Moneyball 2011 – Week 18 Review

I know I’ve said this a couple of times already this year, but this was really hard game to re-watch. It felt like getting a prostate exam. The Falcons just looked inept on offense in this game, and seemed like some 6-10 team that had won a door prize to get into the playoffs, rather than the 10-6 team we saw most of the year.

Matt Ryan did not play well in this game. He was late on throws and reads, and seemed unwilling to try and challenge downfield. It looked like the Falcons gameplan was to feature a lot of short passing to offset the lack of a running game in the hopes that getting the ball out of his hands quickly would slow down the Giants pass rush. Well it really didn’t work too well. Roddy White did not play very well, with three drops. Julio Jones had a nice day, but the reality is that the Falcons did not really try to feature him. Gonzalez made some nice catches, but he too seemed to be not heavy into their game plan.

Much of their gameplan centered on feeding Michael Turner, which was certainly expected. But the Falcons offensive line struggled to move the pile and Turner was for the most part a non-factor. The Falcons offensive line is probably the real culprit of this loss. THey got their butts kicked by the Giants front, and nothing signifies this more than they two 4th & 1 stuffs on the sneaks where they got no push. But don’t always forget that the Falcons had a 3rd & 2 and 3rd & 1 that the line could not convert either.

Personally, I really don’t have a major issue with Mike Smith’s decision to go for it on either fourth down instead of kicking the field goal. I tend to favor coaches that are a bit more aggressive on fourth down. What I do have issue with is that the Falcons did not convert. They were asked to “man up” and they got punked. And regardless of whether the Falcons net 6 points on those two series, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Giants were punking them throughout the day. So while it would have made the score closer had the Falcons kicked those field goals, I certainly don’t think it would have really had any impact on the outcome of the game.

The bigger coaching decision I have to question is why the Falcons did not call a timeout at the end of the first half in their two-minute drill after Ryan inept-looking scramble. After that play, 18 seconds ticked off the clock. Why did Smith nor Ryan not call a timeout then? That’s two or three plays that the Falcons could have had at the end of the half to try and put some points on the board.

Michael Turner$0$6$0$0$0$0$6.00
Julio Jones$0$2$3$0$0$0$5.00
Matt Ryan$6-$2$0$0$0$0$4.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$4-$1$0$0$3.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Jason Snelling$0$1$0$0$0.5$0$1.50
Todd McClure$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Mike Cox$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$0.5$0$0.50
Michael Palmer$0$0$0$0$0.5$0$0.50
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$1$0-$1$0.00
Jacquizz Rodgers$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Will Svitek$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Joe Hawley$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Roddy White$0$0-$1$0$0$0-$1.00
TEAM OFFENSE$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00

Defensively, the Falcons were able to hold serve for much of this game, but after the failures of the offense, you saw the defense’s spirit sapped. Curtis Lofton had a strong start, as did John Abraham. Abe was able to get pressure early and often, but in the second half of the game, he was virtually a non-factor. Chris Owens probably played the best game he’s had of his career since his rookie season. I can’t say the same thing for Dominique Franks. He and the rest of the secondary deserve some credit for containing Victor Cruz, but it allowed guys like Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham to exploit the secondary. And while the defense faded down the stretch, I can’t really show them any real animosity. They allowed the Giants to score 24 points, which I think most people would have taken before this game started.

John Abraham$4$0$0$4.00
Chris Owens$2$0$0$2.00
Spencer Adkins$1$0$0$1.00
Corey Peters$1$0$0$1.00
James Sanders$1$0$0$1.00
Vance Walker$1$0$0$1.00
Sean Weatherspoon$1$0$0$1.00
Matt Bosher$0$1$0$1.00
Jonathan Babineaux$0.5$0$0$0.50
Curtis Lofton$0$0$0$0.00
Thomas DeCoud-$1$0$0-$1.00
Peria Jerry-$1$0$0-$1.00
Ray Edwards-$0.5$0-$1-$1.50
Kroy Biermann-$1$0-$1-$2.00
Dunta Robinson-$2$0$0-$2.00
Dominique Franks-$4$0$0-$4.00

Advanced Stats from Week 18:

Poor Throws (3): Ryan
Drops (4): White (3), Rodgers (1)
Key Blocks (6): Blalock (3), Cox (1), Hawley (1), Svitek (1)
Sacks Allowed (2): Hawley, Svitek
Missed Blocks (4): Blalock (2), Gonzalez (1), Hawley (1)
QB Pressures Allowed (6): Clabo (2), Blalock (1), Hawley (1), McClure (1), Svitek (1)

Tackles for Loss (9): DeCoud (2), Edwards (1.5), Lofton (1.5), Abraham (1), Adkins (1), Peters (1), Babineaux (0.5), Weatherspoon (0.5)
QB Sacks (1): Abraham
QB Pressures (4): Abraham (2), Sanders (1), Walker (1)
QB Hits (3): Weatherspoon (2), Franks (1)
Passes Defended (3): Owens (2), Robinson (1)
Blown Coverages (6): Franks (3), Robinson (1.5), Owens (1), Sanders (0.5)
Missed Tackles (5): DeCoud (2), Lofton (2), Franks (1)
Key Blocked (8): Edwards (2), Weatherspoon (2), Biermann (1), DeCoud (1), Jerry (1), Robinson (1)

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
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