The first score of the game occurred in the first half of the first quarter. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers chucked the ball to running back Darren Sproles. San Diego 7 and Atlanta 0. The Falcons answered that TD with one of their own. With Matt Ryan quarterbacking, wide receiver Brian Finneran made a twelve-yard catch in the end zone (or rather a catch and a few steps into the end zone). An amazing Roddy White reception preceded this TD by a couple of plays. Atlanta 7 and San Diego 7.
The second quarter ticked halfway through and Chargers running back Michael Bennett jetted off forty-eight yards for a TD. San Diego 14 and Atlanta 7. Jason Elam put up a forty yard field goal for the Falcons in the bottom of the second. San Diego 14 and Atlanta 10. Billy Volek then stepped in as QB for the Chargers. With under a minute left in the quarter, Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd broke the plane with his right hand (and as soon as the ball hit the turf, the ball came out of his grip). San Diego 21 and Atlanta 10. Jason Elam stepped onto the field with seconds left on the clock. He sent the ball thirty-nine yards through the uprights. San Diego 21 and Atlanta 13.
The third quarter featured Charlie Whitehurst as quarterback for the Chargers. Chris Redman then went in as QB for the Falcons. The fourth quarter said hello to a Falcons TD, which Redman ran in himself (twenty-two yards). San Diego 21 and Atlanta 20. The Chargers increased the gap with a Nate Kaeding field goal in the bottom of the quarter. San Diego 24 and Atlanta 20. With fewer than twenty seconds to play, Chris Redman connects with wide receiver Eric Weems for a TD. Atlanta 27 and San Diego 24.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Did Dan Fouts say of Matt Ryan, “he is smart, he is tall” in the expository broadcast pre-kickoff chat?
2. Compared to last year, Matt Ryan has definitely grown up in the way he carries himself. At the same time, though, a few extreme close-ups (before snaps) in the first quarter revealed such a youthful exuberance and eagerness.
3. After returning from commercial break (that followed Michael Bennett’s TD in the second quarter), the camera was focused on the Falcons bench. Mike Smith, filmed in high angle medium long shot, was speaking and gesturing passionately about what his players could no longer permit the other guy to do on the field.
4. How sweet. In the middle of the third quarter, Chargers fullback Jacob Hester was walking towards the huddle and trying to put his left shoulder pad back under his uniform. He was having trouble doing it and his teammate wide receiver Legedu Naanee gave him a hand. Love it. I love moments like this one.
5. Greg Gumbel noted in the third quarter that Charlie Whitehurst went to Chattahoochee High School.
6. Matt Ryan spoke to the commentators via headset in the fourth quarter. His irises were so dark and filled up so much of his eyes. Oooo! he licked his lips right before he took off the headset!
7. Great job Chris Redman!
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.