Falcons vs. Dolphins Preseason Week 1

The Atlanta Falcons open up the 2014 preseason against the Miami Dolphins Friday, August 8th. The Falcons and Dolphins have met 13 times in the preseason, including four of the last five years.

By the end of the 1st Quarter the teams were tied 7-7. The Falcons had 8 First Downs and were 100% with 3rd down efficiency (going 3 for 3). The Falcons’ Running Back Jacquizz Rodgers scored the Falcons first touchdown. He ran for 20 yds. on 7 attempts in the quarter. Matt Ryan was a perfect 7-7 on his passing totaling 53 yds.

The Dolphins totaled 4 First Downs and were also 100% with their 3rd down efficiency (going 2 for 2). The Dolphins’ RB Lamar Miller ran for 11 yds. on 4 attempts. Their only touchdown thus far came from the arm of Quarterback Ryan Tannehill when he connected with Wide Receiver Brandon Gibson. Tannehill threw for 62 yds. on 6 attempts for the quarter.

The 2nd Quarter was fairly quiet, as the Dolphins managed a field goal by Danny Hrapmann to take the lead to 10-7. But to end the 1st Half the Falcons did the same, pulling within 5 yds. of the end-zone, settling for a FG by Matt Bryant. Both sides dropped in 3rd down efficiency going to 20% for the Dolphins (1-5) and 33% for the Falcons (2-6).

At halftime Matt Ryan had this to say about their 1st half scoring drive:

“Good play for us. A good job by us. We were able to run the ball pretty effectively, and we did have the opportunity to throw, we were able to move the chains. We were able to overcome a couple of penalties, we were able to keep going, and punch the ball into the end-zone. It’s exactly what you want for your first drive of the year.”

To start the 2nd half the Falcons started QB Sean Renfree, the recent draft pick out of Duke University. Renfree went 4-6 for 38 yds. with a long of 13 yds. The Dolphins’ Seth Lobato took the reigns at QB in the 3rd Quarter and went 3 for 5 for 14 yds. Sergio Castillo nailed a 21 yd. FG to make the game 13-10 for the Falcons.

It was early in the 4th Quarter when Falcons’ Kicker Sergio Castillo nailed a 21 yd FG to give them breathing room for the first time in the game (16-10 Falcons). It was their D that held tight to seal the win. As Lobato was leading the Dolphins downfield (starting from the 50 yd line), they ran into a brick wall at the 40. He was able to find RB Orleans Darkwa for 3 yards and Tight End Brett Brackett for 5 yards but, it was the 2 incompletions that made the difference. The deep ball to WR Matt Hazel fell incomplete and Lobato’s second attempt to him on 4th down (for a shorter gain, just enough for 1st down) was errant and incomplete.

After the game, here’s what Seth Lobato had to say about his passing game:

“I felt really comfortable and thought the line did a great job protecting me. The receivers outside did a great job of getting separation and they made some plays.”

The Falcons’ Defensive Tackle Jonathan Babineaux gave his perspective on the 2nd team:

“There were a lot of young players that stepped up tonight and made plays for the team. It creates great competition for the defense this year. We have a lot of youth on defense and we’re expecting them to help us win ball games.”


The Falcons’ next opponents will be the Houston Texans next Saturday in Houston. They can be happy with their win today and use this confidence to take with them. Their next home game will be August 23rd against the Tennessee Titans.

-Jon J.

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