ATLANTA -- It seems like something special happens every time Antone Smith touches the ball.
Smith had a 76-yard touchdown sprint in the second quarter called back due to a holding penalty on rookie right tackle Jake Matthews. Smith also had a 34-yard catch-and-run wiped out by an illegal formation whistled on receiver Harry Douglas.
"I mean, it's frustrating," Smith said. "But we know it is the first preseason game for a lot of people out there, so a lot of stuff is changing. So we expect a lot of penalties."
Falcons fans should expect more of Smith, at least in the preseason. Remember, starter Steven Jackson is sidelined by a hamstring injury, allowing more opportunities for Jacquizz Rodgers, rookie Devonta Freeman and Smith.
Smith sure has the attention of coach Mike Smith.
"Antone had some very explosive plays," Smith said. "Antone's a guy that can do some things when we get the ball in his hands. So, I would imagine we want to make that we have a game plan that will help him get some touches [and] to put him in advantageous situations.
"I was very impressed with him. I was impressed with Devonta Freeman [and] the way he ran the ball, for the most part. So, we did some positive things."
Freeman led the Falcons with 50 rushing yards on 10 carries and also had a team-long 57-yard reception from Sean Renfree. Rodgers picked up 20 yards on seven carries and scored the team's only touchdown on a 2-yard run. Smith picked up five yards on three rushing attempts and had one catch for 5 yards. He also made the first tackle of the game on the kickoff.
Last season, Smith had just five carries, but two went for touchdowns. He had a 50-yard touchdown run against Tampa Bay and a 38-yard touchdown run against Green Bay.
So it was no surprise what Smith did when he touched the ball Friday night.
"We'll have a different rotation in Week 2 where guys will have expanded roles," Mike Smith said. "And I think there are going to be some guys, by their play on the field, that will have some expanded play time as well."
Antone Smith has to be at the top of that list.