Football is officially here and the 2016 preseason got underway for the Falcons on Thursday night as they hosted the Washington Redskins at the Georgia Dome
In the Falcons' preseason opener, Atlanta's improved speed and physical style of play was on display as head coach Dan Quinn's squad earned a 23-17 win over the Washington Redskins.
After the Falcons' starting offensive unit couldn't get the scoring started in limited snaps, a breakout performance by fourth-year WR Aldrick Robinson in the second quarter provided the spark Atlanta needed. Robinson hauled in three Matt Schaub passes for 118 yards, including a 68-yarder that set up the Falcons' first touchdown of the night.
QB Matt Ryan played only six snaps before Schaub entered the game, when he completed 10-of-15 passes for 179 yards. Sean Renfree and Matt Simms took over in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
With RB Terron Ward being sidelined with an ankle injury and Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman seeing limited time, rookie RB Brandon Wilds, who signed with the team as a college free agent, punched one in the end zone and gave Atlanta its first touchdown of the night.
Perhaps the most exciting play of the night occurred when rookie college free agent J.D. McKissic returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to start the second half.
The tackling element of Atlanta's game looked much-improved, as the defensive players were flying around and flocking to the ball.
Rookie linebackers De'Vondre Campbell and Deion Jones showed well in their debut as Falcons, each recording a tackle for loss.