For all the criticisms of the defense, it really stepped up in this game in combination with Tampa’ mountain of penalties. Despite a couple of misfirings by Ryan, a fumble at the goal line by Rader and a special teams gaffe by Wire, the defense refused to break and picked up the slack to carry the team to a 13-10 overtime win over their division rivals. The huge win moved the birds to 9-5 and firmly entrenched in the playoff race with division title hopes still alive.
Here’s what I saw:
Running game: Turner (32/152, 1 TD), Norwood (4/-7), Douglas (1/11) and Ryan (6/19) . Effective Runs (4 yards or more or scores TD)-Turner,12 and Ryan, 3.
Breakdown of passes:
Ryan: 15/23, 206 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 7 Bad passes and 1 thrown away. Both INT’s happened in Tampa territory. Along with a fumble, these miscues could have cost us the game.
Drops (0): None
YTD Drops (34):
White – 15
Douglas – 3
Jenkins – 5
Finneran – 4
Turner – 2
Peele – 2
Norwood – 1
Jennings – 1
Snelling – 1
Receiving: White had 4 catches for 61 yards to lead the team in both categories.
Run blocking: Was very good amassing 175 yards at 4.1 a play.
Pass blocking: Not as much pressure as Tampa normally gets.
Sack responsibility (1): Came on safety blitz that was unblocked. Ryan was stepping up in the pocket and got stripped.
YTD Sacks (13):
Justin Blalock – 2.0
Todd Weiner – 1.5
Tyson Clabo – 1.0
Busted Play – 1.0
Matt Ryan – 5.0
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 99 yards with an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Gave up some yardage late but was overall very good. Coy Wire made a noticeable difference in place of Boley.
Pass Defense: 269 yards allowed, which isn’t terrible, but there were a couple of big plays at crucial times that hurt. Bryant really abused Houston towards the end of the first half but was quieted when Foxworth manned up on him.
Sacks (4): Grady Jackson got 1 sack and Abraham got the other 3.
Norwood had 3 kickoff returns:1-from the 9, 16 yards. 2-from the 6, 20 yards. 3-from the 5, 20 yards. I’m convinced something isn’t right with Norwood.
Douglas had 5 punt returns: 1. from the 47 TB, 13 yard return 2. from the 21, 7 yards. 3. from the 20, 17 yards. 4. from the 13, 10 yards nullified by Foxworth holding penalty. 5. from the 29, fair catch. Douglas did well when he had an opportunity. (Finneran had a fair catch, there was 1 touchback and 2 punts out of bounds as well)
Koenen had punts: 1-44 yards to the 23, fair catch (aided by unncessary roughness penalty). 2-48 yards to the 45, 12 yard return partially nullified by illegal block penalty. 3-52 yards to the 6,4 yard return. 4-34 yards to the 11, no return. 5-47 yards to the 32, 6 yard return. 6-Blocked with Tampa recovering and returning to the 22. Resulted due to Coy Wire’s missed block.
Koenen had 4 kickoffs: 1-to the 8, 17 yard return. 2-to the 5, 17 yard return nullified by illegal block penalty. 3-to the -1, 24 yard return. 4-to the goal line, 21 yards nullified by holding penalty. 2 of the kicks weren’t as deep as normal.
Field Goals: 2/2 Good from 26 and 34 (including the game winner).
Special Teams coverage: The blocked punt almost cost us the game.
Things that really need improvement:
1. Cover the middle of the field better in pass coverage (especially Tight Ends and Running Backs). Not sure why this hasn’t received more attention
2. Eliminate 3rd and long conversions/big plays by opposition.
3. Defensive consistency in the second half.
Offensive MVP: Michael Turner (152 rushing yards, 30 receiving yards, 1 TD)
Defensive MVP: Domonique Foxworth (3 tackles, 1 INT, and 3 passes defended)
Special Teams MVP: Jason Elam (game-winning field goal)
Goat of the Week: Matt Ryan (2 INT’s and a fumble)
Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:
Next up: AT Minnesota Vikings, December 21st!