This game was literally a case of snatching defeat away from the jaws of victory. The coaches came out this week and said that execution is the problem right now and I have to agree. Pass and run blocking hasn’t been consistent, defensive assignments and techniques have been poor or missed at times and Matt Ryan had a few missed opportunities in this game (which is rare and hard to blame given the unpredictable pass blocking). Fans have been quick to say that the coaches fail to adjust at halftime and that causes a lull in the 3rd quarter. It’s simply not true. Adjustments are made but they are subtle. In this game alone there were a few offensive formations used that were not used in the first half (one in particular I think may be helpful in the future) and Worrilow was used in the place of Dent in the nickel packages that were pure pass situations. Also, press man coverage was called for and worked some but also wasn’t executed very well at times and by that I mean not disrupting the receiver’s route at the line. Other problems are that while the Falcons got five sacks there were calls made that were not going to end well unless the blitz worked. Sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t. In this week’s review, I’ll continue with the same play by play breakdown and highlight the plays referenced above.
Drive #1 (offense)
1-10 20A: 11P, 7 in the box, good blocking, Julio finds soft part of the zone for the 16 yard completion.
1-10 36A: 12P (Hawley TE), 8 in box, the line blocked opposite side of the run getting the linebackers to overpursue. Trueblood make s a key block as well as Reynolds as Rodgers picks up 6 yards.
2-4 42A: 11P, 6 in box, Blalock pulls and Roddy gets a good block for Rodgers to get 5 yards. If he runs between the two he may have gotten more but a good play as it converted a first down.
1-10 47A: 21 empty P, 6 in box, Trueblood missed lead block on short pass to Jones and only picks up 2 yards. This is a good example of execution being an issue.
2-8 49A: 11P, 6 in box, both tackles get pushed back but blocking holds up enough for Ryan to find Gonzalez for 4 yards.
3-4 47M: 11P, 6 in box, blocking is good and Ryan throws it in a very small window but completes for 5 yards to Gonzales for a 1st down.
1-10 42M: 21P, 7 in box, not sure if Cone could have gotten in position to make the lead block but this one didn’t work more because Miami pursued well stringing out Snelling for no gain.
2-10 42M: 11P, 5 in box, blocking is good and again, Ryan finds Gonzalez with a very small window to throw it for 11 yards. Precision passing at it’s best.
1-10 31M: False start called on Reynolds but was actually on Trueblood.
1-15 36M: 11P, 7 in box, incomplete rushed pass due to either Snelling missing an assignment or a blitzer not recognized and called in the scheme. Snelling was the most logical choice since he ended up not blocking anyone. Again, another example of execution issues.
2-15 36M: 11P, 6 in box, Holmes gets beat but Ryan gets the ball to Snelling who cuts back to be sprung by Reynolds and Konz for 14 yards.
3-1 22M: 21, 8 in box, Trueblood loses the man he’s blocking rushing the throw but Ryan again hits Gonzalez with very little separation for 4 yards and a first down.
1-10 18M: 11P, 7 in box, Trueblood gets a good lead block for Rodgers to get 7 yards.
2-3 11M: 21, 8 in box, DiMarco opens a hole with a good lead block for Rodgers to get 4 yards and a 1st and goal.
1-G 7M: 20, 6 in box, Blalock pulls to open the hole wide with a great block making the shovel pass to Snelling an easy touchdown.
1-10 20M: 4-2-5, Babineaux and Osi chase Miller back into Dent who maintained his gap and got the stop for no gain.
2-10 20M: 4-3, Moore was deep which left the short route open for Clay to pick up 8 yards.
3-2 28M: 4-2-5, Osi gets the sack and Babineaux had the recovery. How Tanneyhill got it away from him, I have no idea.
4-7 23M: Punt with an penalty tacked on. This is a recurring theme on special teams.
Drive #3 (offense)
1-10 24A: 11P, 6 in box, blocking good and White runs a short route for 6 yards. He was open due to the DB playing deep.
2-4 30A: 21P, 8 in box, DiMarco delivers a nice lead block opening up Rodgers to get 4 yards and the first down.
1-10 34A: 22P, 8 in box, Rodgers goes right for 3 yards. If Trueblood or Hawley seal off #98, it’s a big gainer.
2-7 37A: 12P, 6 in box, good blocking, White runs short route, Ryan times the pass perfectly and White picks up 10 yards.
1-10 47A: 12P, 7 in box, Trueblood misses his block and it results in Snelling only picking up 3 yards.
