The Atlanta Falcons took care of business against the Kansas City Chiefs, 40-24. If this game ended after two quarters we'd have a lot more under our "good" category. Unfortunately, it didn't. The game continued on and the Chiefs played a game that left few fans in the seats by the fourth quarter.
Get ready for a lot of headlines that say "A tale of two halves" because that's what this was.
Your good, bad and ugly recap is below.
Good: We can build on this
The offense in the first half: Matt Cassel was 10-of-12 passing for 123 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing) in the first half. Jamaal Charles had 72 yards on eight carries including a 46-yard scamper. The Chiefs had 22 first downs in the game, more than the Falcons -- nine on the ground and 13 through the air. For the first time since 2005 the Chiefs scored on their first three drives of a season opener. KC looked very good on offense in the first half and they were the big reason is was only a three-point deficit at half. By the way, I believe someone here predicted Kevin Boss would score the year's first touchdown...
Third down offense: 11-of-16, I can handle. KC's third down offense has been horrid in recent years but they were not the problem today. As noted above, they moved the ball consistently.
Red zone scoring: 2-of-2. That's huge because the Chiefs were awful in the red zone last year. Going 2-of-2 is a minor victory in a loss.
152 yards rushing for the game. I said before the game that the Chiefs needed to hit 150 yards rushing to have a chance in the game. The rushing attack was there, maybe not consistently. But it was enough that they were part of the solution.
Dexter McCluster: Six catches for 82 yards. Some of them came in garbage time but McCluster continues on from his strong preseason. He's a nice weapon (if he's a complementary piece and not your leading receiver but I digress because this is the good section!).
Bad: Reaching a 7 on my anger level
Ryan Succop's missed 40-yard field goal. Right after that miss, you could feel it. You could feel what was about to happen and that the Chiefs would regret that. Talking to a number of media folks after the game, everyone seemed to be the play that broke it open for Atlanta.
Peyton Hillis only has 16 yards rushing. After the game the media is ushered down to the locker room. We wait right outside the locker room door until Romeo Crennel addresses the team and the media can enter. Before Romoe came out, Peyton Hillis was seen walking out of the locker room. It was probably the fastest I've ever seen a player get changed and exit. I'm not sure what happened there but he probably wasn't happy with his seven-carry, 16-yard performance.
Julio Jones did what he wanted. Same with Roddy White, to a lesser degree. Jones had 108 yards and two touchdowns, including a couple of key third down conversions. White had 87 yards on six catches. What makes this frustrating is that you knew you had to stop Jones. He was the key. And they couldn't do it.
Jon Baldwin nowhere to be found. Was he even at Arrowhead? (Yes he was.) He can't throw the ball to himself, we know that. I don't know what's going on there. Is this on Baldwin? Is it on Cassel? The offense? The playcall? I have no idea. The drop-off from the excitement over his training camp to his disappearance in games is amazing. So, so high to so, so low.
Ugly: Can't ever do this again
Turnover party. Can't. Have. Turnovers. Ever. The Chiefs can not expect to win with multiple turnovers. It was like a meltdown out there. Cassel in the first half and Cassel in the second half were two different people. He said after the game that his second interception was a "stupid" throw.
The defense. All of it. KC had one sack. They only gave up 84 rushing yards but that's because Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense did what they want in the air. Ryan had eight incomplete passes and nearly 300 yards (299). Three touchdown passes, including the one to TG, which he dunked. I could put a lot more under this category but simply saying the defense sucked should suffice.
Photo credit: John Reiger / Denny Medley USPressWire