In front of a national audience, the Atlanta Falcons avenged their recent losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and earned their first victory of the 2019 season.
It was truly a group effort with big plays from the offense, defense and special teams, signaling a major turnaround from Atlanta’s Week 1 performance against the Minnesota Vikings. There were several players who had some perception-changing games, so let’s take a moment to give some shoutouts to Falcons with stocks on the rise.
This offseason Trufant told AtlantaFalcons.com’s Kelsey Conway that in order to become a top-tier cornerback, he needed to make more “game-changing” plays. Well, he made a few on Sunday night. Trufant picked off Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz late in the first quarter, ending a drive that had moved into Falcons territory, and he then followed that up in the second quarter with another interception that led to Atlanta’s first touchdown of the game. Trufant’s hands betrayed him at times in 2018, but he was crucial in helping the Falcons build some early momentum in this one.
Julio Jones may have been the savior for Atlanta against the Eagles, but it was Ridley who looked like a No. 1 receiver for much of the game. Philadelphia didn’t seem to have much of an answer in the first half for Ridley, who had 91 yards in the first two quarters, including a 34-yard touchdown catch. The second-year receiver was targeted 10 times and finished with eight catches for 105 yards and the score. It was his second career 100-yard game.
One week after a tough matchup against Adam Thielen, Oliver rebounded to make several plays against the Eagles. The former second-round pick showcased his length on two pass breakups and also finished with five tackles. He was part of a secondary that mostly blanketed a depleted Eagles receiving corps, and his development will be very important for Atlanta’s success this season.
The Falcons didn’t get much going on the ground Sunday night, but a 28-yard run by Smith late in the third quarter set Atlanta up inside of the red zone with a chance to really take command of the game.
It was the second consecutive game in which Smith showcased great vision, patience and agility, and he led the Falcons with 32 yards on four carries. With more plays like the one above, Smith will make a strong case to get more touches.
Boy did Beasley need to make a big play, and he came through with one late for Atlanta. Beasley notched his first sack of the season on the final drive of the game, setting up a fourth-and-long. He very nearly recorded one on the Eagles’ previous drive that would have likely ended a series that led to a Philadelphia touchdown, but Wentz somehow got the pass off to convert a third down. Beasley created some nice pressure throughout the game and finished with three hits on Wentz.
CB Desmond Trufant earned the Sunday Night Football player of the game ball for a reason. He was relentless the entire game. Here are our photography team's favorite images from Week 2 in this gallery, presented by Woolfson Eye Institute.