2-7 50: 11P, 7 in box, Holmes caved some but blocking was okay. Ryan threw the pass a little behind Drew Davis.
3-7 50: 11P, 7 in box, White was open in the deeper route but Gonzalez doesn’t get a good chip block at all which results in pressure and the pass to Jones who bulled his way for 8 yards and converting the first down.
END 1ST QUARTER
1-10 42M: 21P, 7 in box, Konz missed his second level block that would have sprung Rodgers for a bigger gain but a good spin move helps get Rodgers 4 yards.
2-6 38M: 11P, 7 in box, Konz pulls and is a little late getting there but still an effective block that opens up a hole for Rodgers to gain 5 yards.
3-1 33M: 21P, 7 in box, Ryan reads the blitz dumping to Rodgers but Blalock is unable to get to the linebacker. If he gets that block it’s an easy first down but instead goes for -1.
4-2 34M: Long field goal is good. 10-0 Atlanta
Drive #4 (defense)
1-10 20M: 4-3, Nicholas started to head toward the middle but instead turned to cover the tight end. No way to know for certain but Moore was deep and I believe the TE was probably his responsibility. Meanwhile, Miller runs up the field for 49 yards and DeCoud takes a horrible angle which allows 39 yards of the run.
1-10 31A: 4-3, no pressure on Tanneyhill but Wallace’s route was extremely long, time-wise, Samuel breaks up the pass.
2-10 31A: 4-2-5, Babineaux does an excellent job of sliding down the line to make the play stopping Miller for 1 yard.
3-9 30A: 4-2-5, Gibson breaks his route to the outside gaining separation from McClain and gains 19 yards. Press man but doesn’t disrupt the route and while he was only a step away in coverage, that’s all that was needed.
1-10 11A: 4-2-5, Dent makes initial contact on Thomas but doesn’t finish and Massaquoi over pursues but gets enough of Thomas to trip up Thomas but could have and should have been stopped for no gain instead of 6 yards.
2-4 5A: 4-3, Babineaux and DeCoud miss tackles allowing Thomas to score. 10-7 Atlanta
1-10 20A: 12P, 7 in box, line blocks right, Snelling cuts left Jones and Gonzalez seal off nicely opening the hole and Snelling gets 8 yards.
2-2 28A: 21P, 5 in box, DiMarco makes the block but loses it. Snelling still gets 5 yards and a first down.
1-10 33A: 21P, 7 in box, this time DiMarco delivers a nice lead block springing Snelling for 17 yards.
1-10 50: 21P, 7 in box, Reynolds pulls while DiMarco and Gonzalez do a nice job of blocking which helps Snelling rip off another 8 yards. Excellent execution.
2-2 42M: 12P, 7 in box, Reynolds makes the key block on this run. Trueblood’s effort is ok but had it been a little better it would have gone for more but Rodgers still gets 5 yards and a first down.
1-10 37M: 11P, 7 in box, Rodgers makes a couple of nice cuts to find a small crease between Reynolds and Gonzalez for 6 yards. Rodgers really showed off his vision on this play.
2-4 31M: 21P, 8 in box, Toilolo misses his block but Jones just flat out ran past people on the end around gaining 7 yards and extending the drive.
1-10 24M: 21, 7 in box, DiMarco did hold but I have to note that Rodgers made an extremely impressive spin move to get 13 yards but gets negated by the penalty.
1-20 34M: 11 empty P, 5 in box, Jones and White run identical routes and are both open. Ryan goes to Jones for 9 yards.
2-11 25M: 21 empty P, 6 in box, good blocking and good coverage, Jones cuts inside in front of DB to be open just enough for Ryan to complete the pass for 14 yards.
1-10 11M: 11P, 6 in box, Konz gets thrown down to the ground by Starks who is then able to stop Snelling for no gain.
2-10 11M: 11P, 6 in box, 11P, 6 in box, completed to Douglas on screen for 9 yards and if Trueblood makes the lead block , it would have been a touchdown or at the very least a first down on the half yard line.
3-1 2M: 21, 9 in box, if Holmes slides left this play goes for a touchdown or if Snelling followed DiMarco’s block it’s most likely at least a first down. Instead Snelling goes around the left end for no gain.
4-1 2M: Short field goal is good. 13 – 7 Atlanta. The argument can be made to go for it instead of taking the field goal but “the book” says don’t give the home team any momentum, take the points. I don’t think either strategy is necessarily wrong but given the inconsistency of our blocking, I can’t fault Smith for taking the points. You’ll see an adjustment made for short yardage situations in the second half that I think would be good to use going forward.
