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 Post subject: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:02 pm 
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In 2009, I developed a system for reviewing Atlanta Falcons games that I called "Moneyball." This name has nothing to do with Sabermetrics and baseball, but simply because it's catchy and the grading system uses monetary values to represent itself. The more money a player earns, the better.

The basis of the system is fairly straight-forward. For positive plays, a player will earn a certain monetary value (typically $1). For a negative play, a similar monetary value is taken away.

As the years have progressed, I've added more categories in which I grade. So here is the system as it stands in 2013...

PASSING
The emphasis is on moving the chains and creating big plays.

1st Down = $1
3rd Down Conversion = $1
Long (20+ yards) Completion = $1

First downs that occur on third downs are not counted twice. So a player will earn $1 if he gets a 1st down on 3rd & 2, and the same goes for 2nd & 10.

Touchdown Pass = $2
Longer (40+ yards) Completion = $2

It is assumed that all big plays (20+ yards) are first downs. Also touchdowns can be counted twice. For example, if a QB throws a 46-yard touchdown pass, he will earn $4 instead of the normal $2.

Interception = -$1
Poor Throw = -$1
Sacked = -$1

What constitutes a "poor throw" is a fairly liberal interpretation. Essentially any incompletion that is not as a direct result of pressure from a defender, broken up by a defender, throwaway, or dropped pass will be considered a poor throw on the quarterback's part. In instances where it is borderline between those things (such as a drop), I will usually give both parties (quarterback and receiver) the benefit of the doubt.

If an interception is the result of a poor throw, then that will be added so that it is worth -$2. If an interception results from a dropped or tipped pass, then it will only be -$1 because I do not feel it is right to penalize the quarterback overly.

Sacked penalty only applies to when it is the fault of the quarterback that he was sacked (e.g. holding onto the ball too long).

RUSHING

Carry of 5 or more yards = $1
First Down = $1
3rd Down Conversion = $1
A Carry which includes 5 yards or more after contact = $1

Why 5 yards? First, it's a nice round number that is higher than the NFL average per carry (which is roughly 4.2 yards per carry) and it is partially due to success rate.

As it is with quarterbacks, first downs and third down conversions are not counted twice.

Why 5 yards or more after contact, well simply because again it's a round number. What constitutes contact? It's sort of subjective, but I look to see if the defender was able to make a square hit on the ballcarrier. Basically any attempted tackle that should bring down the runner but doesn't will start where the contact occurs.

Long (10+ yards) Run = $2
Touchdown = $2

Again touchdowns can be counted twice.

Missed Hole = -$1

Missed holes are represented when a back is stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage, and it is not the fault of the blocker. Examples include when a back runs into the back of his lineman when he should have bounced outside, or tried cutting back into the teeth of the defense. It does not happen very often however.

RECEIVING

First Down = $1
3rd Down Conversion = $1
Long (20+ yards) Catch = $1
Yards After Catch of 10+ yards = $1
Longer (40+ yards) Catch = $2
Touchdown = $2

These are basically the same from quarterback, except factoring in yards after the catch (YAC). If a receiver runs for 10 or more yards after the catch, he earns an extra $1. Also touchdowns and YAC can be counted twice.

And yes it is possible for a receiver to earn yards after the catch AND yards after contact as a runner (from above). For example, if a running back catches a ball in the flat, breaks a tackle and then runs for 10 more yards, he will earn $2.

Dropped Pass = -$1

Drops are subjective. Generally I'm only counting those where the receiver gets both of his hands on the ball and weren't thrown behind/ahead or too high/low to give the receiver a reasonable chance of making the catch.

BLOCKING
Offensive linemen don't get enough credit, so the main way they earn their money is through key blocks.

Key Block = $1

You can key blocks on any of the following plays:

10+ yard Run
20+ yard Catch
1st Down on Run/Catch
3rd Down Conversion on Run/Catch
Touchdown (Run or Catch)
Pass Protection

When assessing key blocks, I try to reduce it to the least number of linemen, preferably one. The focus is on the blocker(s) who spring the runner/receiver for the big play, conversion, or score.

If two players block the same player that key block will be split between the two blockers ($0.50 for both).

Pass protection is considered when a blocker is able to pick up or chip a pass rusher at the last second which buys the QB enough time to deliver a completion. But that completion must be one that counts towards an earning (such as a 1st down, big play, or 3rd down conversion).

No Sacks Allowed = $1
No Pressures Allowed = $1

Beacuse there aren't a ton of key blocks during the course of the game, if a starting lineman goes an entire game without allowing a sack or pressure, he'll earn credit.

What is a sack? Sacks are only considered times when a quarterback is passing.

What is a pressure? Pressures are when a pass rushers forces the QB to deliver the ball early, flushes him from the pocket, or disrupts the pass in a way that causes an incompletion.

Sacks and pressures are considered separately. So a blocker can have a game where he gives up a sack, but doesn't give up a pressure (and thus earning him $1 in addition to any key blocks he may have made). Like sacks, a player can have a half-pressure. If two defenders both pressure a quarterback on the play, they will split it just like they would if they both sacked him on the play and the subsequent blockers will do so too.

Sacks Allowed = -$1
Missed Blocks = -$1

A missed block is considered when a running back is hit at or behind the line of scrimmage via the fault of a blocker missing his assignment. Like key blocks, I will attempt to try and reduce it to the lowest amount of players possible. For example if all five blockers miss their blocks, I will likely only consider the defender that hit the ballcarrier first (and thus the blocker assigned to him). If two players fail to block the same player, then they will share credit for the sack, pressure, or missed block.

SPECIAL NOTE
This is applicable to the passer, rusher, or receiver.

Two-point conversion = $1

DEFENSE
Unlike many of the offensive plays, defensive plays can be counted multiple times. The emphasis here is turnovers and preventing offenses from moving the chains.

Tackle For Loss = $1
Tackle on 3rd Down = $1
Stop = $1
Sack = $1
QB Pressure = $1
QB Hit = $1
Pass Defended = $1
Pass Defended on 3rd Down = $2
Interception = $2
Fumble Forced = $1
Fumble Recovery = $1

Tackles for loss are considered when a defender tackles the ballcarrier at or behind the line of scrimmage. A tackle on third down is credited when a player makes a stop on third down that results in a fourth down punt, essentially meaning it results in a turnover (on downs). If the offense kicks a field goal, it won't count.

Stops are a new measure I've come up with. Basically they are tackles that result in no success for an offense. If you are familiar with success rate, then you'll understand this measure. On 1st down, if a defender makes a tackle that results in less than 30% of the yards needed to get a first down, it will be considered a stop. So a 2-yard gain on 1st & 10 is a stop, but a 3-yard gain is not. On 2nd down, if the defender stops the ballcarrier for less than 40% of the yards needed to get a first down, it will be considered a stop. A 1-yard gain on 2nd & 5 will be considered a stop for the defender, but a 2-yard gain will not. Any tackle that prevents a team from converting on third or fourth down will be considered a stop, regardless of the third down tackle rules mentioned previously.

Sacks and pressures are the same rules mentioned above under blocking. It only counts as a sack when the quarterback is tackled in the act of throwing. If he decides to tuck it and run, it will be considered a tackle for loss instead. Again, a pressure only counts when the pass is incomplete.

Hits are fickle. In the NFL, if a pass rusher strips the quarterback, it counts as a sack. But here, it will count as a QB hit and a forced fumble. Unless he actually takes the QB to the ground, it will not be considered a sack. A hit is the only instance where a quarterback can complete a pass and a pass rusher still earn $1.

Passes defended include when a defender hits the receiver after the catch and forces a drop. The rules for a pass defended on 3rd down are the same for a tackle on 3rd down.

Blown Coverage on 3rd Down = -$1
Blown Coverage on Long (20+ yard) Pass = -$1
Blown Coverage on Touchdown = -$2
Missed Tackle that Results in a First Down = -$1
Missed Tackle that Results in a Touchdown = -$2
Key Blocked = -$1

There will be occasions when a team is in zone coverage and I'll struggle to figure who was at fault for the blown coverage, but I'll try my best to attribute blame.

Key Blocked is the inverse of key blocks mentioned above.

If an offense opts to go for it on fourth down, any tackles or blown coverages will be treated the same as they would be if they had occurred on third down.

KICKING

Fiedl Goal Made (under 50 yards) = $1
Field Goal Made (over 50 yards) = $2
Field Goal Missed (under 45 yards) = -$1
Field Goal Missed (under 35 yards) = -$2
PAT Missed = -$1

I tend to think that a 48-yard field isn't a chip shot, so I don't think a kicker should be blamed too much for missing it. But I also don't think he should be given extra credit for making it either.

Touchback on a Kickoff = $1

PUNTING

Punt Placed Inside the 10-yard line = $1
Punt Placed Inside the 5-yard line = $2
Fair Catch Inside the 20-yard line = $1

Touchback = -$1
Blocked Punt = -$1

RETURNS

Punt Return of 20+ yards = $1
Kickoff Return of 35+ yards = $1
Touchdown = $2

SPECIAL TEAMS

ST Tackle on Punt Return under 5 yards = $1
ST Tackle on Kickoff Return under 20 yards = $1
Blocked Kick = $1
Onside Kick Recovery = $1

Botched Snap/Hold = -$1

PENALTIES
These apply to every player.

Fumble = -$1
Fumble Lost = -$2
Penalty (Less than 15 yards) = -$1
Penalty (15+ yards) = -$2

If a defender picks off a pass or recovers a fumble, and then himself fumbles it will not be counted against him. Unless he loses the fumble and turns it back over to the offense, then it will be counted against him.

OTHER STATS

Hurries: Because there are times when a pass rusher gets pressure, but due to the failure of the defensive back or an outstanding throw by the quarterback, it will result in a completion. These will be considered Hurries. Also moments when a defender's pressure forces the QB to move off his spot in the pocket will also be considered hurries. These will not earn any money, but will be noted as an official statistic

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:04 pm 
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Here are the old rules and links to previous Moneyball reviews from 2010-12. You can also find a like to the 2009 reviews in that thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:04 pm 
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Early 2013 Reviews

Week 1 Review: viewtopic.php?p=118070#p118070

Week 2 Review: viewtopic.php?p=118071#p118071

Week 3 Review: viewtopic.php?p=118243#p118243

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:06 pm 
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http://falcfans.com/moneyball-2013-week-4-review-9132

Moneyball 2013 – Week 4 Review
October 2nd, 2013
Aaron Freeman

Atlanta’s inability to score in the red zone really cost them this game. Only once did they score a touchdown in six trips inside the red zone, settling for a trio of field goals and two missed throws on fourth down. Typically the best offenses will score touchdowns on about two-thirds of their red zone trips, while a good one on half. Meaning that with six red zone trips, the Falcons should have scored three or four touchdowns. And presumably will kick field goals on the remaining. That means that the Falcons should have scored at least 30 points on their six red zone trips (3 touchdowns + 3 field goals). Instead, they wound up with just 16 points. And now it should be fairly obvious how that affected the outcome of the game.

The Falcons played relatively well down the stretch, and I give them credit for not quitting on this game when I certainly did. Once Blount scored that touchdown, I knew then that the Falcons were going to lose. Frankly, once they gave up that big completion on the preceding play on 3rd-and-19, I knew they were going to lose. Those two consecutive plays made it clear that it wasn’t their night. But they clawed their way back into it, and almost made an improbable comeback. It would have been among the biggest chokes we could or would have seen in a long time, and from the Patriots it just would have been unheard of. As far as finishing games, no team really has been better over the past several years than Belichick’s Patriots.

I criticized Matt Ryan last week for some mistakes he made in the red zone and I’ll do the same this week. Because I’ve heard it said multiple times from other quarterbacks, and I tend to believe it, the responsibility of scoring in the red zone falls on the shoulders of the quarterback. However, I will say this about Dirk Koetter in that the offense was far too one-dimensional on the entire night, but especially in the red zone. The Falcons had only one called run in the red zone on 17 total plays from scrimmage. Seven of those passes came in the first half, so the Falcons cannot completely blame that they were throwing to catch up or stop the clock at the end.

But when I look at the five red zone trips that ended in failure and look at nine key plays that were critical as to why they ended in failure, Ryan’s name pops up in being at fault on six of them. Most of them are instances where Ryan is making difficult throws that don’t connect. So it’s hard to definitively say that Ryan is messing up because the degree of difficulty on many of the throws is fairly high, but this is why we put so much on the quarterback because at the end of the day it’s his ultimate responsibility that these plays are made. Other instances include Ryan taking a sack, or Ryan looking for the touchdown where it may have been smarter to check it down, or others where Reynolds missed a block on the lone run play called, or drops by Roddy or Toilolo.

There is no blame per se as to who’s fault it is that the Falcons aren’t getting the job done in the red zone. But all parties: Ryan, Koetter, the receivers, backs, and offensive line have to play better particularly in the red zone if the Falcons are going to start turning these close losses into wins.

As for the rest of the offense, Tony Gonzalez was excellent and made plays throughout the night despite drawing double teams. And on that note, I think not having a healthy Roddy White really impacts the offense negatively to take advantage of all the double teams that Gonzalez and Julio are drawing. This is where the problem of the Falcons not having a good fourth option after the Big Three comes to bite them. Ryan isn’t even looking at Douglas or Davis and an injured Roddy half the time. Ryan doesn’t have another option that he trusts, because an injured Roddy really isn’t that much more effective than Douglas. But at least in the case of Douglas, he made several plays late and thus I can’t be too critical. But if the Falcons had an actual fourth receiver that was good instead of Davis, they could actually sit Roddy and allow him to get healthy over the past month rather than relying on him to limp along at 70 or 80-percent.

Up front, Trueblood struggled against Rob Ninkovich, who tallied four hurries against him. He just looked stiff and really struggled to adjust in space, and it also shows in his run blocking. Reynolds also did not have a great game as Tommy Kelly gave him some problems with a pair of hurries. But he did a pretty nice job run blocking on the limited opportunities he had on the night, minus that lone mistake in the red zone. Holmes held up pretty well once he came into the game in the second quarter, so I have to give credit where credit is due. He did get beat once by Michael Buchanan on a speed rush where he did a poor job punching, but for the most part handled Chandler Jones and his side of the line well. Blalock gets credit for a good game as he really made no mistakes.

