Moneyball 2012 – Week 3 Review
Sorry for the late update, I got busy earlier this afternoon and couldn’t check out the All-22 until a few hours ago.
This was about as low-key a blowout as you’re going to find. The Falcons never really broke a sweat in this game. This was what I would call very much a ball-control gameplan via the pass.
The Falcons did have their best game running the ball so far this year. Michael Turner had a couple of nice runs and seemed much more explosive in the second half than he did in the first. Jacquizz Rodgers did some things on the ground, and could have done a bit more had the blocking been better. The Falcons did definitely pick it up in the second half as far as the line goes. They did an excellent job in pass protection. The first sack they allowed I counted as a pressure because Ryan managed to step up in the pocket and was tackled while running rather than passing, so it’s more of a tackle for loss than a true sack according to the Moneyball rules. Justin Blalock earned well because he made some nice key blocks on certain plays, but there were a lot of other players where I think he looked sort of lost. McClure seemed to have his struggles early in the game with taking on the big 3-4 nose tackle. That’s historically been a weakness of his, and it showed up at times in this game. The Falcons problems running the ball going forward may not get fixed this year. They may have a couple of nice games such as this, but it’s not going to be anything they will be able to hang their hats on on a weekly basis. They just don’t really move guys off the ball ever. Which doesn’t help a player like Turner who is more of your plodding runner. And while Quizz is much quicker and runs with more burst, they still don’t create enough spacing to allow his style of running to really work. I did notice that both Mike Johnson and Peter Konz fared well in the fourth quarter as run blockers. That is something that may give this team optimism long-term that they can improve up front.
Matt Ryan played very well for the third straight week. He was being a distributor once again, basically doing his best John Stockton impression. Another cross-sport comparison would be another former Jazz point guard, Deron Williams. That’s how Ryan has played so far this year.
The Triplets as they will now be referred to: Julio, Roddy, and Tony, all had strong performances. Gonzo had the best game of course, and he and Roddy did a lot of chain moving. The Falcons need to get the deep ball better incorporated into their offense going forward. Ryan almost hit that deep pass to Roddy for six, and there were a couple of throws to Julio that did some damage. Those types of plays need to be regular occurrences in each week, and the Falcons pass attack that is operated at around 95% efficiency, could really take that next step to being indefensible.
Another strong game by the defense. The pass rush finally showed up this season, and John Abraham had a very good game against San Diego’s tackles. They are currently in contention for worst starting pair in the league, and it hopefully this will be the type of game that gets Abe dialed in for the rest of the season. He was drawing a lot of double teams and help from the running back, and several times managed to beat both guys to get into Rivers’ grill. Biermann had a nice game working in the nickel as well. The thing I’ve noticed with him over the past three games is that he gets a lot of “almost pressure.” He’s always like a step after others when they are getting pressure, and thus doesn’t get the credit here. The Falcons made the most use of their base defense this game. There was some reason to believe it was a little bit more effective vs. the run. Dent looked a bit lost out there, not quite diagnosing plays as quickly as others and getting too easily blocked at other times. Perhaps that is the reason why the Falcons deploy so much nickel. Spoon had his typically solid game, and did help a bit covering up for Dent’s mistakes. Nicholas had a couple of missed tackles that hurt his earnings. Despite the low earnings, he was fine, and had the sort of normal game that Curtis Lofton would routinely have over the years. So I’m about ready to declare that either Nicholas had made a substantial leap up and Lofton was a bit overrated. Samuel played very well in coverage, but he made some mistakes in run support. Robinson had his typical game, which means there was a couple of times in coverage where you would groan watching him, but not enough where it got to be egregious. And for every poor play in run support, there was one that was very good. That’s the issue with Robinson, for every good that he brings, there is bad. Unlike last year, this year it has tipped moreso to the good than anything, which needs to continue with Grimes not coming back.
Of course the highlight of this game was Thomas DeCoud, who had the best game of his career. Fascinating that every week we’ve had a player that put together performances that would go in their respective trophy cases. Week 1 it was Nicholas, Week 2: Moore, and now this week it was DeCoud. He logged the two picks, made some nice plays in run support, and also broke up what could have been a touchdown on a pass where Antonio Gates beat William Moore. Gates proved to be quite a handful for Moore in this game (no surprise), but whatever struggles he had in coverage he made up for in run support. Although he took a very bad angle on that big run up the middle by Jackie Battle, which I counted as a missed tackle.
Bosher had a very good day punting. I’m fairly certain Josh Harris is the first long snapper to ever grace the pages of Moneyball. Unfortunately for him, it was negative with the bad snap on the first extra point try. Hopefully down the line, he’ll make some great play on special teams coverage or recover an onside kick or something to wipe that out.
The utter lack of penalties in this game for the Falcons, particularly on defense is also good. Although given the state of officiating in the NFL currently, it may have less to do with the Falcons, and more to do with the officials’ abilities or lack thereof.
Advanced Stats from Week 3:
Poor Throws (5): Ryan
Drops (1): Jones
Key Blocks (5): Blalock (2), Johnson (1), Reynolds (1), White (1)
Sacks Allowed (1): Baker (0.5), Clabo (0.5)
Missed Blocks (2): Blalock, Gonzalez
Pressures Allowed (3): McClure, Reynolds, Turner
Tackles For Loss (0)
QB Sacks (1): Abraham
QB Pressures (6): Abraham (2.5), Weatherspoon (2), Robinson (1), Jerry (0.5)
QB Hits (4): Abraham (1), Babineaux (1), Biermann (1), Franks (0.5), Nicholas (0.5)
Passes Defended (3): DeCoud, Moore, Samuel
Blown Coverages (3): Moore, Robinson, Samuel
Missed Tackles (7): Nicholas (2), Samuel (2), Dent (1), Moore (1), Robinson (1)
Key Blocked (4): Abraham, Nicholas, Walker, Weatherspoon