Drive #6 (defense)
1-10 12M: 4-2-5, both safeties are playing deep and Dent goes all the way back to where they are which leaves the middle of the field completely open. Tanneyhill dumps it to Wallace for 12 yards. Samuel released Wallace once the route headed to the inside clearly indicating that someone was supposed to be there. McClain left his man (which I believe the safeties pick up since they are deep) to contain the RB if the pass goes that way. All points to Dent missing an assignment.
1-10 24M: 4-2-5, good contain coverage by Moore to limit reception to 6 yards.
2-4 30M: 4-2-5, Dent blitzed, Moore stays back 15 yards from the line. Tanneyhill runs for 8 yards. Once the receivers went deep I would want Moore to close the gap between his position and the line to prevent a run like this but he did help contain it and that may have been the desired result with 1:12 to go.
1-10 38M: 4-2-5, McClain misses the tackle and Thomas picks up 16 yards on the reception as a result instead of being stopped for 3 or 5 yards. Another example of execution causing problems.
1-10 46A: 4-2-5, quick pass to Hartline for 7 yards, Trufant was right there with him on coverage.
2-3 39A: 4-2-5, Trufant gets fooled and turned around on Hartline’s route for 11 yards.
1-10 28A: 4-2-5, Moore makes a great play on the ball to defend the deep pass to Wallace.
2-10 28A: Field goal. 13-10 Atlanta
END SECOND QUARTER
Drive #7 (defense)
1-10 26M: 4-3, fullback misses block on Dent who makes the stop for a 2 yard gain.
2-8 28M: 4-3, Osi beats his man to get the sack and force the fumble, Jerry is right there to recover it. Great way to start the third quarter.
Drive #8 (offense)
1-10 12M: 12P, 7 in box, Ryan missed Rodgers.
2-10 12M: 11P, 6 in box, Holmes and Konz both allow pressure but Ryan finds a wide open Rodgers for 8 yards.
3-2 4M: 11P, 6 in box, Holmes allows pressure but Ryan is able to get the ball off to White in the back of the end zone. Incomplete due to pass interference.
1-G 1M: 23, 9 in box, Holmes gets a pancake block but it occurs right where the hole opens up and blocks DiMarco off from being able to keep it open.
2-G 2M: 23, 7 in box, play action draws the safeties in to play the run, Toilolo gets open for the touchdown. 20-10 Atlanta
Drive #9 (defense)
1-10 20M: 4-2-5, no pressure but McClain has tight coverage to hold Gibson to 3 yards on the catch.
2-7 23M: 4-2-5, no pressure, DeCoud is late to coverage and then misses the tackle allowing Hartline to gain 20 yards.
1-10 43M: 4-2-5, Peters slides of his blocker to stop Thomas for 2 yards. Very nicely done.
2-8 45M: 4-2-5, good coverage, Massaquoi gets pressure on the incomplete pass to Wallace.
3-8 45M: 4-2-5, mush rush, Moore gets a good hit on Tanneyhill but he’s able to roll out and hit Matthews for 14 yards on a comeback route. McLain was there but was behind Matthews.
1-10 41A: 4-2-5, Bartu missed the tackle but Dent was there to stop Thomas after a 5 yard gain.
2-5 36A: 4-2-5, McClain unblocked on the corner blitz gets sack.
3-9 40A: 4-2-5, Moore almost breaks up the pass to Clay but does prevent the first down conversion by 2 yards.
4-2 33A: Long field attempt is good. 20-13 Atlanta
Drive # 10 (offense)
1-10 20A: 12P, 8 in box, Rodgers cuts into a crowd instead of hitting the hole and taking on the LB 1 on 1. Gains 3 yards but I’d rather him take on the contact as odds are better of a big gain.
2-7 23A: 12P, 7 in box, Holmes allows pressure but Ryan finds Jones for 10 yards.
1-10 33A: 21P, 7 in box, Konz was late picking up the LB, Rodgers only gets 2 as a result.
2-8 35A: 11P, 5 in box, Holmes false start
2-13 30A: 11P, 5 in box, pressure from tackles and center but enough time to get the pass off, Douglas drops it on a crossing route
3-13 30A: 11, 6 in box, blocking was fine, Ryan just threw it too low.
4-13 30A: Only a 30 yard punt. Bosher had a tough day.
