The Falcons are the fastest-starting team in the NFL, which is a large part of the reason they’re off to a 3-0 start.
Atlanta leads the league with 20 points scored on their first possessions this year, which sets the stage for the fact they haven’t trailed.
“It’s something we’ve done the entire time I’ve been here and we take a lot of pride in it,’’ Falcons coach Mike Smith said, via Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “We put a lot of emphasis on first impressions and a fast start is the best impression. First impressions set the tone. You don’t want to ease into it.’’
It’s not a one-year trend, either, as the Falcons lead the league since 2008 with 193 points on their first possession. The Saints (185) are second.
Of course, there’s no indication that’s going to change either. This week’s opponent, the Panthers, have given up an 80-yard touchdown drive to opponents to open the game in all three this year, rolling out the red carpet to a team that doesn’t need an invitation.
Fans settling in for the Atlanta-Carolina game Sunday might want to be situated by the time the Falcons get the ball for their first possession, particularly Falcons’ fans.
If recent history holds, it will be a case of an irresistible force meeting a movable object.
The division-leading Falcons are the only NFL team that has scored touchdowns on their opening drive in every game this season. Meanwhile, the Panthers are the only team to give up touchdowns on each of their three opponents’ opening series.
The Panthers (1-2) allowed Tampa Bay, New Orleans and the New York Giants to drive 80 yards and jump out to 7-0 leads. An Observer analysis – using the coaches’ tape and broadcast replays on the NFL.com’s Game Rewind feature – revealed the opening drives were a microcosm of the performances of the Panthers’ defense and Falcons’ offense through three games.
The Panthers did not record a sack on any of their first defensive series, and had matchup problems trying to cover tight ends and running backs. The Falcons (3-0) showed off a good balance of run and pass, and benefited from a short field after the first of three first-quarter interceptions of Peyton Manning in a Monday night game in Week 2 at the Georgia Dome.
The observer goes on to give a good break down of our opening drives on D and Atlanta's on offense.