The tale of this game is the failure of the Falcons offensive line. The Bucs pretty much dominated the line of scrimmage with their front four. Brian Price was a monster, and Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy each made their shares of plays. Garrett Reynolds was the only positive earner mainly because I don’t deduct for multiple pressures given up, as he gave up three. I don’t know if the Falcons have ever had a game where basically all five of their blockers should have been in the red. Justin Blalock struggled against Price, after being far and away our best blocker in the first two outings. I gave him credit for a half-sack on Mason Foster’s sack in the third quarter, where McClure botched the snap. I gave McClure the other half credit because of that botched snap.
The ground game was non-existent mainly because the Falcons struggled to get any real push, but because of how sluggish a runner that Michael Turner looked in this game. Turner looked his age in this one, and if he’s going to continue to play as slow as he has this year, the Falcons are going to have to resort to new ways of manufacturing rushing yards, such as a lot of dink and dunk throws to Harry Douglas, Julio Jones, and Roddy White and try to get those guys in space. The team might also want to try and mix in Jacquizz Rodgers a lot more.
Matt Ryan put up some numbers thanks to some earnings when the Falcons went into no-huddle or the two-minute drill, but he did not have a good game. Ball security seems to be an issue in the pocket. If you’re wondering why he went to Jacquizz Rodgers instead of an open Tony Gonzalez on that fourth down play at the goalline that was broken up by Corey Lynch, it was because Gonzo was covered by Ronde Barber who had broken up two passes already on that drive, and had an outstanding game overall, Pro Bowl caliber. The Falcons receivers had good games with Roddy White and Julio Jones both doing some good things after the catch. I don’t know the exact number, but I think Jones had around 40 or more yards after the catch. Roddy’s 3 drops are a little disturbing, although I think fatigue had a lot to do with the last one where he was wide open near the goalline.
I think the Falcons could have done a better job on their play-call on 3rd & 15 just before they opted to kick the field goal down 6 points with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter. They could have had a play that had a better checkdown for Ryan over the middle that would have allowed them to still get 7-8 yards to make it a much more manageable 4th down if they decided to go for it, instead of practically sending all 3 of their receivers into the endzone.
And what the heck has happened to Ovie Mughelli? Besides that TD grab vs. the Eagles (which was about as mundane as TD grabs get), he has been very very quiet this year.
Defensively, the Falcons had a pretty solid game. They made some mistakes of course, but you really can’t be mad with them holding the Bucs to only 16 points and under 300 total yards of offense. They stopped the Bucs on 3 of their 4 redzone tries as well, including twice when the Bucs drives started there. Abraham had a nice game, able to get some pressure on Freeman, although as usual, it’s nearly impossible to sack Freeman because of how strong he is. Jerry had another solid game and looks like he’s finally starting to emerge as the type of player that Dimitroff & Co. hoped he would be. I’m not sure why Corey Peters is starting. Even before his game-killing offsides penalty, this guy just really isn’t pulling his weight this year. The Falcons should employ him in a similar capacity that they used Jerry last year. They should start Vance Walker, who is a much better run defender, and bring Peters in on third downs where he is better than Walker. But at this point, there’s really no reason other than “politics” why Peters is any higher than No. 3 on the depth chart. And when Babs comes back, he should drop to No. 4 unless he manages to pick up his play in the coming weeks. I know injuries have been a factor, but all the more reason why the Falcons should do a better job picking and choosing his spots to keep him from wearing down further.
If there was any thing worth complaining about on defense it was the lack of discipline with the penalties. Too many offsides penalties, including the game-killing one at the end.
Bosher had a nice game relative to how bad he was last week.
Advanced Stats from Week 3:
Poor Throws (9): Ryan
Drops (4): White (3), Mughelli (1)
Key Blocks (1): Clabo
Sacks Allowed (4): Blalock (1.5), Baker (1), Clabo (1), McClure (0.5)
Missed Blocks: (4): Baker, Clabo, McClure, Mughelli
QB Pressures Allowed (6): Reynolds (3), Baker (1), Blalock (1), Clabo (1)
Tackles for Loss (8): Jerry (2.5), Weatherspoon (2), Lofton (1.5), Moore (1), Abraham (0.5), Walker (0.5)
QB Sacks (0)
QB Pressures (5): Abraham (2), Biermann (1), Edwards (1), Peters (1)
QB Hits (2): Abraham, Biermann
Passes Defended (1): DeCoud
Blown Coverages (3): Lofton, Moore, Weatherspoon
Missed Tackles (5): DeCoud, Lofton, Peterson, Robinson, Weatherspoon
Key Blocked (3): Peterson (2), Edwards (1)