The third pre-season game is where you get to see your starters for an extended period of time and you generally start to see the team coming together for better or worse. If that's the case, then after this performance by the Falcons, I'm in desperate need of a Neuralyzer.
First the good. The Falcons won the first quarter 6-0 and their first three drives took them into scoring position. They started out with an 11 play drive of 71 yards, then had an 8 play drive of 34 yards and then had a 5 play drive of 46 yards that result in a Jeremy Shelley missed FG. Tony Gonzalez looked good in his return in limited action. Steven Jackson was also solid with 12 carries for 51 yards for an average of 4.3 ypc. Off the bench, WR Darius Jackson continues to look like a UDFA who can make this team or at least find a home on the practice squad.
On defense, the first two drives were solid as Joplo Bartu caused a fumble on the first drive and on the second drive the Titans had to punt after gaining just 19 yards on 6 plays. Kroy Bierman had a really nice game leading the team with 7 tackles and getting 2 sacks. Corey Peters also looked good really jumping off the page with back to back plays and finishing with 2 TFLs and 1 sack.
Now the bad. Playing without Roddy White, the offense didn't finish drives and had to settle for FGs early in the game. Then in the second quarter, the offensive line had major issues and due to that the offense could not sustain drives. In the WR corps, nobody stepped up to help Julio Jones (Gonzo played sparingly) and he had a few drops himself. The play-calling also looked a bit uninspired so not sure if Koetter was holding back as there really weren't any screens that I can remember being thrown in there which would have helped the OL getting gashed. From on OL perspective, outside of Peter Konz and Sam Baker, we need a lot of work.
On defense, we got exposed after Asante Samuel went down with a thigh injury. Robert Alford replaced him and he got absolutely abused. He did bounce back a little with an INT late but overall he showed why he won't be ready to be a game one starter for the Falcons. It was a good learning experience for him but man did he get picked on. The Falcons also struggled to stop Chris Johnson as he gained 65 yards on just 11 carries.
Overall, I say let's call the Men in Black and have them use their flashy thingy on us. Remember, it's just the pre-season….but it is concerning.