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Fast Five: Falcons vs. Dolphins


For those who don't have much time, here are five things you need to know about what happened in Friday night's Falcons-Dolphins game to sound like an expert at work Monday:

Third downs on both sides of the ball were not a problem for the Falcons on Friday night. There was a marked improvement in this area, which is something head coach Mike Smith hammered on during the practice week. The Falcons were able to stay on the field on offense and get off it on defense — something they struggled to do against the Patriots last week.

The Falcons' offense didn't struggle to find the end zone when the first-team offense was on the field. Matt Ryan led a couple of great drives during the game, one which resulted in an 18-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White. The offense was also able to move the ball effectively on the ground with Michael Turner. There were even a couple of attempts downfield. Friday was much more of an indication of what the offense is capable of than the previous two weeks were.

Rookie Sean Weatherspoon stepped up in a big way in his third preseason game with the Falcons. Weatherspoon started at outside linebacker in place of Stephen Nicholas. Spoon was able to get close to a sack, and he made several key tackles. The rookie looks much more confident in his game right now than he was in the previous two preseason games, and it's definitely good to see.

The Falcons welcomed back William Moore, Peria Jerry, Jerious Norwood and Brian Williams saw a good amount of time on the field for the first time in the preseason. All played significant roles while showing they've made great progress in their respective rehabilitation training sessions. Cornerback Dunta Robinson did not play Friday.

Speaking of players coming back from time away, Harry Douglas took a gigantic step forward Friday night. The third-year wide receiver is coming off an ACL injury that kept him out all last year, and he really started to hit his stride against the Dolphins. Douglas worked in some during the first half, but really shined in the second half with a couple of clutch catches. His progression can only continue from here.

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