Say what you will about Matt Bryant; yeas he’s getting a little long in the tooth, yes he’s lost a few yards on that booming leg he had when he was young, and yes he is bald; but at the end of a tight game between two evenly matched teams, he’s a guy you like having waiting. He doesn’t ice. He’s too old for those mind games coaches like to play with younger kickers. Get him within reasonable range as the clock expires, and you’re better odds than most to walk off the field happy. And give him the thin air of Mile High and a slight wind at his back… He might just get those extra yards back for you.
It wasn’t the best showing by Matt Ryan and the offense, of course. Roddy White still looks a little old and missing a step he used to have. Julio Jones’ foot didn’t seem to notably bother him, but his routes weren’t crisp at all. And new-guy-that’s-not-Tony-Gonzalez was not Tony Gonzalez. But a couple of ground and pound drives late in the third quarter made Stephen Jackson look young again, including the decisive 22 yard scamper that got Bryant into position to win it at the end. And the new O-line opened up holes that weren’t there last year. So that’s a positive.
But the real stars of the show for Atlanta was the revamped secondary. The new D-line didn’t get tons of pressure on Peyton, but they did hassle him enough to be an improvement on last year’s debacle. And simply being not-porous like a sieve allowed William Moore and newcomer Dwight Lowery to shine in the middle, and Rob Alford made a bit of a statement by shutting down Bebe Thomas more or less all night. Granted, anyone might be an improvement over Thomas DeCoup, but you’ll take that performance against a HOF QB, even if he is aging out a bit…
Wait? What? That was a baseball game?! Fcvking Colorado, man.