The Atlanta Falcons came into Minnesota with high expectations to kick-off the season. After an embarrassing loss, the Falcons will have to evaluate those expectations.
The season got underway against a very talented Minnesota Vikings team. likewise to the Falcons, the Vikings had a disappointing last season and were looking to start the season on a high note. With one of the most talented defenses in of all the NFL, the Vikings are going to be a tough out for any team this season. The Falcons were no exception.
After losing the coin toss, the Falcons would start the game on offense. On the first play of the game, Matt Ryan dropped back for a pass and was sacked immediately. It was a sign of things to come for the Falcons. After going three-and-out, the Falcons lined up for a punt when Matt Bosher had his first punt of the season blocked. The Vikings would go on to capitalize their shortened field by scoring a touchdown.
The second drive of the game wasn’t much better. After being gifted a first down from an offside flag, Matt Ryan would throw his first interception of the season. Once again, the Vikings took advantage of the turnover and short field to score another touchdown to make the game 14-0. This is all before the first quarter is halfway over.
After having another stalled offensive drive that ended, thankfully, with a punt rather than a turnover, the Falcons slowed the Vikings offense down, forcing a punt. It looked like the Falcons had a chance to get back into the game at this point if the offense was able to put together a decent drive. Unfortunately, Devonta Freeman would put the football on the ground for the Vikings to recover. The third Falcons turnover would lead to the Vikings third touchdown, making the score 21-0 in the second quarter. That score would hold for the Vikings going into halftime.
Going into the second half, on the road, down three touchdowns looked terrible, but felt manageable if the Falcons could put together some decent drives. After starting the second half with the ball, the Vikings first drive of the third quarter would stall. The Falcons put together a good-looking drive, finally, which gets the team to the two-yard line. Matt Ryan would go on to throw his second interception of the game in the end zone. It was a crushing blow to the Falcons. Once again, the Vikings would score off a turnover, making the game 28-0. Game over.
The Falcons would go on to score two garbage-time touchdowns. A touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley, a nice catch, and Julio Jones in the dying moments of the game. The final score was 28-12. It was an embarrassing way for the Falcons offense to start the season. The defensive side couldn’t slow down the run. The team played sloppily, giving easy penalties throughout the game. It was an ugly game and start of the season for the Falcons.
Even with the bad result, it’s not time to panic. It’s too early to panic. The Vikings are a very good team, and I think they showed that in a big way this afternoon. The Falcons have a lot of work to do still. That was very evident after today’s performance. With the starters missing most of the preseason, that will be the big topic around Atlanta while the pundits try to look for an answer. Whatever the issue is, the fact was the Falcons got outplayed in every part of the game today. With the Eagles next week, the Falcons will have to figure it out quickly if they want to avoid an 0-2 start to the season.