Pro Football Focus is an awesome site. Many here are very fond of it, but I can't recommend it highly enough to those of you unfamiliar. Each week, PFF points out the best and worst performances from around the NFL. Since the regular season is over, let's look at how our Falcons performed over the 2011 season.
Let's start with the bad first (because there's a lot of good to come later) PFF labels these players as the All "Had A Bad Day" Team. As you should notice right off the bat, the majority of the bad performances from Falcons come pretty early in the season. The weeks will be listed first, followed by the players who were on the team and the teams the Falcons played against in parentheses.
Week 1: Biermann (CHI)
Week 2: Baker and James Sanders (PHI)
Week 3: Mike Peterson (TB)
Week 12: Joe Hawley (MIN)
Week 13: Julio Jones (HOU)
Amazingly, no player (not even Sam Baker) shows up on the list more than once. Matt Ryan, despite some shaky outings early, never appears on the list.
Now, let's get on to the All-PFF Team list, which is obviously the reverse of the All "Had A Bad Day" Team. As you'll notice, there are a lot more performances of note here, especially toward the middle and later part of the season:
Week 1: John Abraham (CHI)
Week 2: Tony Gonzalez (PHI)
Week 6: Ray Edwards (CAR)
Week 11: Brent Grimes, Jonathan Babineaux, and Tyson Clabo (TEN)
Week 12: Tyson Clabo, Sean Weatherspoon, and Thomas Decoud (MIN)
Week 13: Mike Peterson and John Abraham (HOU)
Week 15: John Abraham and Roddy White (JAX)
Week 17: Michael Turner and Curtis Lofton (TB)
So we see that at least one Falcons player made the All-PFF team in the majority of the 17 weeks of the NFL season. Toss in the fact that multiple players appeared often, and there were many impressive weekly performers. Before anyone cracks that they were against teams like IND, note that other teams made the list over impressive Falcons performances for the same reason. Interestingly, like the "Bad Day" team, Matt Ryan does not make an appearance here either. Those were mostly reserved for Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady.
Abe appears 3 times, suggesting that he is still one of the dominant 4-3 DEs in the league. Somewhat surprisingly, Clabo also appears 3 times, which puts him among the best RTs in the NFL. There are 5 appearances by our LBs, and only 2 for the Secondary and WR corps.
Any players surprise you by making or not making the lists? Remember, this is the best of the best weekly performers, so there are only 11 spots for the OFF and the DEF (however, they do have distinct 3-4/4-3 DEF Front cats).