I also have to give credit to Aqib Talib. He basically shut down Vincent Jackson last week, and shut down Julio Jones for most of this game. Talib’s play these past two weeks probably made him a ton of money next off-season as he took two of the most difficult matchups in the league out of their respective teams’ game plans.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK ST PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $19 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $19.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $13 $0 $0 $0 $13.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $4 $4 $0 $0 $0 $8.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $6 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Julio Jones $0 $0 $6 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Jason Snelling $0 $3 -$2 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Roddy White $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Levine Toilolo $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 $0 -$1.00
Sam Baker $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$3 -$3.00
Defensively, the Falcons gave up too many big plays as their young corners got exposed too often. That was disappointing because while Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman aren’t chopped liver, they should not have looked as good as they did against our young corners. There have been times in the past six weeks when I’ve questioned whether Asante was an essential piece of our defense. No more, the answer simply is yes he is.

I gave credit on that blown coverage on 3rd-and-19 to McClain. The Falcons were in zone and Thompkins found that soft spot behind the corners and linebackers and underneath the safety. It was a hard play to assign blame on, but I chose McClain. It could have been Trufant who was initially lined up over Thompkins outside, but he was drawn by the slot receiver (McClain’s guy) who ran a deep pattern, suggesting that maybe McClain should have switched over to Thompkins. I also credited Stephen Nicholas for blowing the coverage on the touchdown pass to Matthew Mulligan. He like all the other defenders bit on the play-action, and Mulligan ran a drag behind the defense. But since Nicholas was initially on the side of the field that Mulligan lined up on, I figured he was initially his man.

Once again, the pass rush was mostly a non-factor. They started to get a bit more heat on Brady in the second half, but it was not nearly enough to really affect the majority of plays. I know part of it is bias on my part due to my great affinity of John Abraham, but I’ve just been very disappointed with Osi through the first month. He has a pair of sack-strips and a pick six and those certainly are three game-changing plays. But outside those three plays, he’s virtually a non-factor. He was a non-factor on Sunday. I’m trying to be objective and fair, but right now I’m leaning towards declaring the Osi experiment a failure. The trade deadline is coming up a month from now, and if he doesn’t do something in the next four weeks, the Falcons might need to make a move. I don’t know what move is, but something needs to be done.

As for special teams, recovering one onside kick is relatively flukey, recovering two is like lightning striking in the same place within five minutes. I thought Bosher punted well, Davis looked solid as a gunner, and overall it was a very solid performance. My only concern was a couple of snaps by Josh Harris were a little off. They didn’t affect things, but the margin for error for Harris is small in my eyes. Joe Zelenka was near-perfect for the 37 games he played in Atlanta. I know Harris is young and holding him to the standard of a 13-year veteran is unfair, but is the $480,000 you save over the life of Harris’ three-year contract in cap space worth all the headaches he’s created thus far and potentially could moving forward?

I hate to be so negative as I’m sure I’ve come off in this review. I know a lot of people had this sort of negative reaction a week ago after the Dolphins’ loss. I didn’t because I really thought that game was a toss-up considering the Falcons were playing on the road and had a number of injuries. But with the way the running game performed, the offensive line not looking as dire as it did in the first two weeks, and the Falcons playing at home against what looked to be an overrated Patriots team, I was very confident the Falcons would win this week. It really shattered a lot of illusions about this team I had, and I will be looking forward to seeing how they respond against the Jets next week.

PLAYER DEF ST PEN TOTALS
Matt Bosher $0 $6 $0 $6.00
Matt Bryant $0 $3 $0 $3.00
Jonathan Babineaux $3.5 $0 -$1 $2.50
Dominique Franks $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Omar Gaither $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Jonathan Massaquoi $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Thomas DeCoud $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Malliciah Goodman $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Osi Umenyiora $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Stephen Nicholas -$1 $1 $0 $0.00
Joplo Bartu -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Corey Peters -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
William Moore $1 $0 -$2 -$1.00
Akeem Dent $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Robert McClain -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Robert Alford -$1 $0 -$1 -$2.00
Desmond Trufant -$3 $0 $0 -$3.00
Advanced Stats from Week 4:

Poor Throws (6): Ryan
Drops (5): Snelling (2), Jones (1), Toilolo (1), White (1)
Key Blocks (3): Blalock (1), Hawley (1), Reynolds (0.5), Trueblood (0.5)
Missed Blocks (2): Reynolds, Trueblood
Sacks Allowed (2): Konz, Ryan
Pressures Allowed (2): Reynolds, Rodgers
Hurries Allowed (12): Trueblood (6), Reynolds (3), Holmes (2), Konz (1)

Tackles for Loss (4): Babineaux, Bartu, Dent, Massaquoi
QB Sacks (0)
QB Pressures (2): Dent (1), Babineaux (0.5), Peters (0.5)
QB Hits (2): Babineaux
QB Hurries (4): Babineaux, Goodman, Massaquoi, Peters
Passes Defended (2): Franks, Trufant
Blown Coverages (8): Trufant (3), McClain (2), Alford (1), Bartu (1), Nicholas (1)
Missed Tackles (3): Dent (2), Bartu (1)
Key Blocked (3): Dent, Massaquoi, Peters
Stops (6): Dent (2), Gaither (1), McClain (1), Nicholas (1), Bartu (0.5), DeCoud (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:23 pm 
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Glossary to be used for the quarterly stat tables:

1stD = 1st Down
20+ = 20+ Yd Play [Passing/Receiving]
3rdC = 3rd Down Conversion
40+ = 40+ Yd Play [Passing/Receiving]
5+ = 5+ Yd Play [Rushing]
10+ = 10+ Yd Play [Rushing]
BC = Blown Coverage
BCTD = Blown Coverage
Blk = Blocked Kick [Punting/Special Teams]
Drop = Pass Drop
FCIn20 = Fair Catch inside 20-yard line
FF = Fumble Forced
FGM(<50) = Field Goal Made (under 50 yards)
FGM(50+) = Field Goal Made (over 50 yards)
FGx(<45) = Field Goal Missed (under 45 yards)
FGx(<35) = Field Goal Missed (under 35 yards)
FR = Fumble Recovery
Fum = Fumbles [Penalties]
FumL = Fumbles Lost [Penalties]
HA = Hurries Allowed [Blocking]
Hi Pen = Penalty of more than 15 yards
Hit = QB Hit [Defense]
Hur = QB Hurry [Defense]
In10 = Punt inside 10-yard line
In5 = Punt inside 5-yard line
INT = Interception
KB 1st = Key Block on 1st Down
KB 3rd = Key Block on 3rd Down Conversion
KB Catch = Key Block on 20+ Yd Catch
KB Pass = Key Block in Pass Protection
KB Run = Key Block on 10+ Yd Run
KB TD = Key Block on Touchdown
KBd = Key Blocked [Defense]
KR(35+) = Kickoff Return (over 35 yards)
Lo Pen = Penalty of less than 15 yards
MB = Missed Blocks
MH = Missed Hole
MT = Missed Tackle
MTTD = Missed Tackle on Touchdown
OKR = Onside Kick Recovery
PATx = Extra Point Missed
PD = Pass Defended
PD3 = Pass Defended on 3rd down
PR(20+) = Punt Return (over 20 yards)
PT = Poor Throw
QBPA = QB Pressures Allowed [Blocking]
QBP = QB Pressure [Defense]
RAC(10+) = Run After Contact (10 or more yards gained) [Receiving]
SA = Sacks Allowed [Blocking]
Sack = QB Sack [Defense]
Skd = Sacked [Passing]
Snap = Botched Snap/Hold
STTk PR = Special Teams Tackle on Punt Return under 5 yards
STTk KR = Special Teams Tackle on Kickoff Return under 20 yards
TB = Touchback
TD = Touchdown
TFL = Tackle for Loss
Tk3 = Tackle on 3rd down
YAC(5+) = Yards After Contact (5 or more yards gained) [Rushing]

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:38 am 
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http://falcfans.com/moneyball-2013-week-5-review-9221

Moneyball 2013 – Week 5 Review

October 16th, 2013
Aaron Freeman

Sorry for this being over a week late as I just got busy with the day job and an epidemic of procrastination. To be honest, much of this game has faded from my memory at least in terms of specific instances and plays that I would normally point out. And rightly so, considering this was probably the most disappointing loss of the season for the Falcons.

In their second “must-win” game the Falcons failed to pull out the victory. And this game was worse because the Falcons had been thoroughly outplayed for much of the game, but turned it on at the end to seemingly steal the win. That is your typical Mike Smith-led Falcons team, that manage to win these types of ball games even when they aren’t the better team on that particularly Sunday. But then the defense had a major letdown (more on that later) and the Falcons had another loss on their hands.

Offensively, I don’t think the Falcons were bad by any means. They were able to convert in the red zone, a stark change from previous games. But it is concerning how many plays the Falcons had to run in several of those instances to get points. Their first red zone trip had a total of six plays inside the 20, their second had nine, and the final one had eight. An offense that is clicking should be able to score within three or four plays inside the red zone, as the Falcons did on two of their red zone trips. But the Falcons seemed to inch along inside the red zone, and got help with penalties on the Jets that helped keep them rolling. While the end result may look positive as far as the Falcons red zone woes, what you actually saw on the field is by no means promising.

At least as far as the red zone goes, I really wanted to see the Falcons try some fade patterns. I know the Jets were bracketing Julio Jones with safety help, and doubling Tony Gonzalez at times, but I still believe if Koetter had been more creative with how he lined guys up, there were plenty of instances where he could have gotten either player one on one in a favorable matchup. I did like the fact that the Falcons now seem to be regularly employing Levine Toilolo in the red zone, with three straight games where he has seen a target in the end zone. Obviously now, the Falcons don’t have Jones anymore. But I’m thinking in terms of trying to avoid these long, drawn out red zone trips, the Falcons should just go for the fade to Gonzalez (and now Toilolo instead of Jones) on first down. Gonzalez is money in traffic, and Toilolo with his size and athleticism is going to out-jump any defender in the league. And you should be confident that Matt Ryan has the touch to throw a catchable pass in the end zone, so I would like to see the Falcons going straight for the throat in these instances rather than plodding along in the red zone.

I thought the Falcons did a nice job trying to stay balanced, even though their running game wasn’t overly effective. That was mainly because the interior of the Falcons offensive line got pushed around by the likes of players like Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Kenrick Ellis, and Damon Harrison in the middle. Joe Hawley, serving as the extra tackle was credited with the missed block on the goal line run by Rodgers at the end of the first half. A positive is that the Falcons pass rush held up okay relative to some recent performances with two sacks, 1 pressure, and 5 hurries allowed on 47 dropbacks.

While the Falcons got no contribution from Harry Douglas in the passing game, Kevin Cone made a key catch to extend a drive. And both he and Davis also contributed as blockers on Rodgers’ 19-yard touchdown run.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK ST PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $19 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$2 $17.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $9 $0 $0 $0 $0 $9.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $7 $1 $0 $0 $8.00
Jason Snelling $0 $2 $4 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Julio Jones $0 $0 $5 $0 $0 -$1 $4.00
Levine Toilolo $0 $0 $4 $0 $0 $0 $4.00
Kevin Cone $0 $0 $1 $1 $0 $0 $2.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Drew Davis $0 $0 $0 $1 $1 $0 $2.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Patrick DiMarco $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Antone Smith $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Roddy White $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 -$2 $0.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 -$1 -$2.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 -$2 $0 $0 -$2.00
Defensively, the Falcons struggled in this game. Obviously they gave up the scoring drive at the very end that lost the game for the team. The Jets really had no issues moving the ball the 55 yards necessarily to get into field goal range for the game-winning kick. Massaquoi had his lone pressure on Geno Smith on that drive, but didn’t have what it takes to finish the play. That has been a problem with Massaquoi all year. He has a decent first step, but doesn’t play with great balance to keep his feet and finish plays, constantly stumbling when he gets off the block. The pass rush in general was very lackluster. While they were able to dial up a bit more pressure in the second half, thanks to blitzing, the lack of pressure in the first half was key to the Jets getting out to their early lead. Smith had all time to throw, and the Falcons back-seven paid for it. Joplo Bartu had a tough day, looking overmatched by Jeff Cumberland in coverage too many times and missed a few too many tackles. He also got credited with blowing the coverage on the Kellen Winslow touchdown catch, as I think he was sucked up by the run action (Smith scrambling) and blew his assignment, which allowed Winslow to sneak to the back of the end zone.

The run defense started strong, as the Jets were successful on only 1 of their 8 running back runs in the first half. But they managed to be successful on 6 of 11 in the second half. The Falcons missed a bunch of tackles in this game as well.

It’s hard to point out players that played well, although I would point to Babineaux, Worrilow, and Trufant probably being the best. But none had strong performances, which is often the case when the Falcons lose.

On special teams, Shann Schillinger missed the block that led to the blocked punt. Thomas DeCoud missed the tackle on the 36-yard kickoff return in the second quarter.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Corey Peters $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Desmond Trufant $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Osi Umenyiora $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Jonathan Babineaux $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Jonathan Massaquoi $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Paul Worrilow $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Robert Alford $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Stephen Nicholas $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Matt Bosher $0 $2 -$2 $0.00
Asante Samuel $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Thomas DeCoud -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Omar Gaither -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Robert McClain -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
William Moore -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Joplo Bartu -$6 $0 $0 -$6.00
Advanced Stats from Week 5:

Poor Throws (4): Ryan
Drops (1): Jones
Key Blocks (5): Blalock, Cone, Davis, Gonzalez, Reynolds
Sacks Allowed (2): Reynolds, Trueblood
Pressures Allowed (1): Konz (0.5), Rodgers (0.5)
Hurries Allowed (5): Holmes (2), Konz (1), Snelling (1), Trueblood (1)
Missed Blocks (8): Reynolds (3), Blalock (2), Konz (2), Hawley (1)

Tackles for Loss (1): Bartu
QB Sacks (3): Umenyiora (2), Peters (1)
QB Pressures (2): Babineaux, Massaquoi
QB Hits (1): DeCoud
QB Hurries (0)
Passes Defended (2): Peters, Trufant
Blown Coverages (5): Bartu (3), DeCoud (1), Trufant (1)
Missed Tackles (8): Bartu (2), Babineaux (1), DeCoud (1), McClain (1), Moore (1), Worrilow (1), Umenyiora (1)
Key Blocked (2): Gaither, Worrilow
Stops (6): Worrilow (2), Babineaux (1), McClain (1), Trufant (1), Nicholas (0.5), Umenyiora (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:19 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 7 Review

October 22nd, 2013
Aaron Freeman

It was a solid win for the Atlanta Falcons over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons really needed to come out strong after their bye week to get their season back on track.

