Lift Off

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The Atlanta Falcons finally won a game.

Dan Quinn was finally put out of his misery after starting the season 0 – 5. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has taken over as interim head coach. You may remember when he was head coach for Tampa Bay from 2009 – 2011.

Julio Jones returned after missing the last game and a half with a hamstring injury. His return helped spark the offense.

Jones finished with 8 catches for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 40-yarder off a broken play that helped put the game out of reach. The Falcons won 40 – 23 on the road at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

It was Jones’ 57th career game with at least 100 receiving yards, which is the most among active players and the fourth-most in NFL history. Jerry Rice (76), Randy Moss (64) and Marvin Harrison (59) are the only players ahead of him. They are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so he’s in great company.

“At the end of the day, I felt great coming into this game,” Jones said. “No complaints. No hamstring injury issues. No tightness and things like that to prevent me from bring who I want to be on game day.”

The Falcons scored on 8 of 12 possessions, with one kneel down at the end of the game.

Matt Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns, with an average yards per attempt of 9.3.

“I think that’s always the mindset I’ve had, to go out there and play my best every week,” Ryan said. “We have to earn everything we get in this profession. I don’t think it really changed my approach or anything. I believe I have a really good process and a way to get ready week in and week out. I trust that process.”

Atlanta jumped on the Vikings early and went into halftime with a 20 – 0 lead. As you know they crumbled in the second half and dropped second half leads under Quinn. I thought they were doomed because the Falcons have shown us, they don’t play well with a lead. I give Morris credit because they played well in the second half.

They recovered two onside kicks. It was the opposite of the debacle in Dallas when the kickoff team sat back and waited for the ball to roll 10 yards. On both onside kicks they attacked the ball and caught it as it came to them.

The defense had 3 interceptions on the season coming into this game. They forced Kirk Cousins to throw 3 picks in this game. They did allow rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson 9 receptions, 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. I have him on my fantasy team but for some reason I had him on the bench.

The New York Giants also got their first win of the season yesterday. That leaves the Jets as the only winless team in the league. I bring that up because they have the work record and they are front runners to pick Trevor Lawrence first in the 2021 draft.

Atlanta is not a good team, but I think they are on track to get a few more meaningless wins that will make them pick lower in the draft.

The next two games are home against Detroit then at Carolina for Thursday Night Football. Those are games that are winnable.

Who knows, they might be in the playoff hunt if they can win those games then beat Denver.