Moneyball Update – Week 8

This game was closer than the score indicated, but there were probably three plays that really prevented the Falcons from winning the game. The first of which was a Michael Jenkins dropped pass on a 3rd down which would have given the Falcons 1st and goal and potentially led to the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. The second play was the missed field goal that came on the play right after that, with Jason Elam missing a 34-yard field goal. The Falcons inability to come away with points on that drive was a major momentum swing. The third play was a fourth quarter interception by Tracy POrter on a tipped pass by Jonathan Vilma. Tony Gonzalez was probably posed to make a grab at the one-yard line, which likely would have led to the Falcons taking the lead 31-28 with 8 minutes left in the game. Instead, the Saints were able to drive down the field and put the game out of reach 35-24. Another pivotal play was a dropped touchdown pass from Roddy White on the previous drive. Instead of tying up the game at 28 with 11 minutes to go in the game, White didn’t hang onto the pass and the Falcons were forced to settle for three points.

This was not Matt Ryan’s best game. His 11 poor throws, 3 interceptions, and being responsible for two of his three sacks practically negated the 8 first downs, 3 third-down conversions, 2 20+ yard completions, 1 40+ yard completion, and 1 touchdown pass he threw in the game.

Michael Turner had an excellent game, breaking off some long runs early in the game. Gonzalez and White both had good games as receivers, with Gonzalez being a very good security blanket for Ryan. Five of his six receptions were for either first downs or third down conversions. As far as blocking went, Sam Baker struggled blocking Will Smith at times, leading to three pressures.

Michael Turner$0$18$0$0$0$0$18.00
Roddy White$0$0$8$1$0$0$9.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$6$0$0$0$6.00
Michael Jenkins$0$0$3$1$0$0$4.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$3$0$0$3.00
Matt Ryan$1$1$0$0$0$0$2.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Justin Peelle$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$1$0-$2-$1.00

Defensively, Jonathan Babineaux and Curtis Lofton had the best overall performances. But Coy Wire, Thomas DeCoud, Kroy Biermann, Erik Coleman, Brent Grimes, and Stephen Nicholas were able to make some key plays. The Falcons didn’t do a great job getting pressure on Brees, but there were a few plays were they were able to pressure him, but because he’s Drew Brees, he was able to complete passes due to his incredible accuracy and decision making.

The defense looked completely sapped on that final that ultimately proved to be game-winning drive by the Saints. The Saints had little issue marching 80 yards down the field for the score. Up to that point, the defense was able to go toe to toe with the Saints offense. Up to that point, the Falcons defense had shut out the Saints offense on four straight second half possessions after allowing 28 points in the first half.

Jonathan Babineaux$5$0-$1$4.00
Kroy Biermann$4$0$0$4.00
Curtis Lofton$3$0$0$3.00
Coy Wire$2$1$0$3.00
Michael Koenen$0$3$0$3.00
Brent Grimes$2$0$0$2.00
Stephen Nicholas$1$0$0$1.00
Erik Coleman$1$0$0$1.00
Chauncey Davis$1$0$0$1.00
Vance Walker$1$0$0$1.00
Jason Elam$0$0$0$0.00
Mike Peterson$0$0-$1-$1.00
Jamaal Anderson-$1$0$0-$1.00
John Abraham-$1$0$0-$1.00
Chris Houston-$1$0-$1-$2.00
Chevis Jackson-$2$0$0-$2.00
Tye Hill-$3$0$0-$3.00

Dropped Passes (3): Jenkins (2), Gonzalez
Sacks Allowed (2): Ryan
Poor Throws (11): Ryan
QB Pressures Allowed (5): Baker (3), Dahl, Clabo
Missed Blocks (1): Dahl
QB Pressures (4): Babineaux (2), Abraham, Davis
Missed Tackles (2): Jackson, Abraham

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
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