But after watching the tape, I’m not as impressed with this win as I was initially on Sunday. It’s clear that the Bucs are simply a bad team, and while the Falcons are better, I certainly won’t say that they are a good team. The Bucs really hurt themselves with a bunch of penalties and missed opportunities. While it didn’t reach as bad as their infamous performance in Week 17 of 2011 under Radio Raheem, it’s inching closer to that point. While the Falcons controlled this game from start to finish, the Bucs never took advantage of the numerous opportunities they had to get back into this game. In the end, the Falcons won a game that they should have won, but it doesn’t inspire me with a ton of confidence going forward that the team is going to play significantly better in the coming weeks as they did before the bye.

Despite excellent numbers, Matt Ryan was more solid than spectacular. He made several very good throws, but it seemed like the Falcons had a fairly conservative gameplan in the early going. The Bucs had a couple of breakdowns in the secondary that led to some big plays early such as the two to Harry Douglas in the second quarter. While Douglas gets credit for making the plays, it really was a terrible play on the ball by Leonard Johnson on the 54-yard pass and a blown assignment on Mark Barron on the 37-yard touchdown that are more responsible for those plays more than anything Douglas did in particular.

The key for Ryan was that he got good pass protection throughout the game. While the Falcons weren’t spotless up front, the fact that they allowed no sacks, one pressure, and only four hurries the entire game made all the difference. Lamar Holmes looked his best thus far this year, but then again any decent NFL starter should look fairly good going up against Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Trevor Scott, and Adrian Clayborn. The Falcons did a solid job keeping Gerald McCoy in relative check, as he only had one pressure (vs. Holmes), one hit (vs. Blalock), and one hurry (vs. Reynolds). The Bucs tried to dial up some blitzes, and the Falcons did a fairly solid job picking it up. With time to throw, Ryan was able to locate receivers, particularly Douglas. But so much of the Falcons offense seemed to be devoted to underneath throws to Douglas and Jacquizz Rodgers, with five screens to the latter including the one for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The running game was very ineffectual, although that was because the blocking was poor up front as nobody really got any push against the Bucs front. Lavonte David was a force against the run, and accounted for both of Peter Konz’s missed blocks in the first quarter.

I noticed the Falcons barely used Levine Toilolo throughout the game, and he got no snaps in the red zone. That was very disappointing given how effective he’s been there the past three games. I’m not sure there’s a good reason why Brian Robiskie and Drew Davis are getting snaps in the red zone, and Toilolo is not.

I know I sound negative, but truthfully the Falcons did what they needed to do, nothing more. The backup receivers in Darius Johnson and Davis, each made nice plays, but considering how many snaps they got, the fact that they really only had 2 catches isn’t very promising. Considering the low expectations however, I can’t complain too much. I’ll just say that I’m very much looking forward to the day that Roddy White is back in the lineup.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK ST PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $13 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$1 $12.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $2 $9 $1 $0 $0 $12.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $9 $0 $0 -$1 $8.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $0 $3.00
Jason Snelling $0 $3 $0 $0 $0 $0 $3.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 -$1 $1.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Drew Davis $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Darius Johnson $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Antone Smith $0 $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00

Defensively, the Falcons once again were solid but not great. The pass rush was better and the front got more pressure than in past games. Nine combined sacks, pressures, and hits on 47 dropbacks is a solid number, especially when you consider there was another three hits, and one pressure that were nullified by penalties. Every single defensive linemen that played except for Corey Peters got a hit, hurry, sack, or pressure. This was Malliciah Goodman’s best game, showcasing good ability both versus the run and pass. Stansly Maponga even showed he is trying to develop a spin move and got a hurry. Peria Jerry had a solid game and really gave Davin Joseph quite a bit of trouble. Joseph is a player that I’ve always thought was a bit overrated, and his performance in this game lends credence to that belief. He gave up two hits, a sack, a pressure, a pair of hurries, and two penalties. Mike Nolan seemed ready to dial up a blitz on nearly every third down. It was clear that the crowd noise really affected the Bucs offense with three false start penalties.

But I can’t really say that the Falcons defense had a great game. The turnover early was a key difference maker. While the Falcons didn’t get gashed against the run, I do think the injury to Martin and the early lead helped them greatly there. Martin was successful on 5 of his 11 carries before he went down early in the third quarter. On the play that he got knocked out of the game, that was Glennon’s 25th dropback for a pass, giving the Bucs a run-pass balance 34:66, out of whack for where they wanted to be especially when you consider how green Glennon is. He is still predominantly a first-read quarterback, and it led to a couple of the sacks the Falcons got because he was waiting for his first option to get open.

Locking onto his primary read is the main reason why Vincent Jackson saw 22 targets. I don’t think Desmond Trufant was great in coverage, but I think he did a solid job working out of the slot. Several times he got beat were on pick plays and speed outs, which are tough to defend. I think his ball skills made up for things and he also was active against the run. Jackson is a very touch assignment, and relatively-speaking I think Trufant held his own. The touchdown to Jackson where he beat DeCoud was a head-scratcher. Not sure why the Falcons didn’t have a cornerback on the field. Actually I know why, because the Falcons were selling out against the run in their goal line defense. But I’m not sure why there isn’t one cornerback on the field in their goal line defense to account for the possibility that the other team could actually throw to a wide receiver, especially when they have a 6-5 playmaker like Jackson, an easy target on fades.

Robert Alford made a couple of nice plays in coverage, but his low earnings were due to a pair of penalties and his fumble on the punt return. Overall, it was a good collective effort for the secondary, with William Moore having an excellent game.

But again, I think there were a lot of missed opportunities by the Bucs. They had a bunch of penalties (as did the Falcons). A penalty wiped out a touchdown to Tiquan Underwood late in the game and they wound up settling for a field goal. That was thanks to a face mask penalty on Joseph that basically took four points of the board. But five minutes earlier, Glennon missed on a throw that saw a wide open Jackson in the end zone. And that would have meant the Bucs could have cut the lead to 7 points with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, rather than milking another five minutes off the clock and winding up with only 3 points.

Again, I don’t want to be overly negative in regards to the Falcons. But the eye in the sky is more indicative of a bad Bucs offense than a good Falcons defense.

But at this point in the year, you take what you can get with the Falcons. I wouldn’t call this an ugly win for the Falcons, rather an unglamorous one. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly made strides. More akin to baby steps than any great leap forward.

As for special teams, again, Alford’s fumble is disconcerting. And when you fumble your first actual return, that’s never a good sign. I’d like to see the Falcons give Darius Johnson a look there. But knowing the Falcons and the eternity it took them to make a switch last year with Dominique Franks, I won’t hold my breath that there is a change there. Frankly, I’d much rather see Franks there. He might as well contribute something on special teams. I’m not sure why he isn’t on kickoff coverage, as Thomas DeCoud plays there. I’m not referring to DeCoud playing on the kickoff return team, where his work on the hands team was excellent with his onside recovery. Had he not made that play, I think Kevin Cone was about to get blasted and the Bucs would have recovered. I’m talking about covering kickoffs. DeCoud expends the minimal effort necessary there, and I don’t get why the Falcons don’t have Franks or Drew Davis there. Even if they aren’t good, they can’t be any worse than a lolly-gagging DeCoud. My best guess is that maybe he’s hanging back as a safety valve in case the returner breaks a long run. But does the fact that he plays safety make him particularly more skilled at that than Franks or another player?

They pulled Davis completely off special teams apparently because he was starting on offense. Which I guess was to lighten his workload, but since he isn’t exactly pulling much weight on offense, I’m not sure why that is necessary. Especially when Massaquoi is covering kicks. I know technically he doesn’t start, nor pull significant reps, but given his relative value, I don’t think it’s a great idea.

I do think that Alford is potentially a much better gunner than Davis on punts. Davis has been solid there this year, but Alford’s sueroper speed is a good match with Antone Smith on the opposite side.

PLAYER DEF ST PEN TOTALS
Matt Bosher $0 $4 $0 $4.00
Jonathan Babineaux $3.5 $0 $0 $3.50
William Moore $3.5 $0 $0 $3.50
Peria Jerry $2.5 $0 $0 $2.50
Osi Umenyiora $2.5 $0 $0 $2.50
Thomas DeCoud $2 $1 -$1 $2.00
Malliciah Goodman $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Robert McClain $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Cliff Matthews $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Matt Bryant $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Joplo Bartu $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Desmond Trufant $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Asante Samuel $2 $0 -$2 $0.00
Corey Peters $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Dominique Franks $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Omar Gaither -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Paul Worrilow -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Jonathan Massaquoi $0.5 $0 -$2 -$1.50
Akeem Dent -$1.5 $0 $0 -$1.50
Robert Alford $3 $0 -$5 -$2.00
Stansly Maponga $0 $0 -$2 -$2.00
Advanced Stats from Week 7:

Poor Throws (3): Ryan
Drops (0)
Key Blocks (2): Blalock, Rodgers
Missed Blocks (5): Blalock (2), Konz (2), Holmes (1)
Sacks Allowed (0)
Pressures Allowed (1): Holmes
Hurries Allowed (5): Holmes (1), Reynolds (1), Snelling (1), Hawley (0.5), Trueblood (0.5)

Tackles for Loss (4): Babineaux (1), McClain (1), Umenyiora (1), Jerry (0.5), Moore (0.5)
QB Sacks (3): Jerry (1), Moore (1), Bartu (0.5), Massaquoi (0.5)
QB Pressures (4): Babineaux (2.5), Bartu (1), Umenyiora (0.5)
QB Hits (2): Jerry, McClain
QB Hurries (3): Goodman, Maponga, Massaquoi
Passes Defended (6): Alford (2), Moore (2), Samuel (1), Trufant (1)
Blown Coverages (6): Trufant (3), Bartu (1), DeCoud (1), Samuel (1)
Missed Tackles (4): DeCoud, Dent, Gaither, Moore
Key Blocked (3): Dent, Peters, Worrilow
Stops (9): Goodman (2), DeCoud (1.5), Matthews (1), Peters (1), Samuel (1), Trufant (1), Umenyiora (1), Dent (0.5)

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"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 8 Review
October 30th, 2013
Aaron Freeman

Matt Ryan had his worst performance of 2013 in Week 8

Overall, a very disappointing performance for the Atlanta Falcons were they got thoroughly outplayed by the Arizona Cardinals on both sides of the ball for four quarters.

Offensively, I’m going to blame the team’s lack of a deep threat and their inability to get much push on the ground for the main causes of their problems. I counted only one instance in the first half of the game where the Falcons took a measured shot and threw a pass beyond 15 yards. That occurred on an 18-yard throw by Matt Ryan to Drew Davis on a deep in on their second possession of the game. Remember the Falcons had 27 drop backs in the first half. They took more shots downfield in the second half, but that was mainly because they were trying to get back into the game. Ryan did not have the best game and had a few opportunities in the second half to get the big strike. On their first play of the third quarter, Darius Johnson was streaking down field and had a step on the defender, but for whatever reason Ryan chose to check the ball down to Patrick DiMarco for a 2-yard gain. It wasn’t a matter of not seeing him nor having protection, just that Ryan chose to check it down. Then in the fourth quarter, when Ryan hit Harry Douglas on a 25-play on an out and up, if Ryan had put a bit more air under the ball, Douglas could have ran under it and scored a touchdown. That would have given the Falcons six points with roughly 8 minutes left in the game. Instead they ultimately went down the field and scored on that drive, but four additional minutes bled off the clock.

Ryan threw four interceptions, and the first and third one were solely on him. He didn’t see Daryl Washington in the throwing lane on the first pick. On the third one, he tried to throw to a very well-covered Davis, forcing a throw. He then threw a bad ball, and Tyrann Mathieu had an easy pick. The second and fourth interceptions could be blamed on pressure preventing Ryan from stepping into his throws, and hanging up a ball for easy picks by Rashad Johnson. Both times, the Cardinals were able to get a free rusher to Ryan (Marcus Benard on the second pick and Karlos Dansby on the fourth one).

Overall, I thought the pass protection was serviceable. Granted, the standard has fallen sharply in Atlanta over the years. And I would say the line gave Ryan enough protection to make throws if not for the emphasis on short and intermediate throws. Frankly, the Falcons receivers aren’t good enough, and I liked that Dirk Koetter resorted to a lot of pick plays and complementary routes to help his receivers. But it’s clear that this group of receivers is not capable of carrying the load, especially when a team has to drop back 65 times in game. Especially when the no-huddle isn’t part of the equation.

That’s where the offensive line really gets the blame with their poor run blocking. Steven Jackson had really no space to get going, with maybe a yard before he would run into a wall. Granted, part of it was the fact that Jackson didn’t look sharp. And if this is all the push the Falcons can muster, they are better served using Jacquizz Rodgers as their primary rusher. Rodgers isn’t as consistent, but his quickness means he’s much more capable of creating beyond his blocking. The Falcons utilized a lot of traps and pulls in their man blocking, and frankly players like Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett were eating, chewing, and spitting out their blocks like sunflower seeds. I might need a second set of hands to count how many times the Falcons tried to double-team Campbell and he’d still clog the lane or make the tackle. I remember one instance vividly where Justin Blalock pushed Campbell downfield one-on-one, and then Reynolds was supposed to pull into the hole, but it was clogged by another defender and Jackson was stopped for a two-yard gain. Lamar Holmes struggled, but I should note his struggles came largely when he was blocking Campbell or John Abraham one-on-one. That has been the issue throughout this season, where there has been a significant gap in abilities when our blockers face opposing team’s good defensive linemen and/or linebackers. Blalock has been the only player that has shown that he can actually compete with premier opponents this year. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they face a lot of good defensive linemen and linebackers the rest of the season. So unless the Falcons make a move sooner rather than later, that’s an issue that isn’t going to be solved until the offseason.

