Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Overreaction Monday: Are things as they seem with Falcons, Dogs, Jackets?


Welcome to another Overreaction Monday, which seems to happen every Monday during the football season. So I thought to myself: “Hey. Dummy. Blog idea.”

Team: Falcons

Overreaction narrative: The Falcons’ are 2-0! Their big problems are fixed!

Reality check: Opening the season with wins over Philadelphia and New York is impressive, especially Sunday’s game, which came on the road against a desperate Giants’ team. But there was a period of at least two quarters (second and third) when the Giants’ offensive and defensive lines dominated. Not won, dominated. The Falcons couldn’t protect Matt Ryan. They couldn't get any pressure on Eli Manning. It was 2013 and 2014 on replay. The Falcons have shown a strong no-quit attitude, which enabled them to come back in the fourth quarter and win both games. That's a trait they didn’t show in the last two seasons. Something like that doesn't happen because of “better talent” -- it's all attitude. It’s better coaching. So credit to coach Dan Quinn and his staff. The Falcons play at Dallas this week before the schedule gets easier. But don’t be fooled. This team's margin for error remains slim and line play needs to get stronger and more consistent or there will be problems down the road.

Greyson Lambert had a career-best game against South Carolina, but was that the quarterback Georgia will see the rest of the season? (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Team: Georgia

Overreaction narrative: This is the Greyson Lambert we can expect the rest of the season!

Reality check: It was an amazing performance by Lambert in Saturday’s 52-20 dismembering of South Carolina . I covered the San Francisco 49ers when Joe Montana had a consecutive completion streak of 22 passes and Lambert looked Montana-esque, going 24-for-25 with 20 straight completions before he was taken out of the game. Lambert actually could’ve had a perfect night: His only miss was a smart overthrow in the direction of a covered Jeb Blazevich in the first quarter (before a Dogs’ field goal). Richt pointed out Sunday that Malcolm Mitchell was open on a check-down crossing over the middle and “he probably would have walked in and scored.” Hah! Slacker. Truth: If that’s going to be Lambert’s only mistake in a game, Georgia will be fine. But the reality is he still will have much to prove against Alabama in two weeks and in road games against Tennessee, Florida and Auburn. Not all defenses will wilt and collapse like South Carolina's did. (Kentucky scored 26 points, including three touchdowns, at South Carolina, then only nine points, all field goals, at home against Florida Saturday.) Was this really the quarterback who lost his starting job at Virginia? But if Lambert’s pocket awareness and accuracy against South Carolina was not a complete aberration, Georgia will have a special season.

Coach Paul Johnson and quarterback Justin Thomas got smacked when Georgia Tech stepped up in competition at Notre Dame. (AP photo)

Team: Georgia Tech

Overreaction narrative: See! Georgia Tech stinks and their offense is a relic!

Reality check: Let’s start with the option offense: It produced only one touchdown until the fourth quarter in a not-really-that-close 30-22 loss at Notre Dame. But the option is like ANY offense: It works if it’s blocked correctly and Notre Dame was blocked. The Irish simply punched the Jackets in the mouth, dominating physically. The most concerning thing was seeing Tech's  veteran players, particularly Justin Thomas,  not doing a better job of handling a tough atmosphere in South Bend. But don't the Jackets have at least one of these ugly losses every season ... and then everybody stops paying attention to them ... and then they reel off a few wins in a row and people think, "Where did they come from?" Tech should beat Duke and North Carolina in the next two weeks, but those are two teams they lost to a year ago – and you can bet every coach will be looking at the Notre Dame’s game tape to see how the Irish smothered the option. If the Jackets win the next two, their next big test is Oct. 10 at Clemson. But I wouldn’t bury the Jackets just yet. It’s a really good team that played a really bad game at the worst time -- on a national stage.


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.