Despite my “go big or go home” kind of preview, I felt a bit of fear because Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu were out due to injuries. That’s our top two wide receivers. What that does to an offense cannot be overlooked. Look at how the Patriots did last year without their receivers against a not very good Philadelphia Eagles team. Suddenly, this game seemed uncertain.
But on a day ithat many upsets happened (Green Bay blowing out Seattle, the Titans beating the Broncos, Houston ending a losing streak on a rival’s field*), we kicked ass!
Not that our devastating injuries meant nothing. Our top-tier offense started out very slow. Luckily, some turnovers and sacks kept the opposition in check. So even though there was only one purely offensive score by halftime, the score stood at 21-0.
The “O” finally exploded in the third quarter, scoring a couple of touchdowns. Taylor Gabriel had another solid game, as did fellow young gun Tevin Coleman. Don’t be fooled by Matt Ryan’s low yardage. The offensive starters were benched after the third quarter when we were up 42-7. So the technical score of 42-14, while convincing enough, wasn’t quite right.
One disappointment was Devonta Freeman. Let’s face it, his magical first several starts were flukes and he will probably not be the starter next year. And don’t let anyone tell you that LA sold out against the run because they didn’t have Julio to worry about. Coleman and even third-stringer Terron Ward outplayed Freeman today.
Notice that the score equals a good performance by the defense. Not that the LA offense gave us particularly worthy adversaries. Their defense, which was shredded in the third and would have continued to be had the starters, remained. Some of our defensive fortune was their screwups (like the dropped passes) and some was good play from us (this was the case for both the pick 6 by Deion Jones and fumble 6 by Vic Beasley). But I do see signs of improvement when we need to be improving.
So yeah, we Blew out a bad team. Still, none of the winning teams they’ve faced did them like this and besides, we did it without our main receivers.
Despite this overwhilming victory, we remain roughly tied for first because the Bucs won today. But I can’t see them winning in Dallas next week, while we hopefully get our receivers back on in the Dome to take on an even worse team that LA. RISE UP!!!
*Shout out to Marcin. He’s a Colts fan whose blog I read. Sorry about that tough loss today, Marcin.