August 17, 2018
Chiefs 28 at Falcons 14
Deion Jones and Matt Bryant were in street clothes, announced inactive. Again, Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones were dressed, but did not play at all. So many teams have seen season ending injuries already, so happy to have those guys sit.
Justin Hardy and Calvin Ridley were sent back to receive the opening kickoff. Ridley received the kick and returned it 34 yards.
Brandon Fusco got the start at right guard. Ridley, Marvin Hall, and Mohamed Sanu with the start as receivers. The first play was to Ridley for no yards. Then to Tevin Coleman for no yards. Third and eleven, Matt Ryan finds Austin Hooper for 29 yards. Tevin stepped behind Alex Mack and rushed up for back to back 15-yard gains. Ito Smith now in at running back for 3 yards. Then a 4-yard diving touchdown pass to Hooper.
Matt Bosher resumed his kickoff duties. Foye Oluokon had a good stop on kick coverage. Terrell McClain and Duke Riley made a good stop. Clearly Riley trying to step up his game this week. Brian Poole came across the field and took the receiver out of the air to stop the Chiefs with a 3 and out.
Hardy is starting for punt returns as well and returned it 17 yards. Unfortunately, Smith had an illegal block in the back to cancel the return, but we did get to see what Hardy can do.
The first team returns to the field and Ryan shoots a 16-yard pass to Hall. Then, the upcoming star of the year, Ridley catches a big 36-yard pass over his left shoulder as he falls. And the Falcons are instantly inside the Chiefs’ 30. A few plays later, facing a 4 and 2, Andy Levitre had a hands to the face penalty and the Falcons turn the ball over on downs.
Brooks Reed, Deadrin Senat, and Keanu Neal combined for a stop, and Neal (not surprised) gets called for the helmet to the head penalty. But if you watch the replay, he did not lead with the head, but took the call. Grady Jarrett got major pressure up the middle and Poole was able to make the 11-yard loss tackle. Poole continued to show out with another tackle to the sideline. Then Grady made a stop to cause 3rd and 5. The running back was able to get around the side along the sideline where he was stopped by Ricardo Allen. Duke Riley was in pursuit, but got caught up in a block. Robert Alford had a nice pass break up. As seen in training camp, Blidi Wreh-Wilson has greatly improved and playing smart and aggressively and nearly had a pick in front of Sammy Watkins.
Kansas City had a first down at the 4 and the Atlanta defense stood up and forced a field goal.
For the third offensive set, Matt Schaub comes in. Smith is in at running back. Ben Garland and Ty Sambrailo are in on the left side, while Wes Schweitzer is in at right guard. Hardy had a nice quick reception for a first down. Russell Gage gets his shot and hauls in an 18-yard reception. Reggie Davis comes in at receiver. Smith is getting allot of carries and being successful with his quick spin moves and pushing through for some good yardage. Schaub finds Ridley on a crossing route for a first down. Justin Crawford gets a chance at running back and gains 2 yards. Back to Smith who goes to the right side for another few yards. On 3rd and 4, Schaub finds Davis. Then, Big Play Ridley, catches his first touchdown as a Falcon.
Blidi Wreh made the stop on the kick off. Patrick Mahomes threw up a pass to Sammy Watkins, and Damontae Kazee picked it off. Kazee came to play tonight again. Blidi Wreh knocked Watkins off his timing a bit and Kazee reads the play from the start, cuts across the field, and leaps up and rips the ball out of the air.
Schaub and the offense come back out. More successful hand-offs and passes to Smith, then a big 24-yard catch by Eric Saubert, with many of those yards after the catch. Schaub finds Davis on a crossing route, just short of the first down, due to having to slow up for the pass. On fourth down, Smith gets stuff and the Falcons turn the ball over on downs.
The second half took on the same hot mess as last week’s game. Kurt Benkert looked good, until he threw an interception that he should have tucked in. Oliver looked good in kick coverage. Ito Smith had several kick returns, which except for bobbling each several times, looked good. He also had 13 carries for 34 yards at running back. Brandon Fusco looked good at the right guard spot and pancaked several guys making room for Tevin to get some good yards.
Foye Oluokon flew around at the linebacker spot, finishing with 1 tackle, but also very active on special teams. Duke Riley stepped up tonight and was better in coverage most of his time in. As always, Brian Poole was on point and covered the explosive Tyreek Hill perfectly. Russell Gage came in with the 2nd team and had 1 reception for 18 yards.
Of course, Damontae Kazee is a stand out again, with no tackles, but a big interception. Terrell McClain really stepped up tonight.
The first team offense got into a good rhythm tonight. No pre-snap penalties, Ryan went 5 of 7 for 90 yards and a touchdown. Calvin Ridley had 3 receptions, 1 touchdown, 49 yards, and a 35-yard return. Austin Hooper had a touchdown and 2 receptions for 33 yards. Definitely more consistent.
First team defense did not give up a score. Robert Alford with the knock down in the end zone. They started with a 3 and out. And the regulars were swarming.
Dave Archer spoke to Calvin Ridley after the game, he is so humble, with his stats on the night and he is just “ready to contribute.” Ridley said he’s just working and practicing, and again, “Willing to contribute however the team wants me.” Again, said that Julio Jones is coaching him up after every play.
Overall, this game was not as painful as the first, and saw some real bright spots for the first teams and some guys on the 2nd or 3rd. And another week and no one is hurt. Likely, 50 spots are already on lock and there are not many position battles. We will see what we see in game 3 next Saturday.
Photo Credit: Atlanta Falcons