After the Atlanta Falcons dropped their preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals 34-10, they continued that trend by losing their second game to the Baltimore Ravens 27-23, but in the end, it was the Falcons who walked away as if they were the defending Super Bowl champions.
Despite the Falcons being winless after two preseason games, they looked impressive against the Ravens, dominating them in the first half to the point where coach John Harbaugh scolded his team at halftime. He even took it a step further after the game with this comment,”That first half was about as poorly as we can play,” Harbaugh said. “I can’t remember us playing worse since we came here.”
In the first half, Matt Ryan and the Dirty Birds raced out to a 20-7 lead, as the Falcons’ offense welcomed back star receiver Julio Jones who was out with an injury in the first preseason game. With Mattie Ice leading the charge, the Falcons froze the Ravens’ defense and skated past the frozen birds to a tune of 11 first downs in the first 16 minutes of the game.
Not only did the Falcons’ showcase their high, nitro-octane offense, but their defense stifled Joe Flacco and the Ravens with a brick wall. Before the Ravens made their comeback, the Falcons limited them to three first downs and shut down their best player Ray Rice to 10 yards on eight carries.
Even though this was only a preseason game, hardly anything to take too serious, the Falcons still showed their potential on the defensive side. For the past couple of years, the Falcons have possessed one of the most amazing arsenals offensively, and if the Falcons defense can stay consistent, the Dirty Birds will be migrating to places that were once a fantasy.
Ryan once again had a great game, as he went 8-of-15 for 97 yards and one touchdown in four series. Newcomer Steven Jackson turned on his engine and didn’t stop after a disappointing outing against the Bengals. He rushed for 42 yards on eight carries in the first half.
Although the scoreboard showed another “L” for the Falcons in the loss column, after the Falcons took the Ravens to school in the first half, their “L” looked more satisfying and fulfilling than the Ravens “W” at the end of the game.
Just another day at the office for the Falcons, as they proved that winning isn’t everything and sometimes it takes multiple losses in order to go from contenders to champions.