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Time Machine: Falcons Open Dome with Jets

The first regular season opponent in the history of the Georgia Dome was the New York Jets. On September 6, 1992, the Birds opened their new nest in style in front of a capacity crowd on hand.

The Falcons scored on their first four possessions to the excitement of the hometown fans as they raced to a 20-3 advantage.

The first official play in the new Dome was a handoff to Atlanta RB Tony Smith, who went over left tackle for 32 yards. The drive stalled at the New York 7-yard line, but K Norm Johnson trotted out to score the first official points with a 25-yard field goal.

When the Jets took over for their first offensive series with a rocking crowd delivering some big time noise, QB Browning Nagle fumbled the center exchange on the very first snap and the Falcons recovered on the New York 14-yard line. QB Chris Miller immediately dropped back to pass on the next play and found WR Michael Haynes for a touchdown and 10-0 lead before New York knew what hit them.

After the Falcons defense forced a three-and-out on the Jets’ following drive, Miller directed another scoring march. Two RB Erric Pegram long runs covering 10 and 13 yards, respectively, and two Miller throws helped the Birds get down to the 11-yard line. Haynes snared an 11-yard touchdown grab on the next play for his second score of the contest and a 17-0 lead before the first quarter was even over.

The Jets woke up as Nagle tossed touchdown passes in the second and third quarter to pull the score close at 20-17 with a full quarter to go and the outcome still in doubt.

But the Falcons offense held on for the win by starting a drive at their own 5-yard line with 5:46 remaining, protecting a three-point lead, and never surrendered the ball back to the Jets to run out the clock.

Atlanta’s defense responded to the pressure of winning the inaugural game in the brand new Georgia Dome by forcing two fumbles (recovering both) and collecting two QB sacks.

Miller completed a pin-point 21-of-29 passes for 196 yards with two scores and Nagle was forced to throw 37 times, but kept it close with his 366 yards and two touchdowns.

The Jets will be making only their third trip to Atlanta this year since opening the Dome in that memorable 1992 game for the Falcons faithful.

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