Finally, mercifully, the NFL regular season is back.
Months of preparation by all 32 teams finally culminate in a full slate of NFL football. There’s nothing quite like it. The Atlanta Falcons paid a trip to the defending world champion Philadelphia Eagles in the opening night game.
However, the game felt more like something that already took place, back in January. The Falcons broke down, time and time again, in the red zone, leaving points on the board just as they often did last season. It was an ugly, sloppy game from both sides, featuring 26 penalties for over 230 yards combined in Atlanta’s 18-12 loss.
Atlanta failed to form any sort of rushing attack, though some of that is due to running back Devonta Freeman leaving the game with what appears to be a knee injury. Quarterback Matt Ryan had a woeful performance, though nearly won the game on the final drive. There are clearly some areas head coach Dan Quinn must address in the coming weeks.
All that being said, there were positive takeaways from tonight’s matchup. Three players in particular deserve shoutouts for the Falcons, let’s take a look at each one.