A flyover which startled half of Essex, an American national anthem belted out from 50m high and an uncensored half-time show broadcast live on Sunday afternoon.
The NFL is back in London.
The Atlanta Falcons flew into a first quarter lead and never looked back. Kyle Pitts had quite the day, scoring his first touchdown, with quarterback Matt Ryan throwing for 342 yards in a 27-20 win.
The Atlanta Falcons flew into a first quarter lead on Sunday and never looked back
Zach Wilson, the No 2 pick of May’s draft, threw another interception – his ninth in five games – as the New Jets failed to build on a comeback victory over Tennessee. He threw for 192 yards and no touchdowns and became the fifth rookie quarterback to lose in London.
The stats at half time were damning – Atlanta had 251 total yards to the Jets’ 80 and 17 first downs to the Jets’ five. But at the final whistle, the only statistic that matters is the win.
Ahead of the first game outside of America since 2019, Haringey Council put out a tweet warning residents of the noise of the four-plane F-15 flyover. The good folk Colchester wondered if world war had been declared.
Atlanta Falcons’ Kyle Pitts (right) had quite the day, scoring his first touchdown (above)
Quarterback Matt Ryan (above) even threw a 342 yard pass in their 27-20 win on Sunday
Inside the stadium the pizazz continued. Marisha Wallace sang the Star Spangled banner in front of the Golden Cockerel at the top of the South Stand, some 46.8 metres high.
Yet the racket couldn’t wake the Jets up. They have been terrible in each first quarter – they remain scoreless and trail opponents by a combined score of 0-30.
Atlanta’s opening drive saw Ryan picking apart the Jets’ secondary at will before stalling in the red zone. As Son Heung-min will testify, South Koreans have a habit of scoring here, and Younghoe Koo’s field goal put the Falcons on the board.
Despite missing his top two receivers – Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage – Arthur Smith leaned on his tight ends, Pitts and Hayden Hurst.
The tactic was a success. In the first half Ryan was 18-27 for 189 yards, and two touchdowns.
Zach Wilson (above), the No 2 pick of May’s draft, threw another interception – his ninth in five games – as the New Jets failed to build on a comeback victory over Tennessee
The stats at half time were damning – Atlanta had 251 total yards to the Jets’ 80 and 17 first downs to the Jets’ five. But at the final whistle, the only statistic that matters is the win
The first came after a 10-play 92-yard drive, Ryan throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Pitts in the back corner of the end zone. Up against 6ft 4in, 20 stone defensive lineman John Franklin-Meyers he had little trouble in reeling in the first touchdown of his career.
Elsewhere, Swiss Army knife Cordarrelle Patterson did everything. In a nomadic NFL career, the wide receiver-cum-running back-cum kick returner had seven receptions for 60 yards and ran for 54 yards.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh spoke in the week about Wilson needing to make the boring plays. But with time to burn his inexcusably poor pass was intercepted by Jaylinn Hawkins.
Atlanta made it count with another long touchdown drive. Pitts, the No 4 overall pick in May’s draft, showed all of his finesse, grabbing a one-handed catch with his right paw.
And when Hayden Hurst reeled in a 17-yarder from Ryan, the Falcons looked home and hosed.
After another Koo field goal, Atlanta led 20-3 up at the half, a 93.1 win percentage, according to ESPN.
But nothing is a gimme with this team. The last time they played in England, the Falcons led 21-0 at half-time and contrived to lose 22-21 to Detroit.
The Jets duly reduced the arrears courtesy of Ty Johnson’s two-yard touchdown run – Matt Ammendola missing the PAT off the left upright.
Robert Saleh spoke earlier in the week about Wilson needing to make the boring plays
It looked as though New York had let any chance of a comeback slip after failing to make the most of Mike Davis’ fumble near the red zone, Shaq Lawson recovering.
But on their next possession they made it a three-point game. Michael Carter bundling over from two yards, Jamison Crowder successful with the two-point conversion.
But on the following drive, Atlanta put the game to bed with Davis’ three-yard rushing touchdown. The Jets’ final drive concluded with Ammendola’s 49-yard field goal, and after Falcons receiver Olamide Zaccheaus recovered the onside kick, Atlanta’s victory was sealed.