Second-Half Spark Came when Falcons Settled

Second-Half Spark Came when Falcons Settled

Jay Adams

Published September 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM

The Falcons defensive unit freely admits it came out sluggish during Sunday’s 40-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Whether it was the travel, the third straight game on the road or just getting used to the quickened pace of the regular season, players struggled Monday to put their finger on what caused the slow defensive start, but one thing is for sure: Settling down at halftime made all the difference.

“That was big to go out and play like we can play,” said linebacker Stephen Nicholas, who put together the most impressive defensive performance of the day with 12 tackles, two passes defensed, an interception and a fumble recovery. “We came out a little sluggish and didn’t get things done. But the second half, Coach (Mike Nolan) came in and made some adjustments and just told us to play like we can play, and that’s what we did the second half.”

That style of play came with plenty of enthusiasm and energy as the second half defense looked like a brand new unit against the Chiefs. The Falcons were able to get to QB Matt Cassel in the second half, as well as create turnovers.

The Chiefs had three straight offensive drives Sunday that ended with Falcons turnovers, and safety William Moore had one of the biggest. A pass tipped by Sean Weatherspoon tumbled to the ground, where Moore was able to dive out and snag it before it hit the ground.

A big play like that does big things for the team psyche.

“That momentum I was talking about,” Moore said Monday. “First half, we came out — I wouldn’t say a little dry — but we had to get our mojo going, and we came out in the second half swinging. If you see, Coach (Mike) Smith did a great job of preparing us, but we have to come out firing from the first quarter from now on.”

The Chiefs had several glaring numbers that the Falcons will likely be paying close attention to as they prepare for the Broncos to come to town with Peyton Manning for Monday Night Football. Kansas City saw a lot of success on third down, converting 69 percent of the time. In the red zone, the Chiefs were 2-for-2.

“When we look at the film, we always critique ourselves kinda hard, you know, things we could have done better,” defensive tackle Peria Jerry said. “It was good to get a couple turnovers. The offense had it going, but we’ve got to get more stops.”

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