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Atlanta Falcons: Offense sputtered in second preseason game

POSTED: August 22, 2008 5:02 a.m.
ATLANTA — Rookie Matt Ryan and fellow quarterbacks Chris Redman and D.J. Shockley combined for three interceptions and one lost fumble in the Atlanta Falcons’ 16-9 preseason loss Saturday to Indianapolis.

Running back Michael Turner had two long gains on Atlanta’s first two possessions for a combined 115 yards. But neither resulted in a touchdown and the ground game averaged just 2.3 yards on its remaining 22 carries.

The Falcons, who were the NFL’s fourth-worst scoring offense last season, went 0-for-5 on trips inside the Colts’ 20-yard line.

"We weren’t pleased with the outcome of the game," coach Mike Smith said. "When you turn the ball over five times in any football game, you’re going to have a hard time winning."

Ryan, picked third in the NFL draft, played frantically in his second exhibition outing. Though the Colts sacked him only once, Ryan suffered from shaky protection and receivers who created little separation in coverage.

The Falcons used Ryan as their No. 2 quarterback for the second straight week, but the former Boston College standout lacked the composure he showed in his debut Aug. 10 at Jacksonville.

Smith thought Ryan made a bad read on the interception Indianapolis cornerback Kelvin Hayden returned for a 67-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. Hayden had little trouble stepping in front of Brian Finneran for an easy pick.

Ryan tried to look at what went right on the drive, which began at the 5 and included four first-down completions that covered 36 yards to Michael Jenkins and Roddy White.

"I just didn’t make a good decision throwing the ball during that interception," Ryan said. "You just have to learn from it. Hopefully I can take something away from that drive and allow it to benefit me in the future."

None of Atlanta’s quarterbacks looked sharp.

Redman, who’s still likely to start the season opener Sept. 7 against Detroit, and Shockley, who’s battling Joey Harrington for the third-string job, threw interceptions in the fourth quarter.

As for Harrington, who took his turn in Smith’s planned rotation of giving each quarterback a preseason start, he managed nothing substantial in two possessions that resulted in field goals in the first quarter.



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