PLAYERS PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $5 $3 $0 $0 $0 $0 $8.00
Drew Davis $0 $0 $7 $1 $0 $0 $7.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $5 $0 $0 $0 $5.00
Darius Johnson $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $0 $3.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $1 $1 $1 $0 $0 $3.00
Kevin Cone $0 $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Antone Smith $0 $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 -$2 $0.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $2 -$1 $0 -$1 $0.00
Steven Jackson $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 -$2 -$3.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 -$2 $0 -$1 -$3.00

Ultimately I am more disappointed with the defensive performance than the offensive one. I expected the offense to look at least mildly competent in some areas, but I figured they would struggle against the Cardinals defense, which is one of the best in the league. But I really thought the Falcons defense would find a way to keep us in this game, which they did not. They gave up too many big plays early in the game, and they never really got a significant amount of pressure on Palmer.

I’m really disappointed in Osi Umenyiora after this game, where it looked like his matchup against Cardinals left tackle Bradley Sowell was going to be a huge advantage in favor of the Falcons. Well, that was not the case as Sowell looked far more than competent going up against Osi. The interior was able to apply some pressure throughout the game, and Jonathan Babineaux had one of his better games since the mid-point last season. Corey Peters continues to do an excellent job defending the run. I think the team might want to consider using Peria Jerry as a situational pass rusher. He’s far more effective there than he is defending the run, and I think Malliciah Goodman might deserve increased reps as a run defender, where he has made the majority of his impact. The unfortunate thing about the Falcons pressure is that both Peters and Babineaux’s sacks came off stunts, and Jerry was really a coverage sack more than anything. The issue with why the Falcons pass rush has been sporadic at best this year is because they do not have players that can consistently beat one-on-one blocks, like the Cardinals obviously have with Abraham, Campbell, and Dockett.

Both of the touchdown passes the Falcons gave up were when they were working in zone coverage. If you don’t already know my thoughts on zone coverage, it’s fairly simple: I hate it. The Falcons have been bad at it seemingly forever and I think the Falcons corners have shown enough ability and promise that the coaching staff should be more willing to trust them to play on an island in man coverage. Desmond Trufant has broken up a pass in every game he’s played this year, which is a fairly impressive streak. Robert Alford has been an upgrade in the nickel spot over Robert McClain in terms of coverage. I do think the Falcons did feel a bit the effects of a downgrade in run defense there, as McClain’s effectiveness as a run defender is the main reason why his earnings this year haven’t been abysmal. Dominique Franks is the goat on the first touchdown pass to Fitzgerald, as he was responsible for the deep middle. If you’re going to play zone, then put McClain back there instead of Franks. The second touchdown, Paul Worrilow and Thomas DeCoud were credited with the blown coverage.

The only phase of the game where the Falcons won was on special teams. They did an excellent job covering punts, McClain was a breath of fresh air as a punt returner, and they even recovered an onside kick. Patrick DiMarco gets credit for clearing out the defender to allow Matt Bosher to recover the onside. I still don’t get why DeCoud is on kickoff coverage, but Kemal Ishmael got an opportunity there. I’m curious to see what he does there if he continues to get reps there, as he was a player that I believed had a bright future on special teams. Zeke Motta also is getting increased reps on both kickoff and punt coverage, and I think that will also pay off in the Falcons favor.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Jonathan Babineaux $6.5 $0 $0 $6.50
Matt Bosher $0 $4 $0 $4.00
Corey Peters $2.5 $0 $0 $2.50
Asante Samuel $2.5 $0 $0 $2.50
Akeem Dent $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Matt Bryant $0 $2 $0 $2.00
Malliciah Goodman $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Thomas DeCoud $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
William Moore $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Osi Umenyiora $2 $0 -$2 $0.00
Jonathan Massaquoi $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Cliff Matthews $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Paul Worrilow -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Peria Jerry $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Joplo Bartu -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Desmond Trufant $1 $0 -$3 -$2.00
Robert Alford -$1 $0 -$1 -$2.00
Dominique Franks -$2 $0 $0 -$2.00

Advanced Stats from Week 8:

Poor Throws (7): Ryan
Drops (4): Douglas (2), Davis (1), Johnson (1)
Key Bocks (2): Davis, Rodgers
Missed Blocks (6): Holmes (2), Trueblood (2), Gonzalez (1), Konz (1)
Sacks Allowed (4): Konz, Reynolds, Ryan, Trueblood
Pressures Allowed (5): Holmes (2), Jackson (1), Reynolds (1), Rodgers (1)
Hurries Allowed (6): Reynolds (2), Blalock (1), Holmes (1), Konz (1), Ryan (1)

Tackles for Loss (5): Babineaux (2), Dent (1), Goodman (1), Umenyiora (1)
QB Sacks (3): Babineaux, Jerry, Peters
QB Pressures (0)
QB Hits (1): Worrilow
QB Hurries (1): Umenyiora
Passes Defended (2): Alford, Trufant
Blown Coverages (4): Worrilow (1.5), Franks (1), DeCoud (0.5), Moore (0.5), Samuel (0.5)
Missed Tackles (3): Bartu (2), Peters (1)
Key Blocked (5): Alford (2), Jerry (1), Trufant (1), Worrilow (1)
Stops (14): Babineaux (2.5), Peters (2.5), Worrilow (1.5), Bartu (1), Dent (1), Matthews (1), Moore (1), Samuel (1), Trufant (1), Umenyiora (1), DeCoud (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:05 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 9 Review
November 5th, 2013
Aaron Freeman

Upon further review, Matt Ryan was not as bad as I initially thought.

Obviously, he had the three interceptions and those were not good plays for the Falcons. Two of them were definitely his fault. But one of them I can’t get too mad over. The first interception was on Ryan. He stared down Tony Gonzalez, who tried a double move against Luke Kuechly. Kuechly didn’t bite and Ryan threw it right at him. Because Ryan staring down Gonzalez, the safety left Patrick DiMarco wide open down the sideline. The other interception that was obviously Ryan’s fault was the final one where he tried to throw a quick curl to Drew Davis at the end of the game. The corner read the play the whole way and jumped it.

But I don’t really blame Ryan on the second interception. He could have made a better throw, but it was a good read and a nice anticipatory throw where he threw to a spot. The problem was Harry Douglas was a half-step slow in getting to that spot. Sure, there were a lot of blue jerseys in the vicinity of the throw, but really none of them were in a position to make a play on the throw. The fact that Quintin Mikell was able to get his hand on the throw was sheer luck, more the result of a desperation swipe than because he was in position. Looking back on the play, I have little to no doubt that had that been Roddy White or Julio Jones, they would have caught the ball.

But all that said, it doesn’t mean Ryan played well. I thought he was very tentative in the early going of the game, looking for the checkdown a bit too quickly. On the first third down of the game, he checked down to Steven Jackson, when I think he could have converted on a first down to Douglas. On the opening play of the third possession, he didn’t even look downfield for a throw, just immediately decided to throw to Jacquizz Rodgers in the flat (ultimately for a 1-yard gain). He could have potentially had Douglas on that play on a downfield throw. Also, on the 32-yard pass he threw to Douglas in the third quarter, he under threw him on the out-and-up. It could have been a much bigger gain with better ball placement throwing over Douglas’ outside shoulder.

Other than that play and the 16-yard throw Ryan made over the middle to Douglas that turned in a 41-yard gain thanks to his ability after the catch, I didn’t really see the Falcons try to go deep at all. That was very disappointing after the things I saw last week.

I’m sure you’re noticing how on these missed opportunities, the receiver I’m mentioning is Douglas, and not Davis or Darius Johnson. Well, the obvious reason for that is because neither player really got open. I don’t quite understand why those two receivers are getting so many snaps, while Levine Toilolo is in the single digits. I understand that the playbook that Dirk Koetter developed upon his arrival in Atlanta was going to feature a lot more 3-wide receiver sets due to the presences of White, Jones, and Douglas, alongside Gonzalez. But Jones and White are not playing, and the Falcons need to utilize more two tight end sets. Toilolo is poised to be the incumbent to start at tight end next year, and the Falcons need to find out what they have in him. The Falcons have a fairly good idea what they have in Davis and Johnson: special teamers. But even still, they aren’t in a position where they are going to be logging significant reps anytime soon once this season is over. I know Koetter used to utilize a lot of two-tight end sets during his days at Arizona State, so it’s not like it’s a foreign concept to him. Toilolo played 10 snaps on Sunday, after a combined 15 the two previous weeks. It should be noted that in Jacksonville under Koetter, the No. 2 tight end averaged roughly 20 snaps a game. It makes no sense for Toilolo to be spending so much time on the bench as it’s hurting this team both short-term and long-term.

The offensive line played pretty well. Sam Baker had a solid game in his first back in the lineup. He gave up a hurry on the final drive, but otherwise had a solid game. Lamar Holmes gave up his sack and pressure in the fourth quarter, both to Charles Johnson. You have to give both tackles credit for holding up fairly well against Johnson and Greg Hardy. The interior struggled to block Star Lotulelei one-on-one in the run game, but at times neutralized him with double teams.

I have to give Patrick DiMarco credit, he absolutely destroyed Luke Kuechly on the first play of the fourth quarter. It ultimately was only a one-yard gain by Rodgers on the sweep because he cut it up early, and Peter Konz didn’t maintain his block on Colin Cole. But DiMarco knocked Kuechly silly and that is probably going to be the highlight of his season. Reminded me of Ovie Mughelli in his heyday.

I credited Douglas with the illegal formation that was attributed to Holmes. Douglas wasn’t on the line of scrimmage, while Holmes was.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Steven Jackson $0 $8 $2 $0 $0 $0 $10.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $6 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Matt Ryan $6 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $4 $0 $0 -$1 $3.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 $3 $0 -$1 $2.00
Sam Baker $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $2 $1 $0 $0 -$2 $1.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Patrick DiMarco $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Darius Johnson $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00

On the defensive side of the ball, the defense gets credit for keeping the Falcons in the game. I’m not sure they played a great game of football, as I think some of the struggles and stops by the Panthers offense could be attributed more to Cam Newton’s inaccuracy than anything the defense did.

There was pressure through the early part of this game, but in the entire second half of the game, I only counted one hurry and one hit on 16 dropbacks by the Panthers. I credited Massaquoi with the sack on the opening series, since all Osi really did was fall on Newton after Massaquoi took him to the ground. But Osi did get credit for a quarterback hit on that play. On that play, Massaquoi showed a nice bull rush, getting his hands inside and working Jordan Gross back into the pocket. Massaquoi had another pressure nullified by Desmond Trufant’s bogus pass interference call in the second quarter. Overall, he had his best game as a pass rusher, able to utilize the stunt to get to Newton on two occasions.

Paul Worrilow had a bunch of tackles, and several of them were stops (i.e. successes for the defense). Four of his stops came in the final 17 minutes of the game. By then, he had already accumulated around a dozen tackles.

Robert Alford was credited with three blown coverages, although it really should have been two, thanks to a very generous spot given to Ted Ginn at the end of the second quarter. Once again, the Falcons gave up another big play while working in zone coverage. This time it came on 1st-and-20 where Olsen made a 23-yard catch in the third quarter. That ultimately proved to be Trufant’s lone blown coverage, since he should have released off his guy and come up underneath to defend Olsen. I still don’t quite get why the Falcons so easily resort to zone coverage in these long-distance situations. There seems to be multiple times every game where they give up the first down and the zone offers no benefit. William Moore got credited with blowing the coverage on Olsen’s wide open touchdown catch. He completely sold out versus the run, leaving Olsen to sneak behind the defense off the play-action.

Akeem Dent was incorrectly flagged for a face mask, when it was really on Peria Jerry. I also credited the “TEAM” with the 12-men on the field penalty.

There weren’t really many more standout performances, which is why I can’t say the defense played well. Again, there were probably a half dozen big plays left on the field that were due to Newton missing on throws. But because of that, the Falcons stayed in the game, but the offense was unable to capitalize on the numerous opportunities presented to it.

On special teams, to no surprise Jason Snelling returned to his duties on punt coverage. So I guess we won’t be seeing Josh Vaughan again this year. I also noticed that on one punt, the Panthers tried to double Alford as the gunner and left one solitary guy to block Antone Smith at the other gunner spot. Big mistake, as Smith blew by his guy to force a fair catch. Although I do think Smith was out of his lane on the 24-yard punt return by Ginn that helped set up Carolina’s second touchdown with favorable field position. Smith got inside too early, and Ginn was easily able to get to the sideline and break the return.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Jonathan Massaquoi $4 $0 $0 $4.00
Matt Bosher $0 $4 $0 $4.00
Paul Worrilow $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Asante Samuel $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Osi Umenyiora $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Jonathan Babineaux $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Matt Bryant $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Desmond Trufant $2 $0 -$2 $0.00
Joplo Bartu $0.5 $0 -$1 -$0.50
Corey Peters -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Robert Alford -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Thomas DeCoud -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Akeem Dent -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
William Moore -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
TEAM $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Peria Jerry -$2 $0 -$2 -$4.00

Advanced Stats from Week 9:

Poor Throws (3): Ryan
Drops (1): Douglas
Key Blocks (2): DiMarco, Reynolds
Missed Blocks (2): Blalock, Konz
Sacks Allowed (1): Holmes
Pressures Allowed (1): Holmes
Hurries Allowed (3): Baker, Blalock, Holmes

Tackles for Loss (2): Moore (1), DeCoud (0.5), Worrilow (0.5)
QB Sacks (1): Massaquoi
QB Pressures (1): Babineaux
QB Hits (5): Umenyiora (2), Massaquoi (1.5), Peters (1.5)
QB Hurries (3): Umenyiora (2), Worrilow (1)
Passes Defended (3): Bartu, Massaquoi, Samuel
Blown Coverages (7): Alford (3), DeCoud (1), Moore (1), Samuel (1), Trufant (1)
Missed Tackles (2): Dent, Samuel
Key Blocked (11): Dent (2), Jerry (2), Peters (2), Worrilow (2), Bartu (1), DeCoud (1), Trufant (1)
Stops (11): Worrilow (4.5), Samuel (2), Trufant (2), Dent (1), Bartu (0.5), DeCoud (0.5), Massaquoi (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 10 Review
November 13th, 2013
Aaron Freeman

Another frustrating watch after another weak offensive performance for the Falcons.

