Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/24/12

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons came into San Diego looking to improve to 3-0 on the young season.  Not only did they win, they showed the rest of the league that they are a force to be reckoned with.

The Matt Ryan led Falcons started the game with an opening 10 play 80-yard drive that ended with a Falcon 6 on the board.  The offense would falter on the next two drives, but answered with two straight touchdown drives that saw the Falcons take a 20-0 lead entering half time.  The most exciting part about this game to me has to be how great the defense played.

Going into this game, I felt the defense was going to have a difficult time with the Chargers and Phillip Rivers.  However, they came out on fire and did not allow any first half points.  In that first half, the Falcons defense forced two Charger turnovers. 

The Falcons were able to turn those turnovers into points each time.  The biggest play of the first half that really gave Atlanta the momentum was the fumble by Ryan Matthews inside the 10-yard line.  The Falcons were able to turn this fumble into seven points after a long 17 play 96-yard drive.  This effectively put the the Chargers on their heels and they would not be able to recover.

The second half for the Falcons much resembled the second half of their previous game against the Broncos on Monday Night Football when talking about the offensive side of the ball.  Even though the Falcons could only muster seven points, their defense continued their outstanding work from the first half. 

Thomas Decoud had three of the four turnovers that Atlanta forced.  He would finish with two interceptions and one fumble recovery to lead the way for the Falcons.  This is a good sign for the Falcons because after loosing Brent Grimes for the season, many people thought the secondary was going to be in shambles.  This game, however, showed that the defense under new coordinator Mike Nolan is for real and that teams need to worry.

Another good sign for the Falcons was the return of Micheal Turner.  Turner rushed the ball 14 times for 80 yards while adding another touchdown run late in the game to put the proverbial final nail in the coffin of the San Diego Chargers.  As I have stated before, if Micheal Turner can continue with games such as this, the Falcons would be almost unstoppable for the rest of the season.  Especially with the emergence of the defense and the continued high level play of Matt Ryan and his corps of receivers.

Game Notes:

Matt Ryan would finish the game 30-40 for 275 with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Tony Gonzales led the way for the receivers with 9 catches for 91 yards and 1 touchdown.

Turner led the ground game with 14 rushes for 80 yards and 1 touchdown.

The defense forced 4 turnovers and allowed a season-low 3 points and 164 yards passing.



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