The Falcons talked all week about throwing disguised looks on defense at Denver's Peyton Manning. While he may be one of the most intelligent and aware QBs in history, he's still human and can't recognize everything.Central to disguising on defense is presenting one look and doing something different after the snap. On William Moore's third-quarter sack of Manning to end a Denver drive on third down, that is exactly what happened.
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the mastermind a D that picked off Manning three times in the first quarter, called Moore's number on third down, sent out a disguised look and let his young safety go make a play.
"Coach Nolan trusted me to go in there and make the play," Moore said. "That was a great call, first of all. We disguised it real well with great execution. I was surprised Peyton didn't pick it up because I wasn't even touched."
Trust in Moore paid off for Nolan well beyond the big third-down stop.
Moore got the first-quarter pick party started with an interception on the third play of the game, a takeaway he returned to the 1-yard line. The second interception for Moore in as many weeks came when the safety was lined up in zone coverage, disguising his intentions by lining up closer to the line of scrimmage.
After dropping into coverage and looking Manning off, he picked the pass off to set up the game's first touchdown. Moore felt like the game plan allowed him to play the kind of roaming game he prefers. He and his teammates played within Nolan's scheme against the Broncos with ease.
"I felt relaxed," Moore said. "I respect Peyton and all he's done and everything I've heard about him. I went out there relaxed. I feel like the whole defense went out there relaxed. We did an excellent job, the whole defense and the whole team. It's good to go against him and make this sort of statement."
With a banged up secondary coming in to the home opener to face Manning's widely-feared and respected no huddle passing attack, Atlanta's secondary, led by Moore, thinks they sent out a notice to the rest of the league.
"Hopefully it makes a big statement throughout the league," Moore said. "I wouldn't say we were underestimated or underrated, but we feel like we went out there and did our job. We played some football against one of the best. It was excellent for our secondary. We haven't been together long with Asante (Samuel) coming in and Brent Grimes down. I feel like we stepped up."