- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: This was a great way for the Falcons to start the season. It’s always nice to win on the road and it’s especially nice that the Falcons were able to do it outdoors because a lot of people think of them as a dome team. It’s also significant for the Falcons that they already are one game ahead of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South standings.
What I liked: It’s no secret that this is a crucial season for quarterback Matt Ryan. He’s under a lot of pressure to produce big numbers in a new offensive system. That’s what Ryan did, completing 23 of 31 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for another score.
The homecoming: Things couldn’t have played out any better for Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez. He spent the first 12 years of his career with the Chiefs and he ended up catching a touchdown pass against his former team. The ball squirted loose soon after Gonzalez caught it. But Ryan tracked it down and gave it to the tight end. Gonzalez then dunked the ball over the goal post.
Unsung hero: Sean Weatherspoon gets most of the attention at linebacker. But Stephen Nicholas put together a big game. Nicholas had a game-high 12 tackles, intercepted a pass, deflected two others and recovered a fumble.
What’s next: The Falcons get an extra day to prepare because their next game is a Sept. 17 Monday night game at home against Denver.