Drive #11 (defense)
1-10 50: 4-2-5, Worrilow replaces Dent in nickel, incomplete to Hartline, Tanneyhill threw a bad ball.
2-10 50: 4-2-5, Goodman avoids his blocker and meets Bartu to stop Miller for 3 yards.
3-7 47A: 4-2-5, McClain misses tackle that would have limited Matthews to a 3 yard catch, instead turns into 12 yards and a first down. Again, execution.
1-10 35A: 4-2-5, Babineaux and Massaquoi get pressure, Bartu has coverage on Gibson, incomplete pass.
2-10 35A: 4-2-5, good job of stringing the run out to the right, Jerry knifes in and makes the stop on Miller for no gain.
3-10 35A: 4-2-5, Worrilow rushes pushing his man back into Tanneyhill forcing the high throw that Moore is there to intercept.
Drive #12 (offense)
1-10 35A: 12P, 8 in box, Toilolo gets beat forcing an off balance throw that falls incomplete to Snelling.
2-10 35A: 11 emptyP, 6 in box, Holmes allows pressure, Ryan take a deep shot to a well-covered Jones, incomplete. Thrown to where only Jones could make a play so about the same as a throw away.
3-10 35A: 11P, 6 in box, Holmes and Snelling allow pressure, incomplete to Douglas deep.
4-10 35A: Another short punt. Probably should have been a running into the kicker penalty called but end result still the same.
Drive #13 (defense)
1-10 29M: 4-2-5, Dent gets blocked, Jerry gets held and the flag.
1-20 19M: 4-2-5, Dent blitzes and gets an 8 yard sack.
2-28 11M: 4-2-5, Clay is left wide open short intentionally and Tanneyhill takes the bait. McClain contains for 4 yards.
3-24 15M: 4-2-5, short route contained to a 10 yard gain. Very good series
4-14 25M: Punt to Douglas that later is revealed he was supposed to let go but tries to make a play, fumbles and recovered by Miami. Easily the turning point in the game.
Drive #14 (defense)
1-10 19A: 4-3, Babineaux slowed Miller down, Samuel makes a quick read to make the stop after just a yard.
2-9 18A: 4-2-5, no pressure but Bartu makes a nice play covering Miller.
3-9 18A: 4-2-5, DeCoud is late with over the top coverage, easy touchdown pass to Hartline. 20-20 Tied
Drive #15 (offense)
1-10 20A: 21 “I” P, 8 box, Reynolds and DiMarco make nice double lead blocks, Konz misses block on Ellerbe , Rodgers still gets 6 yards but that would have been a big gain.
2-4 26A: 21P, 7 box, well disguised run formation, Rodgers gets 3 yards but would have gotten more had Starks not been able to slide off Blalock’s block.
END THIRD QUARTER
3-1 29A: 21P, Schrader at TE and Hawley at FB, 8 box. This is the formation I referenced earlier. This work so well that I would like to see this become our standard short yardage set. If Hawley had picked up Wheeler it would have been a big play. Even without that pickup Rodgers gets 3 yards and converts a short yardage situation. Down at the goal line you could even go 22 and I believe it would work against 9 in the box. It’s a subtle adjustment but it evolved to this during the game if you look at the short yardage sets.
1-10 32A: 12P, 8 in box, Reynolds and Konz allow pressure but Ryan finds Jones for 13 yards.
1-10 45A: 22emptyP, 5 in box, no one really gets open so Ryan throws in the vicinity of White incomplete.
2-10 45A: 11P, 6 in box, Reynolds pulls opposite direction of the run and the defense falls for it. Snelling gets 6 yards.
3-4 49M: 11P, 6 in box, Holmes allows pressure, White lays a key block and Snelling shows some moves to pick up 34 yards.
1-10 15M: 11P, 6 in box, Holmes allows pressure again, results in an overthrow of Gonzalez.
2-10 15M: 11emptyP, throws incomplete to Douglas although he had Jones wide open short, bad decision for Ryan and Konz allowed pressure.
3-10 15M: 11P, 5 in box, Ryan rolls right but Douglas had been forced out of bounds and no longer an option leaving only a double covered Jones in the end zone, pass is thrown away. The roll was either designed or caused by Reynolds getting pushed back slightly.
4-10 15M: short field goal is good 23-20 Atlanta
Drive #16 (defense)
1-10 20M: 4-3, Jerry gets pressure and Trufant makes a nice play on the coverage.
