At the outset of the second quarter, the Falcons looked as if they might make this one a laugher. They had the ball at the Bills’ 7 yard-line on a second down and were poised to go up 14-0. But then some personally foul play ensued, with sacks, penalties and, yes, personal foul calls that hurt two Falcons’ drives.
The 13-play drive that crossed over into the second quarter was undone by two penalties (a false start by Roddy White and a personal foul on Tyson Clabo) and a sack. Matt Bryant bailed out the offense with a 51-yard field goal. There was no more scoring after that and the Falcons lead 10-0 at halftime. However, it’s still a game.
Here are some trends that did not go the Falcons’ way in the second quarter.
- They led in total yards 146 to 27 after the first quarter and in first downs 7 to 1.
- In the second quarter, Buffalo outgaind them in yards, 89 to 61, and first downs 7 to 6.
If it were not for an interception and generally good special teams that gave the Falcons’ the upper hand in field position, the game could be a lot closer.
At quarterback, Matt Ryan has thrown for a good number of yards (145) but has completed only 43 percent of his passes (10 of 23). His ability in not turning the ball over has been key.
His counterpart Brian Brohm, making his first NFL start, has completed 61 percent of his throws (11 of 18) but most are of the very short variety, owing to an offensive line that can’t give him much time and his lack of knowledge of the Bills’ offense (he has been with the team for about a month). Brohm has thrown for 86 yards, which could extend to 10 games a streak in which Buffalo quarterbacks have failed to pass for more than 200 yards in a game. Kind of hard to win that way.
In the second half, expect the Falcons to run the ball a lot.
Buffalo has the NFL’s worst run defense and the Falcons are showing why. The Falcons have run the ball 14 times for 69 yards. Jason Snelling has 40 yards on six carries and Jerious Norwood has 26 on seven.
One of the quarter’sbig plays was turned in by Falcons’ rookie Christopher Owens, who was an unlikely winner in the Battle of the Owenses. After throwing so many screens and backfield passes, the Bills finally threw vertically down the field. But Brohm’s attempt was well underthrown and Christopher Owens intercepted the deep throw to Buffalo’s diva wide receiver Terrell in the end zone to end a promising Buffalo drive.
The interception, coming with 7:43 left before halftime, was the first of Christopher Owens’ career.
The Falcons had another drive killed by a personal foul call on right guard Quinn Ojinnaka, giving that side of the offensive line two in the quarter. Falcons’ Head Coach Mike Smith was seen talking to Ojinnaka as he came off the field. Certainly, Smith can’t be pleased with those two penalties.
On the final play of the half, a 55-yard field goal attempt by Bryant was blocked and a bizarre lateralling sequence ensued. Buffalo thought it scored a touchdown but a review called the play back.
The Falcons are letting the Bills hang.
But if they score a touchdown on the first drive of the half, as they are set to receive, it could put away a low-scoring Buffalo team.