Despite losing to their rival New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons have one sure thing to be excited about this season. In his debut with the falcons, running back Steven Jackson showcased the type of skills he has used for the past decade with the St. Louis Rams.
Jackson gave the Falcons a boost that they certainly did not have in former starter Michael Turner. Though Turner was very good at one point, he did quite not possess the level of double threat set of skills that Jackson brings to the table. Sunday, Jackson proved he was more than capable of still being a true number one back — this system was meant for him.
The Falcons will do a lot of passing this year, and that is quite obvious with the kind of offense they line up with every week. Quarterback Matt Ryan has plenty of talent at his disposal and spread the ball around nicely in their week one matchup with the Saints.
Jackson caught five of Ryan’s 25 completions overall for a total of 45 yards. Ryan targeted his new back eight times in the passing game. Also carrying the ball 11 times, Jackson racked up 77 yards on the ground, thus ending with a 7.0 yards-per-carry average. His healthy average can be mainly contributed to a 50 yard scamper he pulled off.
On the Falcons’ final drive of the game, Ryan targeted Jackson on a third down and goal-to-go situation. Ramon Humber broke it up, but Jackson acknowledged it was his mistake.
“I dropped the ball,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t the easiest catch, but I’m not a person to make excuses.”
Though Atlanta is 0-1 to start the season, it is a long year. The Saints will prove to be a tougher opponent than they were a year ago, and the Falcons will absolutely find themselves in the postseason when it’s all said and done. Right now, they have to be thankful for a guy like Jackson who can do anything asked of him at the position and also is humble enough to shoulder some of the blame for the loss.
Jackson will be a force in Atlanta this year, so those of you who have him on your fantasy squad stay tuned for what he has planned next. As for now, the Falcons will begin to examine where they went wrong Sunday and make it right next week when they host the Rams.