Initially from watching the game live, I was very impressed with the Falcons performance. Upon review, I still came away impressed but cannot dismiss that the Eagles did not play well in this game. Most of the positives come on the offensive side of the ball.
Matt Ryan had a strong game. The running game had its moments and you could certainly argue this was the most complete game the offense has played this year. Turner had one of his better performances and Quizz also ran what might be the best game of his career. The blocking was just OK in this game. Relative to recent games, the pass protection held up well. There were some holes in this game, but It was inconsistent. But probably less inconsistent than it has normally been this year.
Sam Baker usually gets destroyed by Trent Cole so only giving up two pressures is relatively a strong performance for him. Clabo continued to have his issues, but had his share of moments as a run blocker. Watching live, I thought Konz played well. Upon further review, I might hold off on that. He did have his moments particularly as a run blocker, but there were two many missed blocks and he had some struggles in pass protection. He had 2 hurries and a pressure on plays that we’re wiped out by penalties. I think he definitely flashed his potential in this game, but still needs to work out the kinks. Reynolds at this point might be more consistent/reliable, but I don’t think he has the upside of Konz, particularly in the ground game. It seemed that Konz had many of his issues trying to block linebackers in the run game, and also struggled versus stunts.
Speaking of blocking, my hat goes off to DJ Davis and Roddy White for their efforts there. Davis had an impressive debut, standing out as a blocker. Both of his catches came when he was wide open thanks to Eagle defenders focusing on the Falcons’ other playmakers, but he did make a nice catch on the TD since it was not a particularly well-thrown ball. Roddy has been an underwhelming blocker so far this year, as I’ve noticed several times this year where he misses an assignment that could have potentially sprung a runner for a big gain. But that was not the case on Sunday.
Julio was very impressive, as his two big plays were a welcome addition to the offense. He absolutely roasted Nnamdi on the touchdown, and if not for an excellent tackle by Kurt Coleman, could have potentially scored on the 37-yard screen pass. The Eagles really had a hard time defending the Falcons screens as well as the shovel passes to Snelling, which essentially doubled as running plays.
The dip in how impressed I was with this game came mainly from watching the defense. They weren’t bad by any means, but not a lot of praise can be thrown around. Individually most were fairly average. I think the biggest kudos goes to Mike Nolan, for designing a number of plays and blitzes that made Vick very uncomfortable. But in truth, I’m not sure how much is Nolan’s designs and how much is Vick just isn’t very good or heady quarterback.
They really didn’t get much pressure on him until the fourth quarter. All of Biermann’s positive pass rushes came on the final series. Abe earned well but relative to some of his other games, he was mostly quiet. His sack was largely courtesy of Spoon’s pressure, and his lone pressure resulted in flushing Vick to run for a first on third down. But the hits and pressures that came from the back seven was effective. Peters looked out of shape in this game, which is no surprise. Hopefully he’ll get back to fighting weight in a few weeks. I noticed the Falcons put Babs at end opposite Biermann’s, with Walker and Jerry inside. I’m betting that might be Nolan’s latest attempt to beef up the run defense. I also noticed the Falcons used more dime than usual, with Owens coming in for Nicholas.
Akeem Dent looked better in this game, finally making a couple of nice plays despite limited action. Hopefully he’s begun to turn the corner. In the secondary, both DeCoud and Moore were very impressive. Samuel struggled tackling in this one, while Dunta wasn’t really tested that much. McClain had another good game, which is a positive since he was facing much better receivers in the slot than he has. In recent weeks.
On the blocked punt, Josh Harris got beat by Casey Matthews. That’s now two black eyes on this record, given the botched snap of a few weeks ago.
Advanced Stats from Week 8:
Poor Throws (2): Ryan
Key Blocks (9): Clabo (2), Davis (2), McClure (2), White (2), Konz (1)
Sacks Allowed (2): Konz, Ryan
Missed Blocks (8): Konz (3), Clabo (2), McClure (2), Blalock (1)
Pressures Allowed (5): Clabo (3), Baker (2)
Tackles for Loss (6): DeCoud (1), Dent (1), Robinson (1), Weatherspoon (1), Abraham (0.5), Babineaux (0.5), Owens (0.5), Samuel (0.5)
QB Sacks (3): Abraham, Biermann, DeCoud
QB Pressures (6): Biermann (2), Abraham (1), DeCoud (1), Dent (1), Weatherspoon (1)9
QB Hits (3): McClain, Moore, Weatherspoon
Passes Defended (7): Samuel (2), Abraham (1), McClain (1), Moore (1), Nicholas (1), Owens (1)
Blown Coverages (2): Biermann, McClain
Missed Tackles (6): Samuel (2), Weatherspoon (1.5), Biermann (1), Walker (1), DeCoud (0.5)
Key Blocked (7): Weatherspoon (2), Babineaux (1), Dent (1), McClain (1), Robinson (1), Walker (1)