Matt Ryan had another lackluster game. Part of that was due to the amount of pressure he faced throughout this game, as the Seahawks had no problem collapsing the pocket and bullying around all five of the Falcons blockers.

For the third week in a row, the Falcons seemed to tentative to take shots down the field. One of the few plays I noticed where it looked like the design was to attack downfield, was a play-action early in the second quarter, but Peter Konz gave up a hurry, and Ryan was forced to check it down. I felt like I was watching an offense that was helmed by a first-year starter at quarterback with how vanilla the offense looked.

I’m trying to figure out what I can say that I noticed on tape that is interesting, compelling, or noteworthy, and I’m drawing a blank. I’m starting to believe that just like a year ago, the Falcons offense is better when Jacquizz Rodgers and/or Jason Snelling is on the field. When the team is throwing to or handing it off to Steven Jackson, much like Michael Turner a year ago, the offense seems to stall. I just don’t see any reason on tape why Jackson is getting the majority of the touches. The past three weeks, Jackson has received a combined 47 touches when you factor in carries and targets. Quizz has received 28 in that span, and Snelling has had a combined 5 the past two weeks. With 80 combined touches for running backs the past three weeks, that breakdown should be more like 30 for Quizz, 25 for Snelling, and 25 for Jackson. I like Jackson, but there is nothing on tape that indicates he’s the best running back on the roster. Which is the exact same observation that you could make about Turner last year. It’s clear that the Falcons made another lateral move this off-season when they cut Turner for Jackson, which was the fear that I think everyone like myself had when Jackson was signed.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $7 $4 $0 $0 $0 -$1 $10.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $4 $2 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Jason Snelling $0 $1 $3 $0 $0 $0 $4.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $0 $2.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Darius Johnson $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $0 $2.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Steven Jackson $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Roddy White $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 -$2 $0.00

Defensively, Marshawn Lynch’s ability to break tackles really hurt a lot of earnings. A lot of missed tackles that led to first downs. Paul Worrilow had a productive 19-tackle game, and while he had a number of impact tackles with 3 stops, the majority of those tackles are coming downfield. He also got key blocked a number of times. There were several times where he was able to get off blocks and make good plays, but there were just as many when an offensive lineman was able to get at him on the second level and spring Lynch or another runner for a big gain. But it’s very clear that despite the fact that there are still kinks to be worked out with Worrilow, he should be the starting middle linebacker over Akeem Dent.

Jonathan Massaquoi had a nice game against the run, as did Jonathan Babineaux, who was very disruptive. The pass rush was again non-existent for the most part. Joplo Bartu’s lone sack was a coverage sack, and it seems like the majority of the Falcons sacks this year have been those types.

Desmond Trufant and Asante Samuel got beat a few times, although Samuel’s bad plays was really only that early big catch given up to Golden Tate. I also don’t put Trufant too much at fault for the touchdown thrown to Tate, and he did also break up a pair of passes to somewhat make up for it and continue his streak of breaking up a pass in every game this season. Safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore also did not have good games.

The Falcons almost had a punt blocked, where Josh Harris got beat by Kellen Davis.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Jonathan Babineaux $4.5 $0 $0 $4.50
Jonathan Massaquoi $3.5 $0 $0 $3.50
Matt Bosher $0 $3 $0 $3.00
Osi Umenyiora $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Matt Bryant $0 $2 $0 $2.00
Stansly Maponga $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Peria Jerry $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Joplo Bartu -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Malliciah Goodman -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Robert Alford $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Corey Peters -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Paul Worrilow -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Akeem Dent -$1.5 $0 $0 -$1.50
Asante Samuel -$2.5 $0 $0 -$2.50
Desmond Trufant -$3 $0 $0 -$3.00
William Moore -$1.5 $0 -$2 -$3.50
Thomas DeCoud -$4 $0 $0 -$4.00

Advanced Stats from Week 10:

Poor Throws (4): Ryan
Drops (2): Douglas, Rodgers
Key Blocks (1): Trueblood
Missed Blocks (1): Konz
Sacks Allowed (1): Reynolds
Pressures Allowed (4): Trueblood (3), Rodgers (1)
Hurries Allowed (6): Reynolds (2.5), Konz (1.5), Holmes (1), Blalock (0.5), Trueblood (0.5)

Tackles for Loss (4): Babineaux (2), Moore (1), Worrilow (1)
QB Sacks (1): Bartu
QB Pressures (0)
QB Hits (2): Maponga, Umenyiora
QB Hurries (2): Babineaux, Jerry
Passes Defended (3): Trufant (2), Umenyiora (1)
Blown Coverages (7): Trufant (4), Samuel (2), DeCoud (1)
Missed Tackles (8): Worrilow (2), Moore (1.5), DeCoud (1), Dent (1), Peters (1), Samuel (1), Goodman (0.5)
Key Blocked (8): Worrilow (3), Bartu (2), DeCoud (1), Dent (1), Moore (1)
Stops (11): Massaquoi (3.5), Worrilow (3), Babineaux (2.5), Bartu (0.5), Dent (0.5), Jerry (0.5), Samuel (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:07 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 11 Review
November 19th, 2013
Aaron Freeman

This game reminded me some of the classic sorts of games the Atlanta Falcons would typically lose in past years, particularly in matchups against the Saints. The Falcons would have a number of opportunities, but due to a few too many breakdowns, they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of them.

The key difference is that this game wasn’t against a Super Bowl-contending Saints team, but against a cellar-dwelling Tampa Bay Bucs team. And the other difference is that after the twenty-minute mark, the Falcons took a notable dive. Bobby Rainey ran for a 43-yard touchdown, which was followed by an onside kick recovery, and things snowballed from there. And that’s when the bad Falcons team that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the past month showed up. Before the Falcons could blink, things quickly went from a competitive 3-3 tie three minutes into the second quarter to a 24-3 score in a nine-minute span.

I honestly thought that the Falcons offensive game plan and execution through the first quarter was pretty solid. The only real mistakes were the pair of sacks given up by Peter Konz. Konz just couldn’t handle Gerald McCoy’s quickness and speed, his lack of footwork and punching power showed.

Then at the outset of the second quarter, the Falcons were moving the ball but then things ground to a halt once they got into the red zone. On 1st-and-5 at the Buccaneer 18, Lamar Holmes whiffed on a block that allowed Adrian Clayborn to chase down Jacquizz Rodgers for a 3-yard loss. Then Ryan looked for Rodgers over the middle on a check down but McCoy read it perfectly, sitting back to try and knock down the throw. Ryan tried to throw it over him, and it was off the mark to Rodgers. And then McCoy beat Konz for a third time on the next play, using power this time, and forcing the Falcons to settle for a field goal.

If I’m desperately looking for a positive, it would to say that at least up until this point in the game, the Falcons looked similar to the team they were at the outset of this season, which was a team that could move the ball before things stalled in the red zone. So perhaps that could be considered improvement from some of their recent performances.

But thereafter, the Falcons really did nothing offensively. Ryan did not have a good game as he saw quite a bit of pressure up the middle, particularly from McCoy (3 sacks, 3 pressures). And the Bucs were also effective with delayed blitzes and stunts from other players. But Ryan was not very accurate and was off-target on a lot of throws, matching his season-high of 7 poor throws. He also had 7 against the Cardinals, but it should be noted that Ryan threw the ball 61 times against Arizona as opposed to only 36 attempts against Tampa Bay.

And once again, the Falcons didn’t really dial up any deep shots. On the red zone play I mentioned earlier, other receivers did run deeper routes, but Ryan looked for Rodgers underneath. Although I can’t really blame him because Rodgers was the only receiver that got open thanks to bracket coverage on Tony Gonzalez. The first real designed deep play didn’t come until 1:50 left in the second quarter, where Ryan could have taken a deep shot to Roddy where he was 1-on-1 against Darrelle Revis on the outside. But in truth, Ryan really wanted no part of Revis throughout the game, content to basically look at other receivers. That reminded me of a younger Ryan, when he would generally avoid top cornerbacks (I’m reminded of games against Antoine Winfield and Charles Woodson from 2008-10) at all costs. On that particular play, Ryan locked onto Harry Douglas early, but Dashon Goldson was in position, thus forcing Ryan to flee the pocket and ultimately throw it to Antone Smith for a 4-yard gain. That again led to another field goal. It should be noted that White wasn’t open on that play, but it just illustrates the current tentative state of the offense. Whether due to the fear of Revis Island or Roddy not being 100-percent, in previous seasons (or even games this season) I could guarantee you that would have been Ryan’s first read.

In the second half, the Falcons took a few more measured shots down the field, but didn’t connect because Ryan either made a bad pass or the pass protection wasn’t there. The deepest passes Ryan threw was a 16-yard throw on the 80-yard touchdown to Douglas, which was largely thanks to Mark Barron being out of position. And then later, Ryan’s second interception was when he forced a pass to Douglas over the middle on a 17-yard throw. Goldson picked it off as Ryan did not look him off. He had Tony Gonzalez open on a corner route where he had gotten behind Lavonte David.

As for Dominique Davis, in his limited action, the play-calling centered on quick drops and throws to get the ball out quickly. With the Bucs settling for underneath stuff, Davis had little issues completing most of his throws. His best pass was one where he threw a laser to Douglas, but it went through Douglas hands probably due to timing and the ball came on him out of his break probably a lot faster than he’s used to with Ryan’s throws.

I thought the running game looked fairly solid. Steven Jackson ran hard early, broke some tackles, and seemed to out-producing his blocking. It’s funny because that was often the case with Michael Turner last year, where after games where I was highly critical of Turner in suggesting he needs to be benched (and I had similar sentiments with Jackson last week), he came out and had a strong performance. Then he’d typically fall back to Earth the following week, so we’ll see if Jackson bucks that trend against the Saints on Thursday. If Rodgers had gotten better blocking, he could have had a more productive game. Antone Smith showed good speed in garbage reps and I think the team needs to be more willing to get him involved on some screen passes in future games.

I should also note that the official box score credited Josh Vaughan with a 12-yard catch when it was clearly Gonzalez that made the catch.

As previously noted, the blocking was poor. I thought Ryan Schraeder handled himself down the stretch, although I didn’t see anything to suggest he was clearly better than Jeremy Trueblood. But I do think he needs more reps and maybe alternating series would be a good idea this week. Just like Konz, Garrett Reynolds had his hands full against McCoy, but seemed a bit better because he is stronger and has a better punch. Joe Hawley handled himself fairly well in the middle. He’s a much better second-level blocker than Konz is, and looked similar to an older Todd McClure in the sense of his ability to get position but not push as a run blocker. If that sort of competent performance continues for Hawley, there’s no reason to plug Konz back into the lineup. I’m more than willing to give Konz another shot in 2014, but at this point it’s clear that he’s not among the best five-man unit the Falcons could field.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Steven Jackson $0 $6 $4 $0 $0 $0 $10.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $6 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Antone Smith $0 $6 $0 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $4 $0 $0 $0 $0 $4.00
Matt Ryan $4 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $4.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $3 $1 $0 -$1 $3.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Dominique Davis $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Levine Toilolo $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Roddy Whtie $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 -$3 $0.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Ryan Schraeder $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Darius Johnson $0 $0 -$2 $0 $0 $0 -$2.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 -$2 $0 $0 -$2.00

Defensively, it was another example of the “classic” Falcons, but more so to what we’ve grown accustomed to this year in that they can play tough for about a quarter and a half, but eventually big plays and breakdowns are going to bust the game wide open in favor of the opponent.

I thought Paul Worrilow had a Curtis Lofton-esque game at middle linebacker, where he got key blocked quite a bit and got beat in coverage. A lot of his tackles came down the field, and he was able to pad his earnings a bit with a stop and tackle for loss in the final two minutes of the game. But I do like some of the things that Worrilow is doing. He can get caught playing on his heels a bit too much (which Lofton did from time to time), but that should improve with added experience. And his two blown coverages were on a quick throw in the flat to Brian Leonard (exposing his lack of ideal range, again similar to Lofton) and when he was picked on the touchdown pass to Rainey. But there are times when you see him actually shed a block on the second level (which seemed rare with Lofton) and when he does attack downhill rather than play on his heels, he can make plays in the backfield and near the line of scrimmage (which was the best aspect of Lofton’s game).

Sean Weatherspoon’s return was nothing special, but of course he’ll need some time to get back into shape. Typically I allow a grace period of three games when a player has been absent as long as he has before I start to place expectations back on him.

Corey Peters’ knee injury, no Malliciah Goodman, and too many reps for Cliff Matthews and Peria Jerry, I think were the possibly main causes for some of the problems defending the run. Matthews struggled getting off blocks, and Jerry has consistently struggled at the point of attack this year in comparison to his ability to rush the quarterback.

Speaking of rushing the quarterback, the Falcons did absolutely none in this game. While Osi Umenyiora is officially credited with two sacks, both were on instances where Mike Glennon was scrambling and was tackled for loss (per Moneyball rules). The first sack actually came when Glennon slipped and Osi touched him down. And those two plays, plus his lone stop all came in the fourth quarter. His impact on the game was non-existent through the first three quarters, you know, when the Bucs had built a 32-point lead.

I know Thomas DeCoud and Asante Samuel drew a lot of venom from fans following the game, and I won’t say they played well, but I don’t think they played that poorly. DeCoud’s two big mistakes was his not locating the ball on one of the deep throws to Vincent Jackson, as well as him being a step late to close on Rainey’s 43-yard touchdown. But it should be noted that Rainey made an excellent cut to the outside, so even if he had been early, he still probably would have missed.

