ATLANTA -- At least for one half, the Atlanta Falcons have been playing the type of game Mike Smith wanted.
They’re playing well on offense, defense and special teams. They hadn’t put all three things together in their first eight games and Smith has been telling that to the Falcons recently.
Apparently, they got the message. The Falcons lead 10-0 at halftime.
Some other halftime observations.
I really liked the fact the Falcons ran the no-huddle offense much of the first half. Matt Ryan seems very comfortable -- and effective -- in that system. If I were Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, I’d use the no huddle almost all the time. I’d definitely do it throughout the second half because the Baltimore defense has got to be getting tired after being on the field so much in the first half.
Every time I see backup running back Jason Snelling, I’m more impressed. The guy is just a football player and can do a little bit of everything. He rushed two times for 8 yards and made four receptions for 41 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown catch.
The Falcons quietly have been pleased with the play of left tackle Sam Baker the past couple of weeks. So far tonight, he’s holding his own again.
Backup defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson has become a very nice role player. He’ll never live up to the expectations that came when he was an early first-round pick. But, since moving from defensive end to defensive tackle, he’s found a steady role in the rotation. He’s always played the run well and he generates more of a pass rush when he’s on the inside.
After giving up two long kickoff returns against Tampa Bay on Sunday, the Falcons made a few minor changes to their coverage unit. The most noticeable was that starting defensive end Kroy Biermann back onto the coverage unit. Starting cornerback Brent Grimes and linebacker Stephen Nicholas also were on the kickoff coverage unit, but they’ve been regulars on it most of the season.