Four Scores and Four Years Ago
It only took Matt Ryan four years, but he set a career high for touchdown passes in a game Sunday night with four. Ryan's favorite target of the night was easily tight end Tony Gonzalez, and in his 15th season, Gonzalez played like it was his third or fourth. More on that in a bit. Ryan was nails in the red zone when he needed to be, and along with the two TD strikes to Gonzalez, he also found Roddy White and fullback Ovie Mughelli for scores.
Get Him Some Oxygen
Defensive end Ray Edwards didn't wait too long to make his mark on this Falcons team. After a couple of nice tackles for loss, Edwards made a huge play that gave the Falcons a swing of momentum they desperately needed at the time. Vick scrambled to his left deep in the Falcons' end and Peria Jerry met him and caused the fumble. Edwards had the presence of mind to pick it up, turn around and take off toward the end zone. He got caught from behind, but the Falcons went on to add seven to the scoreboard after that huge play.
Getting Into the Act
We saw Sunday night the debuts of CB Kelvin Hayden and S James Sanders — both of whom were signed during the final week of the preseason. Hayden started at the nickel position and Sanders unseated Thomas DeCoud at safety. Hayden had a nice play in the first half, picking off a pass around midfield and setting up the first of two touchdown connections from Ryan to Gonzalez.
Speaking of Gonzalez
What more can be said about Tony Gonzalez? His career is one that will live on forever, but he's still adding solid chapters to it. Gonzalez scored two touchdowns Sunday night against the Eagles — one of which was one of the nicest one-handed grabs you're likely to see. In the second half, Gonzalez passed Terrell Owens on the all-time receptions list to move into sole possession of fifth place. And from the looks of it, Gonzalez is going to keep climbing that ladder.
Burning it Up
It looks like we can get used to seeing Michael Turner break long runs. He had one of more than 50 yards last week against Chicago, and he added one of 61 Sunday night against the Eagles. Neither of which found their way to the end zone, but Turner is doing exactly what he told me he wanted to do when we spoke during training camp. He explained that explosive plays don't have to come through the air, and he's proving that so far this season.