Samuel was credited for sharing that blown coverage on that deep toss to Jackson, as well as another. Although on the one where he was beat earlier, Samuel wasn’t in bad position. He was maybe a yard too far inside, but then Jackson made an excellent one-handed grab so I can’t be too mad at Asante on that play. Other than that, there really isn’t anything overly negative about Asante’s performance.

So I’m not sure I quite buy that either should be benched, particularly not this week against the Saints, a team that they have historically had some pretty solid performances against. If they struggle again, I might think about platooning them against the Bills the following week.

On special teams, Josh Vaughan whiffed on the block against Dekoda Watson that led to the blocked punt. Also on the onside kick, the Bucs made a smart move. They saw that Stephen Nicholas played back off the front line and thus left Zeke Motta alone, making it essentially four against one in their favor. But what was somewhat a head-scratcher was that the Falcons continued to use this configuration the remainder of the game after it had been exploited. Had the Bucs attempted another onside kick, I’m not convinced the Falcons would have stopped them.

Matt Bryant seems to be the only player that is angry about the current state of the Falcons, as he nearly got into a fight with Revis on a field goal attempt. I wish the rest of the team played with the sort of passion and fire that Bryant and Bosher seem to have.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Osi Umenyiora $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Jonathan Massaquoi $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Matt Bryant $0 $2 $0 $2.00
Robert McClain $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Joplo Bartu $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Zeke Motta $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Matt Bosher $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Stephen Nicholas $0 $1 $0 $1.00
William Moore $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Jonathan Babineaux $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Thomas DeCoud -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Cliff Matthews -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Stansly Maponga -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Corey Peters -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Sean Weatherspoon -$0.5 $0 -$1 -$1.50
Peria Jerry -$1 $0 -$1 -$2.00
Asante Samuel -$2.5 $0 $0 -$2.50
Paul Worrilow -$1 $0 -$2 -$3.00
Desmond Trufant -$3 $0 -$1 -$4.00

Advanced Stats from Week 11:

Poor Throws (8): Ryan (7), Davis (1)
Drops (4): Johnson (2), Douglas (1), White (1)
Key Blocks (4): Gonzalez, Konz, Toilolo, Trueblood
Missed Blocks (3): Holmes (2), Hawley (1)
Sacks Allowed (3): Konz
Pressures Allowed (4): Reynolds (2), Hawley (1), Trueblood (1)
Hurries Allowed (3): Holmes, Konz, Schraeder

Tackles For Loss (3): Massaquoi, Umenyiora, Worrilow
QB Sacks (0)
QB Pressures (1): Jerry
QB Hits (0)
QB Hurries (4): Jerry, Massaquoi, Matthews, Weatherspoon
Passes Defended (1): McClain
Blown Coverages (6): Worrilow (2), Samuel (1.5), McClain (1), Trufant (1), DeCoud (0.5)
Missed Tackles (4): Moore (1.5), Weatherspoon (1.5), Jerry (1)
Key Blocked (12): Worrilow (3), Jerry (2), Babineaux (1), Bartu (1), Maponga (1), Matthews (1), Peters (1), Samuel (1), Trufant (1)
Stops (13): Worrilow (3), Bartu (2), Moore (2), Weatherspoon (1.5), Babineaux (1), Jerry (1), Massaquoi (1), Umenyiora (1), McClain (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 12 Review
November 25th, 2013 Aaron Freeman

This was a better performance by the Falcons offense as they looked much more comfortable and were more effective moving the ball.

The offense was still fairly vanilla, but there were instances where it did some things that they haven’t done a lot of in over the past four games. There were a couple of deeper pass attempts early in the game with two downfield throws in the second quarter, which isn’t much, but is two more than we’ve seen in recent weeks. But the Falcons game plan still centered largely on short and intermediate throws and trying to stem together longer drives, rather than seeking big plays down the field. This gameplan was helped by a more productive rushing attack headed by Steven Jackson.

Matt Ryan was better in this game, but still had a couple of missed opportunities. The most glaring one was at the end of the game with 2:34 left, where he took a sack with a congested pocket rather than trying to throw a deep pass to Drew Davis. Due to the muddied pocket, it was likely going to be an incomplete pass. But it would have been better than the sack, given that backed up the Falcons to 3rd-and-15 and forced Mike Smith to opt for the field goal two plays later, instead of possibly going for it on 4th-and-10.

The Saints were able to dial up the pressure in the second half of the game. In the first half, the Falcons gave up a sack, a pressure, and 3 hurries on 20 drop backs. Then in the second half on 24 drop backs, they gave up 3 sacks, 3 pressures, and 3 hurries. The right side of the line had the most troubles with Garrett Reynolds and Jeremy Trueblood looking overmatched. And it’s going to be interesting to see if the team makes changes there over the final month of the season. Peter Konz was better than Reynolds, but still struggled somewhat in his half of playing time.

Cameron Jordan hit the pass-rushing “cycle,” tallying a sack, pressure, hit, 1.5 hurries, and a pass deflection. Akiem Hicks also gave the group a lot of trouble. But there were also plenty of instances where John Jenkins, Junior Galette, and Tom Johnson were able to get pressure on Ryan. And that second-half pressure was one of the primary causes why the Falcons were shut out in the second half. Joe Hawley got some key blocks early in the game blocking downfield, an area where is a clear upgrade over Konz.

Roddy White was non-existent in this game, and he seems less effective than he was a decoy earlier in the season with a high-ankle sprain. Harry Douglas and Darius Johnson had good starts, making plays on those shorter throws. But Johnson obviously had two huge mistakes with a wide open drop on third down and his fumble at the end of the game.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $12 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $13.00
Steven Jackson $0 $8 $1 $0 $0 $0 $9.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $5 $0 $0 -$1 $4.00
Antone Smith $0 $3 $0 $0 $1 $0 $4.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $0 $3.00
Darius Johnson $0 $0 $3 $1 $0 -$2 $2.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $0 $2.00
Jason Snelling $0 $0 $2 -$0.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Roddy White $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Garrett Reynolds $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$2 -$2.00

On defense, the Falcons should get full credit for slowing down the Saints offensive attack. But they gave up too many big plays, with the two big plays from Jimmy Graham helping the Saints get 10 points. The Falcons also struggled to stop Pierre Thomas on the ground with giving up too many long runs.

The pass rush was pretty iffy, although it wasn’t non-existent. It was just sporadic and the Falcons didn’t get enough heat on Brees to disrupt him as much as they had done a year ago when they beat the Saints. A year ago, John Abraham had a sack, two hits, and 4.5 hurries. This year, Osi Umenyiora got a hurry and a hit. His hit came when he was one-on-one against Jed Collins, indicating that he only was effective when he was facing a clear mismatch. His hurry came on a 8-yard scramble by Brees, where Charles Brown forced him wide around the back of the pocket, but because it forced Brees to climb the pocket and subsequently scramble, he got credited with a hurry. I know I’ve been hard on Osi in these reviews this year, and it’s not Osi’s fault that he just isn’t very good at this point in his career. If he could help it, then he would have by now. But he perfectly embodies the mistake by the front office of thinking that Abraham was declining, and replacing him with a far lesser player in Osi.

Desmond Trufant broke up three passes, making up for his streak being snapped last week. But he got abused quite a bit in run-support with a pair of missed tackles due to stiff arms. The safeties gave up prominent plays, with William Moore getting beat on Graham’s touchdown. Then DeCoud got picked on the 35-yarded by Graham, but also was culpable on Ben Watson’s touchdown. On that play, he was picked by the referee, but he made a mistake of turning his back and letting Watson get behind him. The ref getting in the way prevented him from having any chance of recovering after that initial mistake.

Akeem Dent almost got a blocked punt, when he came unblocked late in the second quarter. I still don’t understand why the team continues to put DeCoud on kickoff coverage, especially now that the team has reverted Drew Davis back to special teams. But for whatever reason, with Davis back on kickoff coverage, Kevin Cone was pulled off that unit. Cone did get reps on punt coverage but Davis, who has been outplayed by Robert Alford as a gunner, was also left off that unit. It just makes no sense that DeCoud and a player like Cliff Matthews are covering kickoffs instead of Cone and Davis.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Desmond Trufant $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Matt Bosher $0 $3 $0 $3.00
Joplo Bartu $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Matt Bryant $0 $2 $0 $2.00
Corey Peters $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Cliff Matthews $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Robert McClain $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Osi Umenyiora $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Paul Worrilow $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Akeem Dent $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Stansly Maponga $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Jonathan Massaquoi $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Asante Samuel $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Jonathan Babineaux -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Peria Jerry $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Travian Robertson -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Thomas DeCoud -$2 $0 $0 -$2.00
William Moore -$3 $0 $0 -$3.00
Sean Weatherspoon -$3 $0 $0 -$3.00

Advanced Stats from Week 12:

Poor Throws (3): Ryan
Drops (1): Johnson
Key Blocks (4): Hawley (2), Blalock (1), Johnson (1)
Missed Blocks (1): Trueblood
Sacks Allowed (4): Reynolds (2), Holmes (1.5), Snelling (0.5)
Pressures Allowed (7): Trueblood (3), Blalock (2), Hawley (1), Konz (1)
Hurries Allowed (5): Holmes (2), Gonzalez (1), Konz (1), Trueblood (1)

Tackles for Loss (1): Worrilow
QB Sacks (1): Jerry
QB Pressures (1): Worrilow
QB HIts (2): Bartu, Umenyiora
QB Hurries (5): Massaquoi, Matthews, McClain, Peters, Umenyiora
Passes Defended (4): Trufant (3), DeCoud (1)
Blown Coverages (5): DeCoud (3), Moore (1), Weatherspoon (1)
Missed Tackles (4): Trufant (2), Moore (1), Weatherspoon (1)
Key Blocked (7): Worrilow (2), Babineaux (1), Bartu (1), Jerry (1), Weatherspoon (1), Worrilow (1)
Stops (8): Bartu (2), Peters (1.5), Matthews (1), McClain (1), Worrilow (1), Babineaux (0.5), Dent (0.5), Maponga (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 13 Review
December 10th, 2013 Aaron Freeman

Sorry for the delay in posting this, I was traveling last week for my day job and procrastinated over the weekend which prevented me from watching the All-22 of the Bills game until this morning. It shouldn’t happen again.

The big takeaway from this game was how aggressive the Falcons were offensively. They took multiple shots down the field, with 11 passes thrown beyond 15 yards and four passes thrown beyond 20 yards. That included four deep throws in the first half, which is a significant increase from previous weeks where the Falcons typically only started to throw down the field after they got behind in games in the second half.

Matt Ryan was able to hit those deep shots to Roddy White, who was able to make contested catches in traffic. I noticed quite a bit how little separation all of the Falcons receivers were able to get against the Bills defensive backs. But White and Tony Gonzalez, to a lesser extent, were able to make those grabs while Harry Douglas was not. This was a very frustrating watch in regards to Douglas, who just seems unable to make any grabs in traffic or whenever he is asked to extend away from his body. The notion that he and Ryan have a strong rapport, judging from this game alone, sounds ridiculous. For a pair of players that have been playing together for five years, Ryan doesn’t seem to ever be able to put the ball in the “sweet spot” where Douglas may be able to catch it like he seemingly does with his other targets. It’s like the conversation they have walking back to the huddle after another incomplete pass is this:

Ryan: “I thought you were going to dive/jump/extend for that one.”
Douglas: “Oh sorry, I didn’t know.”

Although the argument I’d probably make is that there isn’t a sweet spot for Douglas.

It’s going to be so laughable a year from now when the Falcons are overpaying Douglas when Darius Johnson is perfectly capable of filling his role for one-seventh the cost. If you’re going to pay someone to struggle to make contested catches in traffic, might as well pay 14 cents as opposed to a dollar.

Douglas really botched up that late scoring drive in the fourth quarter with his penalty for removing the helmet of Aaron Williams on a block, but got gifted a pass interference call on Nickell Robey on the next play. Yes, Robey was grabbing him, but it was incidental contact (tangling of the feet) that prevented Douglas from coming back to the ball rather than the “hand checking” that Robey was doing. It was a gift of a call, so you can’t always say that the refs are out to get the Falcons.

About the only positive I can say about Douglas is that he could have scored on that screen in overtime had Justin Blalock made the block against Leodis McKelvin.

The pass protection wasn’t great, but they gave Ryan enough time to make several of the throws he needed. Jeremy Trueblood and Peter Konz really struggled in the second half, giving up multiple hurries. I penalized Ryan on the sack where he tripped, although it was Konz that stepped on his foot. Lamar Holmes had early struggles, with Jerry Hughes and the other Bills ends giving him particularly problems with their speed. Holmes just appeared to be stuck in molasses as there was just neither explosiveness to his movements nor power in his punches. Joe Hawley also did not have a good game, although most of his struggles came when he was matched up against a Bills nose tackle (either Marcell Dareus or Alan Branch), similar to Todd McClure over the years. But there were also a couple of breakdowns in the protections, as a couple of times Bills defenders were able to come unblocked because someone missed an assignment (the first sack by Manny Lawson, and later sack by Corbin Bryant) were two good examples of that. That wasn’t reminiscent of McClure from yesteryear, as the Falcons rarely had such breakdowns due to missed assignments. Breakdowns in the past were simply because guys got beat.

Blalock was the only lineman that I would say played well, although he was credited with 1.5 sacks. One of which was due to a stunt by Hughes, that I split between him and Holmes, mainly because Holmes whiffed and when Blalock tried to clean up his mess, he also missed the block. If I was being technical, I’d probably say that play was 75 percent Holmes’ fault. His other sack came when Bryant came unblocked between him and Holmes, and I think it was a blown assignment as Blalock blocked the inside man. It’s just a guess, but I think that was probably more on Hawley for confusion on what the protection was than Blalock messing up.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $12 $3 $0 $0 $0 -$2 $13.00
Steven Jackson $0 $12 $0 $0 $0 $0 $12.00
Roddy White $0 $0 $7 $0 $0 $0 $7.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $5 $0 $0 $0 $5.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $2 $2 $0 $0 $0 $4.00
Antone Smith $0 $4 -$1 $0 $1 $0 $4.00
Harry Douglas $0 $1 $4 $0 $0 -$2 $3.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Darius Johnson $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Jason Snelling $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Levine Toilolo $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $1.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Patrick DiMarco $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Ryan Schraeder $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 -$1.5 $0 -$1 -$2.50

I don’t know if I can say the Falcons defense played well. Too many missed tackles on the back-end and almost no pressure up front characterized this defensive performance. But I’ve definitely seen worst this season.