2-10 20M: 4-3, Peters disrupted the intended hole and Osi stops Thomas for 3 yards.
3-7 23M: 4-2-5, Jerry-Bartu-Dent all converge on Tanneyhill for a sack of 8 yards.
4-15 15M: Punt and DeCoud is called for holding to make a 56 yard punt that much more effective.
Drive #17 (offense)
1-10 19A: 12P, 8 in box, Gonzalez threw his man down and the play would still have been for a loss for Snelling. Just not very well executed at all.
1-19 10A: 11P, 6 in box, Blalock and Reynolds both miss on the lead blocks for the screen, Snelling only gets 3 yards.
2-16 13A: 11P, 6 in box, blocking is good and Ryan hits Jones on slant for 28 yards.
1-10 41A: 12bigP, 8 in box, Toilolo misses assignment, Rodgers saves the play and still gets 3 yards.
2-7 44A: 21P, 6 in box, DiMarco was wide open at the bottom but Ryan takes longer route of Jones for 15 yards. Quiz saves the play and may have gotten away with a hold.
1-10 41M: 21P, 7 in box, Holmes makes the key block but all executed well and Rodgers picks up 18 yards.
1-10 23M: 21P, 7 in box, Holmes gets turned around and seemed to lose his bearing on the play but Snelling still gets 4.
2-6 19M: 11P, 6 in box, Konz and Blalock both miss their blocks, Snelling only gets 2 yards as a result.
3-4 17M: 11P, 6 in box, CB blitz, Rodgers misses his block and I would have expected White to notice the CB was no longer in front of him and had blitzed, cut his route off to get the 5 yards needed but he kept running long so Ryan has to throw it away and take a hit which Reynolds quickly runs to him to defend his teammate.
4-4 17M: Missed short FG. So this should have been a first down play driving for a finishing score and had this been good then it changes the dynamics of the last drive that the Falcons had. When the coaches say execution is the problem, I think this rundown of plays illustrates that point.
Drive #18 (defense)
1-10 25M: 4-2-5, Worrilow back in place of Dent. Coverage is good, Tanneyhill goes short to Miller who is contained for 2 yards by Osi and Peters.
2-8 27M: 4-2-5, quick slant to Matthews for 7 yards, Trufant right there.
3-1 34M: 4-2-5, Trufant needed to disrupt Matthews route at the line and didn’t do it, results in a 9 yard reception.
1-10 43M: 4-2-5, overthrown to Gibson and could have easily been a big play as he had beaten McClain.
2-10 43M: 4-2-5, looks like Samuel/DeCoud were supposed to switch coverage but Samuel didn’t and it left the TE open for 8 yards.
3-2 49A: 4-2-5, Massaquoi gets pressure but DeCoud was playing 10 yards off of Gibson so Gibson runs a 4 yard route. DeCoud misses clean tackle and trips up Gibson which gets a total of 10 yards.
1-10 39A: 4-2-5, Worrilow misses the gap but recovers to stop Miller after 6 yards.
2-4 33A: 4-2-5, no pressure and simply overthrown to Miller.
3-4 33A: 4-2-5, Alford gets beat as Massaquoi gets late pressure. Another play where the corner needs to disrupt the route. If this happens and gets Massaquoi another second, it could have been a sack and ended with a very long field goal attempt.
1-10 29A: 4-2-5, high pass dropped by Clay.
2-10 29A: 4-2-5, Bartu gets hung up in traffic and is late to cover his man and it’s just enough to get separation while Moore didn’t help over the top fast enough. 21 yards.
1-G 8A: 4-2-5, Bartu didn’t release his man to the safeties so that he could man the middle and then misses the tackle on Gibson for a 7 yard gain.
2-G 1A: 4-2-5, Nicholas didn’t really do much to disrupt the route at the line and gets beat as a consequence for a touchdown. 27-23 Miami.
Drive #19 (offense)
1-10 20A: 11P, 5 in box, blocking was good, nothing really open.
2-10 20A: 11P, 6 in box, Holmes allows pressure that hits Ryan as he throws, results in interception.
Drive #20 (defense)
1-10 41A: Tanneyhill kneels to end the game.
It’s clear that a healthy Baker playing at the level he played at last season would be a huge pick me up for the blocking issues but Konz and Holmes have got to get it together. Further, I think both need serious weight room work this offseason. Until that happens, they’ve got to perfect their technique. For the most part, the problems seems to be paying attention to detail and not being timid on press man coverage.
Next up vs. New England on Sunday Night.