Moneyball 2011 – Week 1 Review

It was a tough game for the Falcons. Things started off pretty well for them defensively, but the offense was unable to get much going. It was not vintage Falcon football, which featured a lot of mental errors, sloppy tackling, and penalties. Throw in two turnovers, and you get how the Falcons were so handily beat by the Bears in the season opener.

Upon initial viewing, I did not think particularly much of Matt Ryan’s performance, but upon reviewing the game, he was not nearly as bad as I thought. He missed on some throws and his two turnovers were boneheaded mistakes. But other than that, he really did not have a bad game. You can certainly say those two mistakes were enough to merit this being a bad performance, and you won’t see much argument from me. But if he can eliminate those mistakes, the Falcons should be better. He did not get a lot of help from the blocking up front or his receivers. I counted five dropped passes in this game, and the Bears had little issues pressuring Ryan particularly late in the game.

For all intents and purposes, I thought Sam Baker actually did a decent job against Julius Peppers. Peppers had a pretty quiet game until he got pressure that caused Ryan’s fumble that went back for a score. After that point, Baker started to have some trouble because the Bears were able to pin their ears back up front. But all in all, considering some of the past performances Baker has had, and given the level of competition, I think he did a decent job against Peppers.

It was Henry Melton that terrorized Ryan most of the game. Thanks to mistakes mainly made by Garrett Reynolds, who had a really poor game. Joe Hawley and Tyson Clabo also contributed, and that inexperience on the interior and Melton’s stunting inside contributed to a lot of his pressures. That was a strength of Dahl and Clabo last year, which was defending the stunts. There was really no cohesion on the right side of that line.

I was disappointed to see that the Falcons did not attack one of my matchups which was Tim Jennings at left corner. The Falcons barely threw at Jennings until the end of the game, instead going after Charles Tillman much more through the first three quarters. Now, they were able to get two big plays against Tillman, but nonetheless, I thought it would have been very smart of the Falcons to really challenge Jennings all game long.

On the ground, Turner had a nice game, his fumble withstanding. The team was forced to abandon the run by the end of the third quarter. Hawley and Blalock were the main contributors there. I think Hawley has real potential as a run blocker, if this game is any indicator. He’s definitely not there yet, and needs more polish, but he flashed some of the potential to be a significant upgrade over McClure down the road.

Michael Turner$0$7$2$0$0-$2$7.00
Matt Ryan$8$0$0$0$0-$2$6.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$4$0$0$0$4.00
Roddy White$0$0$4$0$0$0$4.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$3$0$0$3.00
Julio Jones$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Joe Hawley$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$0.5$0-$1-$0.50
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0-$0.5$0$0-$0.50
Jason Snelling$0$2-$2$0$0-$1-$1.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Garrett Reynolds$0$0$0-$2$0-$1-$3.00

Defensively, the Falcons had a nice game if you don’t count all the missed tackles. The front did a pretty good job getting pressure on Cutler. Abraham had a nice game, Biermann was able to get pressure. And Edwards, Sidbury, and Jerry also all contributed with pressure of their own. For the most part, I think the defensive line did their job of controlling the line of scrimmage, it was the back seven that really got exposed in this game. Weatherspoon got off to a very good start on the opening series, but his play faded as the game wore on. Lofton had a good game relative to many of his teammates, and it certainly was an improvement over much of what we saw in the latter half of 2010. Grimes was the only player in the secondary that can say he had a good game, although he missed a few tackles. Robinson looked really bad in coverage, not quite Chris Owens bad, but pretty darn close. DeCoud had a fairly average performance, but those two missed opportunities on the interceptions probably tip it to the negative.

On special teams, Bosher was able to do some things late in the game with some nice punts. His kickoffs leave a lot to be desired. It’s pretty pathetic that he cannot drive the ball deeper than 2 or 3 yards in the endzone.

John Abraham$5$0$0$5.00
Kroy Biermann$4$0$0$4.00
Matt Bosher$0$4$0$4.00
Brent Grimes$3$0$0$3.00
Curtis Lofton$2.5$0$0$2.50
Lawrence Sidbury$2.5$0$0$2.50
Matt Bryant$0$2$0$2.00
Peria Jerry$2$0-$1$1.00
Ray Edwards$1$0$0$1.00
William Moore$1$0$0$1.00
Stephen Nicholas$1$0$0$1.00
Vance Walker$0.5$0$0$0.50
Sean Weatherspoon$0$0-$1-$1.00
Chris Owens-$1$0$0-$1.00
Dunta Robinson-$4.5$0$0-$4.50

Advanced Stats from Week 1:

Poor Throws (5): Ryan
Drops (5): Snelling (2), Jones (1), Turner (1), White (1)
Key Blocks (5): Blalock (2), Hawley (2), Reynolds (1)
Sacks Allowed (3): Reynolds (1.5), Hawley (1), Clabo (0.5)
Missed Blocks (4): Reynolds (1.5), Blalock (1), Hawley (1), Baker (0.5)
QB Pressures Allowed (5): Baker (2), Reynolds (2), Clabo (1)

Tackles for Loss (11): Lofton (2.5), Weatherspoon (2.5), Abraham (2), Sidbury (1.5), Moore (1) Nicholas (1)
QB Sacks (3): Abraham (2), Biermann (1)
QB Pressures (5): Biermann (2), Jerry (2), Edwards (1)
QB Hits (1): Sidbury
Passes Defended (5): Grimes (3), Abraham (1), Weatherspoon (1)
Blown Coverages (6): Robinson (2.5), Weatherspoon (1.5), Lofton (1), Owens (1)
Missed Tackles (6): Robinson (2), Weatherspoon (2), Biermann (1), Grimes (1)
Key Blocked (1): DeCoud

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
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