I think they made the plays they needed to in order to steal this win from the Bills, particularly in regards to the two late turnovers.

Robert McClain got tagged with four blown coverages, all against Stevie Johnson on inside routes (slants and crosses) out of the slot. But I don’t particularly think he played poorly. I think Robert Alford could have easily been worse in coverage, as multiple times was beat on deep patterns by Marquise Goodwin, but because E.J. Manuel did not make good throws, they were incomplete. I’m starting to think that the inevitable cutting of Asante Samuel might not be a great idea. I like Alford’s upside, but based off his play thus far this year, I’m expecting him to have a very up and down first year as a starter in 2014. Even though Samuel is having a “down” year (mainly because he isn’t picking off passes), I don’t expect Alford to be better.

Sean Weatherspoon had a good game, although he did blow two coverages when working against Scott Chandler, including the one in overtime that led to Moore’s forced fumble. It goes to show that the Falcons struggles of covering tight ends wasn’t exclusively a Stephen Nicholas problem. The Falcons are still in need of a coverage specialist at the linebacker position.

On special teams, if Kevin Cone had hit his block, it’s possible that Antone Smith could have scored on the opening kickoff although Jim Leonhard might have had an angle. But it still would have been at least a longer return. Akeem Dent was charged with a penalty on an illegal block on a punt return, but it was really Stansly Maponga that should have been flagged. And I’d love to sit down with Keith Armstrong and ask him why players like Cliff Matthews and Thomas DeCoud are covering kicks when Cone, DiMarco, or Jason Snelling would probably be better options. Also why is Nicholas active and only playing special teams, when he has a faster, slightly younger, and probably better option in Omar Gaither inactive? And why isn’t Joplo Bartu out there on special teams instead of Nicholas? Is he really exhausted from the 19 defensive snaps he had? Doubtful, considering that Jacquizz Rodgers works as the up back on punts, and he’s playing 27 snaps on offense. Jonathan Massaquoi is covering kickoffs, but yet plays 34 snaps on defense. So are DeCoud, McClain, and Alford, who are playing 66, 46, and 36 snaps on defense, respectively.

These are the things I wonder about.

But on a brighter side of special teams, Matt Bosher had a great day punting, helping pin the Bills back multiple times.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Bosher $0 $9 $0 $9.00
Sean Weatherspoon $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Matt Bryant $0 $2 $0 $2.00
Robert Alford $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Peria Jerry $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Jonathan Babineaux $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Jonathan Massaqoui $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Joplo Bartu $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Akeem Dent $0 $0.50 $0 $0.50
Zeke Motta $0 $0.50 $0 $0.50
Asante Samuel $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Desmond Trufant $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Corey Peters $0.5 $0 -$1 -$0.50
Osi Umenyiora -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
William Moore $0.5 $0 -$2 -$1.50
Thomas DeCoud -$1.5 $0 $0 -$1.50
Paul Worrilow -$1.5 $0 $0 -$1.50
Malliciah Goodman -$3 $0 $0 -$3.00
Robert McClain -$3 $0 -$1 -$4.00

Advanced Stats from Week 13:

Poor Throws (5): Ryan
Drops (2): Johnson, Smith
Key Blocks (5): Blalock (2), DiMarco (2), Holmes (1)
Missed Blocks (3): DiMarco (2), Hawley (1)
Sacks Allowed (6): Holmes (2.5), Blalock (1.5), Konz (1), Ryan (1)
Pressures Allowed (4): Holmes (2), Hawley (1), Trueblood (1)
Hurries Allowed (10): Trueblood (4), Konz (3), Hawley (2), Holmes (1)

Tackles for Loss (3): Babineaux (1), Worrilow (1), Alford (0.5), Moore (0.5)
QB Sacks (0)
QB Pressures (1): Babineaux
QB Hits (0)
QB Hurries (2): Goodman, Jerry
Passes Defended (5): Alford, McClain, Moore, Trufant, Weatherspoon
Blown Coverages (7): McClain (4), Weatherspoon (2), Trufant (1)
Missed Tackles (9): Moore (1.5), Worrilow (1.5), Babineaux (1), Goodman (1), McClain (1), Trufant (1), Alford (0.5), DeCoud (0.5), Umenyiora (0.5), Weatherspoon (0.5)
Key Blocked (5): Peters (2), DeCoud (1), Goodman (1), Worrilow (1)
Stops (9): Weatherspoon (3), Peters (2.5), Babineaux (1), Massaquoi (1), Bartu (0.5), Jerry (0.5), Umenyiora (0.5)

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:55 pm 
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Moneyball 2013 – Week 14 Review
December 10th, 2013 Aaron Freeman

A very disappointing finish to a game with a promising start for the Atlanta Falcons.

The offense never really looked comfortable in the cold of Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. The Falcons offense reverted back to the conservative, dinking and dunking of previous weeks (as opposed to last week’s win), and there was only one instance where the Falcons took a shot downfield before the fourth quarter. Sure, you can partially blame the cold and wind (although it wasn’t that windy) that limited how much the Falcons could let things fly, but I’ve long said that the link between this offense scoring and generating big plays is significant. And they simply didn’t have many in this game (just two before the final minute), which is why the offense really only had one successful drive. And it’s not a coincidence that both of their big plays came on that drive. It boils down to the fact that the team did not try hard enough to get those big plays.

I don’t think Matt Ryan had a great game. I saw too many throws that were off the mark, but I’ll partially blame the weather for some of that. I also didn’t like that Ryan seemed to be staring down his initial read quite a bit in this game, which was often Roddy White. White had a good game, so for the most part it didn’t hurt Ryan too much. But it did on the final play where he forced a throw to Harry Douglas, when he potentially had Darius Johnson open on the other side. Johnson was singled up in coverage, and had Ryan made a good throw on that play, it potentially could have set up a very long field goal (likely 53-55 yards) that could have won it rather than the pick.

I don’t want to sound like I’m blaming Ryan for the loss, but it was a rather nondescript performance from him. I thought he had fairly good protection. The Packers started to use more stunts at the end of the game once they realized that Peter Konz and Ryan Schraeder couldn’t handle them. It was one such stunt that disrupted the throw with 21 seconds left on the play preceding the infamous Douglas drop. I thought Schraeder handled himself relatively well since it was his most extensive playing time. The sack he gave up to Mike Neal was a result of just bad technique and footwork. I don’t see any reason why Trueblood should get his job back at this point.

Peter Konz is simply a liability at right guard. When you’re getting beat by a speed rush from B.J. Raji, it tells me you have no business playing guard. I think it’s time the Falcons gave Harland Gunn a look over these last three games.

Lamar Holmes had his share of struggles against Clay Matthews with all of his hurries coming against him. Joe Hawley had a nice block downfield on the 22-yard run by Steven Jackson, and Justin Blalock was his usual solid, but unspectacular self.

I could say some negative things about Douglas and his drop at the end of the game, but I’d just be repeating myself.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $12 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $12.00
Steven Jackson $0 $7 -$1 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $2 $4 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Roddy White $0 $0 $5 $1 $0 $0 $5.00
Drew Davis $0 $0 $4 $0 $0 $0 $4.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $1 $1 $0 $0 $2.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 -$1 $0.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 $0 -$1.00
Ryan Schraeder $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00

The Falcons were able to get some pressure on the quarterback in this game because they were able to dial up some blitzes. I thought Corey Peters, Jonathan Massaquoi, Peria Jerry, and Jonathan Babineaux all had notable moments particularly against the run. I even saw Malliciah Goodman showing some disruptive capabilities, which has me looking forward to what he could do with more development next year. Among the front, Massaquoi looked the best as a pass rusher and there were probably three or so plays where I was very close to awarding him a hurry, but did not. I think the Falcons need to get him and Goodman a lot more reps over these final few games.

Paul Worrilow showed well in multiple phases, and I gave him half credit on the sack he split with Peters. Sean Weatherspoon’s pick-six was the obvious highlight of the game and capped off a solid performance from him.

Zeke Motta potentially had a pick-six of his own, as he missed when trying to jump a seam throw to James Jones at the start of the third quarter. Had he made that play, it certainly would have significantly changed my perspective of his performance and potential. He was out of position on the 46-yard throw to Jordy Nelson. Robert Alford blew the coverage, biting up the double move, but Motta was supposed to be his deep help (the Falcons were in Cover-1) and got sucked up by the post run by James Jones, leaving Alford out to dry once he was beat. Had Motta played his assignment, he may have been in position to pick off that deep pass. Against the run I thought Motta handled himself fairly well, as he was active and showed nice range.

It was a Festivus miracle that we got to see both Kevin Cone and Drew Davis on the field covering kicks simultaneously. They even lined up beside each other once Motta was taken off kickoffs when Thomas DeCoud was injured. And DeCoud’s spot on kickoff coverage was filled by Dominique Franks from that point on. Interesting enough, Motta remained on punt coverage.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Sean Weatherspoon $4 $0 $0 $4.00
Corey Peters $3.5 $0 $0 $3.50
Peria Jerry $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Paul Worrilow $3.5 $0 -$1 $2.50
Jonathan Massaquoi $1.5 $1 $0 $2.50
Desmond Trufant $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Robert Alford $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Osi Umenyiora $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Jonathan Babineaux $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Joplo Bartu $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Malliciah Goodman $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Matt Bosher $0 $2 -$1 $1.00
Zeke Motta $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Matt Bryant $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Stansly Maponga $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Cliff Matthews -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Robert McClain -$0.5 $0 $0 -$0.50
Thomas DeCoud -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
William Moore -$3 $0 $0 -$3.00

Advanced Stats from Week 14:

Poor Throws (3): Ryan
Drops (6): Douglas (2), Gonzalez (2), Jackson (2)
Key Blocks (3): Gonzalez, Hawley, White
Missed Blocks (3): Blalock, Holmes, Konz
Sacks Allowed (1): Schraeder
Pressures Allowed (3): Konz (2), Schraeder (1)
Hurries Allowed (4): Holmes (2.5), Konz (1), Schraeder (0.5)

Tackles For Loss (2): Trufant (1), Alford (0.5), Motta (0.5)
QB Sacks (5): Worrilow (2), Massaquoi (1.5), Moore (1), Peters (0.5)
QB Pressures (1): Peters
QB Hits (0)
QB Hurries (1): Maponga
Passes Defended (3): Alford, Jerry, Worrilow
Blown Coverages (7): Moore (3), Alford (1), McClain (1), Motta (1), Weatherspoon (1)
Missed Tackles (3): Moore (1.5), McClain (1), DeCoud (0.5)
Key Blocked (6): Babineaux, Bartu, Massaquoi, Matthews, Weatherspoon, Worrilow
Stops (17): Babineaux (2), Bartu (2), Jerry (2), Motta (2), Peters (2), McClain (1.5), Worrilow (1.5), Alford (1), Massaquoi (1), Weatherspoon (1), Matthews (0.5), Umenyiora (0.5)

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"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:59 pm 
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http://falcfans.com/moneyball-2013-week-15-review-9640

Moneyball 2013 – Week 15 Review
December 17th, 2013 Aaron Freeman

After reviewing the All-22, no doubt this was an ugly win for the Atlanta Falcons over the Washington Redskins.

As I noted yesterday, the offense was fairly conservative in terms of taking deep shots down the field. It appeared that the Falcons only drew up three plays in which Matt Ryan was looking to throw the ball beyond 15 yards. I noticed how often the Falcons run plays that require the receivers to run to the sticks or a yard shy, and that’s it. There was a play-call on a 3rd-and-21 in the second quarter where it was supposed to be a clear-out for Darius Johnson. I get that with the Falcons backed up inside their 10-yard line, that Dirk Koetter didn’t want to risk Ryan taking a deep drop and increase the potential for a safety. But Johnson got no separation from David Amerson on that play and it was just a three-yard gain. That play sort of epitomizes the sort of conservative approach of the offense.

I thought Ryan did some good things, particularly in terms of his movement within the pocket to avoid pressure. There were about three times where he was able to step up in the pocket to avoid pressure and deliver a completion down the field. So much of this season I’ve watched Ryan check it down in the face of pressure, and it was nice to see him using his legs to create space and extend plays.

The only real complaint I have with Ryan in this game was his overthrow on his interception, on one of his few shots downfield at the end of the first half. I like that he was being aggressive, he just needed to make a better throw. This week will go down as one of his lower earnings of the season, but I think that had more to do with play-calling than him playing poorly.

There were problems (as usual) with the pass protection with too many breakdowns. Lamar Holmes struggled to handle Brian Orakpo, with both of his sacks allowed coming against him. Ryan Kerrigan also did good work against Ryan Schraeder on the other side with a sack and a hurry, but also was very effective when matched against our tight ends when they were blocking. I was surprised to see such a big game from defensive end Chris Baker, who got credited with a hurry (against Justin Blalock), hit (against Holmes), and pressure (against Peter Konz). He also mauled Holmes on one of the goal line runs in the second quarter where Steven Jackson got stuffed in the backfield (that was Holmes’ credited missed block). He’s a free agent after this season, so I definitely made a mental note for March.

On the bright side up front, I thought Joe Hawley had another solid game at center, and I was very impressed with Harland Gunn in his limited action on two or three series. He looked much better than Konz did at right guard. I’d say Konz probably had one of his best games of the season, but still struggled too many times. He spent a lot of time on the ground on the opening drive, and for those that don’t know, that’s not a good sign for an offensive linemen. But I’ll give Konz some credit, I think Sunday’s game was the first time he ever hit an assignment on the second level with a nice cut block on a screen pass that Jacquizz Rodgers gained 15 yards on in the third quarter.

