ATLANTA – Today, the 2021 NFL regular season began. Fans have been waiting for this moment since last February when Tom Brady and the Buccaneers hoisted the Lombardi Trophy above their heads claiming victory in a blowout game against the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV.
And today for the Atlanta Falcons, their 2021 season started very much like the way the Kansas City Chiefs ended their season–with a blowout 32-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite a wide losing deficit, not all things were disappointing. Here are a few bright moments from the Falcons field:
- THE 9/11 TRIBUTE.
Cue the tears. There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium during this NFL-wide tribute recognizing the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Following the tribute video, Juliette Candela, daughter of the late John Candela who died in the World Trade Center, sang the national anthem while players including Matt Ryan reacted. The Falcons also paid tribute to a local first responder. It all set the tone for a battle to begin.
- THE FIRST TWO FALCON DRIVES
The Falcons came out of the box hot and for the first few minutes of the game, it looked like Arthur Smith’s debut as Atlanta Falcons head coach was going to be successful. During the first two drives, the offense moved the ball effectively throwing quick short passes with Mike Davis, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Calvin Ridley rotating carries for more than 70 yards. But they couldn’t score in the red zone in either drive and both possessions ended in short field goal attempts.
- FANFARE AT A HIGH
It was all smiles in the stands for the Falcons fans no matter what was happening on the field! The energy was electric inside the Mercedes Benz stadium and after a year of limited seating, it was clear that fans were just happy to be back watching their favorite sport live!
- FAN-FAVORITE KYLE PITTS SAW HIS FIRST NFL PLAY
The Falcons 2021 first-round draft pick from the University of Florida and the highest tight end drafted in the NFL ever was met with a loud cheer as he ran on the field for the first time as a pro football player. The rookie tight end is slated to be the face of the Falcons for years to come and fill the void left by wide receiver Julio Jones who was traded to the Titans earlier this summer. Pitts NFL debut performance was less than stellar as he had four receptions out of eight for 31 yards and his longest catch was 18 yards. Pitts was also not given the opportunity to shine as he didn’t see a majority of the targets.
- RUNNING BACK CORDARRELLE PATTERSON, LINEBACKER DION JONES AND KICKER YOUNGHOE KOO HAD SOLID GAMES.
Standouts from the Falcons: Running back Cordarrelle Patterson rushed for 54 yards on seven carries, Linebacker Dion Jones had 11 tackles and 4 solo tackles and kicker Younghoe Koo carried the offense, scoring the Falcon’s only six points.
Unfortunately, the season opener didn’t work out as well as Falcons fans or the team would have liked – but the good news is this game is behind them and anything goes for the future.
Written by Deborah Whitcas