option to wear decals on their helmets in support of victims of social injustice. Falcons star receiver Julio Jones chose to honor Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Stanley-Jones died at the age of 7, when a stray bullet hit her during a nighttime raid by police in a Detroit home more than 10 years ago. It's not a story Jones believes should be placed ahead of others, but he believes it is representative of the type of experience black men and women of this country have to think about.

"She was never able to experience her life or have a life, at 7 years old," Jones said. "Me being a child of an African-American, we always have to put ourselves in those situations and wonder what if things like that could have happened to us. Everything about this is tragic. At the end of the day, it's on us to shine a light on it and do something about it."

The officer involved in the shooting, Joseph Weekley, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of a firearm. He stood trial twice but was never convicted of the crime. Jason Butt wrote in greater detail for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Jones's decision to honor Stanley-Jones, which you can read about here.

QB Index, Week 2

Through one week of NFL action, Matt Ryan leads the league with 450 passing yards. That performance was enough to give Ryan a three-spot jump in Chris Wesseling's QB Index ranking on NFL.com. Ryan started the season at No. 8 in the ranking, but he now holds the fifth spot thanks to his notable game in Week 1 against the Seahawks.

"Ryan somehow managed to avoid omnipresent game-wrecker Jamal Adams enough times to rack up 450 yards and a pair of touchdowns to go with a last-second interception on a Hail Mary attempt," Wesseling writes. "That's not a bad day of work against a defense that seemed like it was green-lighted by the officials to hit tight end Hayden Hurst before the ball arrived on multiple occasions. Ryan's five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter was a clinic on precision, timing passing. It's what he does best."

Week 2 NFL power rankings

The weekly power rankings weren't too kind to the Falcons after their 38-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. NFL.com's Dan Hanzus dropped Atlanta six spots after their showing in the season opener. Although they entered the season ranked No. 18 in Hanzus's initial rankings, the Falcons now sit at No. 24 heading into Week 2.

"Give the Falcons this: They put together a beautiful box score on Sunday," Hanzus writes. "Matt Ryan threw for 450 yards and two scores. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Justin Gage each had nine catches and all went over 100 yards for the day. Todd Gurley began his Falcons career with an even 4.0 yards per rush and TD. But the defense had zero answers for the Seahawks' Russell Wilson-led passing attack, and too much of Atlanta's offensive fireworks occurred after the game was already decided. Dan Quinn's team plays from behind too often -- Week 1 felt too much like what we saw last season."

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