Monday, November 07, 2005

At Least One Team In The South Has An Offense

I didn't think I'd be saying this on the morning following the Falcons' trip to Miami, but that was a fine offensive performance yesterday. If Mike Vick threw the ball like that on a consistent basis (22/31, 221 yards, one touchdown, no picks,) then he wouldn't be forced to defend his skills as a pocket passer and he wouldn't have to make defensive tirades about how no one should question his skills in that department ever again. Specifically, his throw to Alge Crumpler to set up the Falcons' first touchdown was a thing of beauty, inch-perfect to a well-covered receiver while rolling left with a man in his face. And speaking of rolling left, the Dolphins showed their lack of experience at defending Vick because they consistently let him roll left in the early going. There was also at least one instance of a defensive end running right at him, which Vick bounced outside just like he did for years before teams figured out that their defensive ends can't barrel straight at him.

The fact that the game was not a runaway was a testament to the importance of turnovers. A Justin Griffith fumble deprived the Falcons of a chance to take an early 14-0 lead (and thereby put the game in the hands of Gus Frerotte) and an Allen Rossum muff allowed the Dolphins to close to 14-10 at the half, despite being totally outplayed. Honestly, I feel a lot better after a win like this than I did after the Jets game because the Jets (read: Vinny Testaverde) just handed the game over to the Falcons, whereas yesterday's game was a blowout that was only kept close by easily correctable mistakes.

And regarding the Miami offense, their passing game is completely mismatched with their running game. With their running backs, Miami should be running the ball on just about every play, but when they aren't running, why aren't they trying to stretch the field in the passing game? How does the dink-and-dunk passing attack make life easier for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams? I guess that Frerotte just doesn't have the arm to wing the ball down the field, which means that Miami, for about the eighth straight year, is a better quarterback away from being a good team.

I don't want to get carried away, but with 1-7 Green Bay at home, a collapsing Tampa team that desperately misses Brian Griese, and wretched Detroit on the docket for the next three games, it's quite possible that the Falcons will take a six-game winning streak and a 9-2 record to Carolina for the first of two huge games with the Panthers.

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