By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Falcons have yet to peak
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) celebrates a touchdown with teammates Michael Turner (33) and Tony Gonzalez (88) in the second quarter of Sunday’s 45-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco. - photo by The Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH — Mike Smith says Sunday’s runaway win at San Francisco was the Falcons’ most complete offensive game in his two seasons in Atlanta.

“I know statistically it most definitely was in terms of yards,” he said.

But he says the offense can be better than it showed in the 45-10 rout of the 49ers.

“I think we left some plays out there,” Smith said Monday. “I think the offensive guys will tell you that.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan, who completed 22 of 32 passes for a career-high 329 yards, called the game “just a pretty good performance” for the offense.

“We did it today a little bit in the air and some on the ground,” Ryan said. “I feel like even doing what we did and scoring that many points, we can still get better.”

Receiver Roddy White set a team-record 210 yards receiving, including TD receptions of 31 and 90 yards.
Michael Turner ran for 97 yards and three touchdowns.

The Falcons set a team record with 35 points in the first half and didn’t give up a sack for the third straight game.

It was the balanced, big-play attack Tony Gonzalez said he expected when he was traded to Atlanta in April.

“We were hitting them over the top with Roddy,” said Gonzalez, who had six catches for 55 yards. “The running game was going and I was able to do my thing underneath and guys were making plays all across the board.”

The Falcons sent a 2010 second-round pick to Kansas City for Gonzalez, who right now could pass as a football prophet. After the trade, Gonzalez predicted “With Michael Turner, Matt Ryan and the other guys, we have a chance to be in the top five in the league in offense.”

The Falcons (3-1) looked the part against the 49ers.

Atlanta racked up 477 yards against a San Francisco defense that was allowing 284 per game.

“I think this is the kind of game that we want to play,” said guard Harvey Dahl. “I think we made it a physical game and that is the biggest statement, that we played physical.”

The big question entering the season was how could Ryan keep his all his playmakers happy.

Turner was an All-Pro after rushing for 1,699 yards last season. White made his first Pro Bowl after becoming the first player in team history to post two straight seasons with at least 1,200 yards receiving. Gonzalez was accustomed to being the Chiefs’ top receiver. The team has other threats, including running back Jerious Norwood and receiver Michael Jenkins.

Smith said a team-first approach has kept egos in check.

“Those guys have done an outstanding job of just coming to work every day and working extremely hard and knowing that it’s really going to be predicated on how people try to defend us as to where the ball is going to go,” Smith said, before adding he expects Jenkins, White, Gonzalez, Turner and Norwood to each have games in the spotlight.

“I think that is a good problem, if it is a problem, to have because you can distribute the ball and get the ball in as many playmakers hands as you can,” he said.

Terance Mathis set the Falcons record with 198 yards receiving against New Orleans on Dec. 13, 1998. White had 185 yards receiving in just the first half as the Falcons built a 35-10 lead.

“We said from the beginning as a team we wanted to start fast and that was something we did in all three phases,” Smith said. “We jumped out to a 14-0 lead. I felt it was very, very important.”

The Falcons are 6-0 following losses in Smith’s two seasons.

“I tell our guys that if you don’t lose back to back games, come December you’re going to be right in the thick of things,” he said. “I think it’s a mental state that you have to be aware of. You want to stop the streak at one when you get the outcome you don’t desire.”

Friends to Follow social media