The Atlanta Falcons return to work Monday in preparation for Sunday's Week 4 game against the Minnesota Vikings. When the Falcons visit TFC Bank Stadium for their second road test of the regular season, they'll look for a similar start to the one showcased in the Week 3 win against Tampa Bay.
During the 56-14 victory, Falcons QB Matt Ryan completed 11-of-12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. He also posted a passer rating of 150.3, the second-highest first-quarter rating of his career, when throwing at least 10 passes (9/15/13 – 152.2).
Getting out of the gate quickly has been a staple of Falcons head coach Mike Smith; since arriving in 2008, his teams have posted a 46-16 record when scoring first and they've lead the league with 269 points scored on their first offensive possession.
Smith offered five key takeaways that have led to opening-drive success:
• A collaborative effort by the Falcons coaching staff
• The offensive coordinator has to have a good feel about the plan
• Your QB has to be involved and have a strong grasp of the plan
• It often comes down to the much-discussed 12-15 scripted plays, which can change, depending on how teams defend
• You get one chance at a first impression – the Falcons want to make it their best
The next first impression by the Falcons comes against the 1-2 Vikings on Sunday, with kickoff slated for 4:25 p.m. ET.