Skip to main content

Five Things: Titans 24, Falcons 17

1. Falcons Go Up Early: It didn't take Falcons QB Matt Ryan and the first-team offense long to get on the board in front of the home crowd on Saturday night. Falcons WR Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 26 yards, before Ryan led an 11-play scoring drive that covered 79 yards in 6:22, ending with a 31-yard TD pass to Hester, his second-receiving TD in two weeks.

2. Matt Ryan Shines: The Falcons QB said he wanted to see a lot things in this third preseason game, including the most obvious, scoring some points — mission accomplished. Ryan finished the night 18-of-23 for 224 yards and 2 TDs, leading to a 136.2 passer rating; he also added one rush for 6 yards. Through three preseason games, Ryan has gone 28 of 37 for 314 yards, with two TDs, 0 INTs and a QB passer rating of 118.5.

3. Falcons D Responds: The Falcons first-team defense showed big improvements in Week 3. During the Titans opening drive of the game, the Falcons defense forced a quick three-and-out, thanks to a huge hit by CB Robert Alford for no gain, followed by a pass breakup by Falcons S Dwight Lowery. Falcons LB Paul Worrilow logged a QB sack on the team's second defensive drive and on the third drive, Alford sacked Titans QB Jake Locker for a 9-yard loss, eventually leading to a punt. While Locker got revenge, finding WR Nate Washington for a 63-yard TD, the Falcons first defensive unit kept the Titans off the scoreboard, during their final two drives of the night (into the third quarter).

4. The Julio Jones Factor: In his first game back in the Georgia Dome, since the Week 5 foot injury last season, Jones grabbed a short pass from Ryan, made some moves, maximized a huge block from WR Harry Douglas and scored from 52 yards out, giving the Falcons a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. Jones finished the night with two catches for 63 yards, including the 52-yard score.

5: Devin Hester's WR Skills: The Atlanta Falcons signed Hester as their primary specialist in punt and kickoff returns, but he also admitted he wants to help add an extra component to an already-potent Falcons offense; he did both on Saturday night. Hester started early with the 26-yard kickoff return, but that was just the beginning as he showed unbelievable chemistry with Ryan, grabbing four receptions for 56 yards, including the 31-yard TD. Even after the Falcons first-team offense was done for the night, I still saw Hester and Ryan communicating on the sideline, likely talking about what went so well; at the very least, Falcons fans have to be thrilled with Hester's impact thus far, a sign of great things to come in 2014.

Extra Reps: OT Mike Johnson suffered a foot injury in the first quarter and did not return. ... Falcons rookie safety Dezmen Southward went to the locker room in the second half to be evaluated for a possible head injury and did not return. ... WR Eric Weems suited up and participated in special teams, a little bit more than 48 hours after being signed by the Falcons.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content