This was a game that could have been won but the defense wilted at the wrong time, the run defense wasn’t there all day and big plays were allowed late in the game. The result was a 29-25 loss that drops the Falcons to 8-5 and dimmed the hopes of a division title.
Here’s what I saw:
Running game: Turner (18/161, 1 TD), Norwood (5/18), Mughelli (1/2), Snelling (2/5) and Ryan (4/13, 1 TD) . Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner,7 ; Norwood, 1 and Ryan, 1.
Breakdown of passes:
Ryan: 24/33, 315 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 4 Bad passes, 3 Drops , 1 pass defended and 1 thrown away. The interception happened on the first drive in scoring range.
Drops (3): White, 1 ; Turner, 1 and Snelling, 1.
YTD Drops (34):
White – 15
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 5
Finneran – 4
Turner – 2
Peele – 2
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1
Snelling – 1
Receiving: White had the big day with 10 catches and 164 yards and Finneran had a TD catch.
Run blocking: Was okay but not as good as usual.
Pass blocking: 3 hurries and no sacks, another good performance.
Sack responsibility (0): None.
YTD Sacks (12):
Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 4.0
Wayne Gandy – 1.0
Quinn Ojinnaka – 1.0
Jerious Norwood – 1.0
Jason Snelling – 0.5
Note: QB responsible sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.
Run defense: Allowed 184 yards with an average of 6.1 yards per carry. Also, could not stop Thomas on last drive of the game.
Pass Defense: 230 yards allowed, which is good, but there were a couple of big plays at crucial times that hurt. RB’s being uncovered continues to be a problem. Also, no pressure was on Brees as there were no hurries.
Sacks (0): None.
Norwood had 6 kickoff returns:1-from the 2, 20 yards. 2-from the -2, 28 yards. 3-from the 3, 20 yards. 4-from the 10, 20 yards. 5-from the -4, 31 yards. 6-from the -3, 23 yards. Norwood still looks a bit slowed (maybe injured?)
Douglas had 3 punt return opportunities: 1. from the 20, 2 yard return 2. punted out of bounds at the 2. 3. from the 26, no gain. Pakulak did a very good job of limiting Douglas’ running room with great hang time and angling.
Koenen had 4 punts: 1-39 yards to the 33, return nullified by holding penalty. 2-51 yards to the 29, no return. 3-48 yards to the 23, return nullified by holding penalty. 4-52 yards to the 13, no return. 3 out of 4 kicks were fantastic.
Koenen had 6 kickoffs: 1-to the 7, 20 yard return. 2-to the goal line, 23 yard return. 3-to the 3, 20 yard return. 4-to the end zone, touchback. 5-to the -3, 16 yard return. 6-to the -4, 88 yard return. Koenen did his part kicking deep.
Field Goals: 1/1 Good from 23.
Special Teams coverage: Allowed the big return to Thomas at the worst time in the 4th quarter that led to the game-winning TD.
Things that really need improvement:
1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends and Running Backs). Maybe move Brooking to SLB and Boley to WLB as well as nickel LB?
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.
Offensive MVP: Roddy White (10 catches, 164 yards)
Defensive MVP: Chris Houston (6 tackles, 3 passes defended-very aggressive)
Special Teams MVP: Michael Koenen (very good punting day and deep kickoffs)
Goat of the Week: Run defense.
Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:
Next up: VS Tampa Bay Buccaneers, December 14th!