Falcons' offense shows explosive ability

ATLANTA -- Saturday was just a taste of how explosive the Atlanta Falcons' offense can be this season.

Catch-and-run touchdowns of 30-plus yards by both Julio Jones and Devin Hester were the highlights in the Falcons' 24-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Hester started the scoring with a 31-yard touchdown off a short pass from Matt Ryan. It was his second touchdown of the preseason, and both included plenty of yards after the catch.

"He did an unbelievable job for us tonight," Ryan said of Hester. "That's something that we've seen during OTAs and during training camp. When you get him out onto the practice field, everybody has been impressed. He showed what he is capable of doing with the ball in his hands tonight."

Jones, who looks back to his normal self coming off foot surgery, exploded for a 52-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Jones caught the pass at the Titans' 45-yard line, shook off a tackle, did a spin move, then used a tremendous block by Harry Douglas at the 28-yard line to take it in for the score.

"Again, you're excited about the weapons that we have on offense," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "We've got guys that can make some plays when we get the ball in their hands; they showed that again tonight."

It certainly helped that Ryan was protected extremely well. He was sacked just once when rookie left tackle Jake Matthews got beat on an inside move. Ryan had ample time to take a few deep shots. The clean pocket helped him complete 18 of 23 passes for 224 yards and those two scores to go with a quarterback rating of 136.2.

"I felt very good," Ryan said of the line play. "Our pass protection of the ball was really good. We've got some things to clean up, some protection stuff and some scheme stuff. We've got the same stuff that we want to clean up on the outside. All in all, across the board, it was a really good effort."

Lamar Holmes was solid at right tackle, while Matthews held his own on the left side. All the starters played into the second half except for right guard Jon Asamoah, with Harland Gunn stepping into Asamoah's spot.