I feel somewhat vindicated, as the Atlanta Falcons dialed up the deep pass several times and put forth the best offensive game by putting up a season-high 34 points against the Buffalo Bills defense.
According to the official stats from the gamebook, Matt Ryan completed 4 of 10 deep passes for 94 yards, which doesn’t include a deep pass to Harry Douglas at the end that drew a 15-yard penalty. Ryan’s four deep completions came on four separate drives, all of which led to points for the offense, accounting for 24 points. The correlation between the Falcons being able to generate big plays leading to points is fairly obvious right there. Roddy White was the recipient of all four deep catches, and for the first time this season looked like the all-time great that we’ve come to know, love, and respect over the past eight years.
Falcons Are Aggressive, and Rewarded for it
This newfound aggressiveness has been something I’ve been calling for since the Falcons Week 8 loss to Arizona, where I felt the Falcons first failed to capitalize on the deep-ball opportunities they had in that game.
One of the bigger obstacles the Falcons have faced in the weeks since has been the concern surrounding their pass protection. It’s led to questions whether the Falcons offensive line could protect Matt Ryan long enough to allow him to throw down the field. Well, against the Bills Ryan was sacked six times. giving Buffalo a league-leading 43 sacks on the year.
One conclusion is that it really doesn’t matter whether or not the Falcons offensive line is good enough to protect Matt Ryan for all of the plays, just as long as they protect him for some of them. The Falcons lost 39 yards on those six sacks but the 94 yards on the deep throws more than makes up for the yardage lost.
While six sacks allowed will look bad on the stat sheets, it really didn’t have as huge a negative impact on the game because the Falcons offense was able to generate big chunks of yardages and create turnovers on defense, both of which have been rare occurrences this season since Julio Jones’ injury.