But Gunn looked much more violent and physical, playing with better balance and footwork, and doing a better job using his hands. I really liked how quick Gunn was coming off the snap and getting to the second level. He and Hawley are two peas in the same pod, in that what they lack in power and pure strength they make up for with aggressiveness and knowing how to get position against bigger defenders. Despite not having ideal size or strength, Gunn seemed to be the only blocker that was effective at times one-on-one against Baker. That includes Blalock, who probably had his worst game of the season. He wasn’t bad by any means, but got pushed around too much in pass protection, more so than he has to date in 2013.

There isn’t much else that needs to be said about the offense. I thought Steven Jackson ran hard, and his trucking of Josh Wilson will certainly be one of the highlights of the year.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Steven Jackson $0 $9 -$1 $0 $0 -$2 $6.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $5 $1 $0 $0 $6.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $2 $2 $0 $1 $0 $5.00
Matt Ryan $6 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$2 $4.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $0 $3.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Roddy White $0 $0 $2 $1 $0 -$1 $2.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Darius Johnson $0 $0 $1 $0 $1 $0 $2.00
Jason Snelling $0 $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Harland Gunn $0 $0 $0 $0.5 $0 $0 $0.50
Levine Toilolo $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Ryan Schraeder $0 $0 $0 -$0.5 $0 -$1 -$1.50
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 -$2 $0 -$3 -$5.00

I think the defense benefited greatly from some questionable decisions and inaccurate throws by Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins in his first extended action of the season. The large number of turnovers (seven) was flukey, but several of them were good plays by Falcons defenders.

I’ll give Osi Umenyiora credit, even though he didn’t have a great game, as that forced fumble on the opening series was an excellent tone-setter for the game. For Moneyball purposes, it was counted as a pressure and not a sack/hit because Osi never really touched Cousins, just the ball. I think he was outshined by Jonathan Massaquoi as a pass rusher, who did good work against Tyler Polumbus most of the game. It only led to one official hurry, but there were several times where Massaquoi was a step late from getting a pressure/hurry.

Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters both had good days in the middle, particularly against the run. Babs was very disruptive and there were at least two plays where his penetration led to stops by teammates.

Overall, the pass rush was still lacking. Of the six “positive pass rushes” (i.e. sacks/hits/pressures), three of them came when the defenders were unblocked. Given the number of drop backs (46), that’s not good.

It was a pretty quiet day for the starting linebackers in Paul Worrilow and Sean Weatherspoon, but it was nice to see Stephen Nicholas finally make a couple of plays, as well as Joplo Bartu.

Zeke Motta didn’t have a great day. He got credited with the blown coverage on the Fred Davis touchdown, although I’m not sure it was really his fault, since it was a Cover-3 look. But given that he was slow to get over the top, he got tagged for the blown coverage. He was also slow on that touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, although Desmond Trufant got blamed for the blown coverage because he bit on the double move. Motta also missed a couple of tackles, getting trucked by Alfred Morris on one memorable play at the start of the third quarter, and also got blasted by fullback Darrel Young on the 37-yard run by Morris in the first quarter. He also came close to missing a block that could have resulted in a blocked punt. Thomas DeCoud has caught a lot of well-deserved flak this year, but I’ll be happy if he’s back in the starting lineup next week.

Other than that Garcon touchdown, Trufant had an excellent game. His other blown coverage came late when he stumbled out of his break trying to defend an in-route to Aldrick Robinson.

Both of Robert Alford’s blown coverages came on pick plays in the final two minutes of the game, including the potential game-tying touchdown to Santana Moss. I faulted William Moore for the 62-yard bomb to Robinson, since Alford was expecting safety help on that go route. Moore was slow to turn and run.

Part of the reason it was an ugly game was the sheer number of penalties and mental errors the Falcons had. Stansly Maponga had another penalty for blocking in the back on special teams. Apparently he doesn’t understand that you’re not allowed to do that given he did it just two weeks ago.

I thought Bosher had an excellent day punting, and special teams had its best performance of the year collectively. Jacquizz Rodgers had two nice kickoff returns, as did Robert McClain on a punt.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Bosher $0 $8 $0 $8.00
Jonathan Babineaux $4 $0 $0 $4.00
Corey Peters $4 $0 $0 $4.00
Osi Umenyiora $3 $0 $0 $3.00
Matt Bryant $0 $3 $0 $3.00
William Moore $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Joplo Bartu $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Stephen Nichoas $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Malliciah Goodman $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Desmond Trufant $1.5 $0 -$1 $0.50
Stansly Maponga $1 $0 -$1 $0.00
Robert McClain $0 $1 -$1 $0.00
Paul Worrilow $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Peria Jerry -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Jonathan Massaquoi -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Dominique Franks $0 $0 -$2 -$2.00
Sean Weatherspoon -$0.5 $0 -$2 -$2.50
Zeke Motta -$4 $1 $0 -$3.00
Robert Alford -$2 $0 -$2 -$4.00

Advanced Stats from Week 15:

Poor Throws (4): Ryan
Drops (1): Jackson
Key Blocks (5): Gonzalez (1), Hawley (1), Konz (1), White (1), Gunn (0.5), Schraeder (0.5)
Missed Blocks (3): Holmes, Schraeder, Toilolo
Sacks Allowed (3): Holmes (2), Schraeder (1)
Pressures Allowed (1): Konz
Hurries Allowed (9): Blalock (3), Schraeder (2), Gunn (1), Hawley (1), Holmes (1), Toilolo (1)

Tackles For Loss (1): Nicholas (0.5), Trufant (0.5)
QB Sacks (0)
QB Pressures (4): Babineaux (2), Maponga (1), Umenyiora (1)
QB Hits (2): Bartu, Weatherspoon
QB Hurries (4): Babineaux, Goodman, Massaquoi, Peters
Passes Defended (4): Trufant (2), Motta (1), Peters (1)
Blown Coverages (9): Alford (2), Motta (2), Trufant (2), Bartu (1), Moore (1), Weatherspoon (1)
Missed Tackles (3): Massaquoi, McClain, Motta
Key Blocked (5): Jerry, Motta, Trufant, Weatherspoon, Worrilow
Stops (6): Peters (2), Alford (1), Trufant (1), Worrilow (1), Bartu (0.5), Weatherspoon (0.5)

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"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball Rules (New 2013!)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:01 pm 
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http://falcfans.com/moneyball-2013-week-16-review-9693

Moneyball 2013 – Week 16 Review
December 28th, 2013 Aaron Freeman

The delay in posting this was partially due to the holidays preventing me from looking at the All-22 earlier in the week, and then technical issues involving access to the internet later in the week.

In reviewing the game, the offense had their typical game in terms of what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the years. One that starts promising, then sputters in the third quarter, but then is able to turn it on in the fourth quarter. But the promising start wasn’t really all that promising. They did find some success moving the ball in the second quarter thanks mainly to a healthy running game and that big play to Drew Davis.

Matt Ryan had a decent game, although there were a couple of times where he once again seemed hesitant to throw down the field. But it wasn’t anything too glaring. There were other instances where he seemed to once again get locked onto his first read, which was often Roddy White. White earned quite a bit with a lot of short completions that helped move the chains. Six of his first seven receptions didn’t go more than seven yards in the air.

The running game had its moments, although most of their missed opportunities came due to poor blocking as once again with the young guys on the right side missing the majority of those assignments. I still believe that Harland Gunn is a better option to start at right guard than Peter Konz. Gunn didn’t have a great game, but it’s clear on tape that Gunn is simply better at everything than Konz. He’s quicker off the snap, got better feet, more violent hands, better mobility, etc. Konz isn’t playing poorly, but he’s just not showing the things on tape that suggest he’s got the potential to get demonstrably better than he has been the past two years.

Overall, the pass protection was solid. Aldon Smith was able to get the better of Lamar Holmes a couple of times on the bull rush, but for the most part, he, Justin Smith, and Ahmad Brooks had relatively quiet games.

It’s hard to put an exact reason on why the Falcons failed to move the ball in the third quarter. Konz missed a block on 3rd-and-1 on the opening drive of the third quarter, trying to pull and block Patrick Willis. Willis was able to blow up the play and halt Steven Jackson in the backfield, forcing a punt. The Falcons did take their first designed deep shot of the game on the opening play of that series, with a play-action pass to White that went 14 yards in the air, although I say it was deep because the reason why it wasn’t over 15 yards was because of Ryan’s throw not the design of the play.

Then on third down on the second series of the third quarter, Blalock gave up late pressure after Ryan had time in the pocket. I won’t blame that one on Blalock though, that was just simply the receivers not getting open. Ryan was looking at White, but was hesitant to pull the trigger because Navorro Bowman was sitting underneath and could have jumped the throwing lane. Then Ryan scrambled and threw the ball away, although had he kept his eyes downfield he could have thrown a first down to Drew Davis who was crossing the field and was open. But Ryan threw it away and the Falcons punted. The first down play on that series was a play-action bootleg where Ryan threw to a spot, but Harry Douglas got no separation from Carlos Rogers and couldn’t get to the spot where he was supposed to be.

I’d love to sit here and pick on Douglas some more, particularly for his inability to win in traffic at the end of the game on the pick-six where he got outmuscled by Tramaine Brock. But what needs to be said about Douglas that hasn’t been said already? The Falcons need to find an upgrade at wide receiver this offseason. They have been complacent there for the past two years, and this is the offseason where that needs to change. But I’m not overly optimistic that it will change.

PLAYER PASS RUSH REC BLK SPEC PEN TOTALS
Matt Ryan $19 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $19.00
Roddy White $0 $0 $13 $0 $0 $0 $13.00
Steven Jackson $0 $8 $0 $0 $0 $0 $8.00
Tony Gonzalez $0 $0 $6 $0 $0 $0 $6.00
Drew Davis $0 $0 $5 $0 $0 $0 $5.00
Harry Douglas $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $0 $2.00
Joe Hawley $0 $0 $0 $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Jacquizz Rodgers $0 $2 $0 $0 $0 $0 $2.00
Patrick DiMarco $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Jason Snelling $0 $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Peter Konz $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Ryan Schraeder $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0.00
Lamar Holmes $0 $0 $0 $1 $0 -$2 -$1.00
Jeremy Trueblood $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 -$1 -$1.00
Justin Blalock $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Harland Gunn $0 $0 $0 -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00

This is another game where I believe that the Falcons defensive success was largely thanks to inaccurate and erratic play from the opposing quarterback, rather than this defense doing anything spectacular. They did a few nice things as there was some pressure early in the game, but it disappeared after that point. That has been a commonality throughout this season. But Colin Kaepernick seemed to get much more settled at halftime, and started doing a better job hitting his receivers in the second half. That was coupled with the 49ers really having no problems running the football.

Both the sacks by Corey Peters and Stephen Nicholas were counted as tackles for loss due to the fact that Kaepernick appeared like he was looking to run rather than throw.

The 49ers did push the Falcons around in the ground game, but not to the degree it was in last year’s NFC title game. Although considering the butt-whooping the Falcons took in that game, it was unlikely they could fare worse. But the one thing that went unchanged was how open 49er receivers seemed to be. Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, and Vernon Davis were open multiple times throughout the night. And not just open, there were multiple yards of separation between them and the defender covering them. The majority of times when Kaepernick threw to them and didn’t connect it was because he made an errant throw, not because the Falcons had a defender in position to make a play.

Guys like Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu had trouble getting off blocks. Stephen Nicholas was very active and showed good range, getting some early stops which is why his earnings are so high. Although about half of the plays he made were the result of him cleaning up a play that another defender forced. Peria Jerry did a better job than expected taking over for nose tackle once Peters got injured. Most times this year Jerry has struggled when asked to play the nose. Jonathan Babineaux looked like he was able to take early advantage of Mike Iupati, but struggled when he was facing Joe Staley in the run game. Desmond Trufant fared the best out of the corners, but he got beat a couple of times too.

It was a nice performance on special teams with Robert McClain having another nice return. Still not sure why Jason Snelling replaced an injured Jacquizz Rodgers to return kickoffs. I think Antone Smith would have been a better option, but what do I know? Omar Gaither finally got reps on special teams and did some nice things in punt coverage, although he nearly gave up a blocked punt to Craig Dahl on a missed block.

PLAYER DEF SPEC PEN TOTALS
Stephen Nicholas $5 $0 $0 $5.00
Peria Jerry $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Jonathan Massaquoi $2 $0 $0 $2.00
Matt Bosher $0 $2 $0 $2.00
Joplo Bartu $1.5 $0 $0 $1.50
Jonathan Babineaux $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Corey Peters $1 $0 $0 $1.00
Matt Bryant $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Kemal Ishmael $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Robert McClain $0 $1 $0 $1.00
Osi Umenyiora $1 $0 -$1 $0.00
Thomas DeCoud -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
William Moore -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Desmond Trufant -$1 $0 $0 -$1.00
Robert Alford -$2 $0 $0 -$2.00
Stansly Maponga -$2 $0 $0 -$2.00
Paul Worrilow -$2.5 $0 -$2 -$4.50

Advanced Stats from Week 16:

Poor Throws (4): Ryan
Drops (1): Douglas
Key Blocks (1): DiMarco
Missed Blocks (6): Konz (2), Schraeder (2), Blalock (1), Gunn (1)
Sacks Allowed (1): Blalock
Pressures Allowed (1): Holmes
Hurries Allowed (3): Blalock, Gunn, Holmes

Tackles for Loss (4): Nicholas (2), Bartu (1), Peters (1)
QB Sacks (1): Massaquoi
QB Pressures (3): Babineaux, Massaquoi, Umenyiora
QB Hits (1): Bartu (0.5), Worrilow (0.5)
QB Hurries (3): Alford, Babineaux, Jerry
Passes Defended (2): McClain, Nicholas
Blown Coverages (3): McClain (2), Alford (1)
Missed Tackles (3): Maponga, Moore, Trufant
Key Blocked (9): Worrilow (4), Bartu (2), Alford (1), DeCoud (1), Maponga (1)
Stops (6): Bartu (2), Nicholas (2), Jerry (1), Worrilow (1)

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"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


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