The Atlanta Falcons made a statement Sunday with a 23-16 win in Mile High over the Denver Broncos.
Here’s whose stock went up and whose went down in the victory over the defending Super Bowl champions:
No surprise here. Beasley had a coming out party as he notched 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles as he outright dominated the Broncos’ offensive line. He consistently applied pressure as Denver seemingly had no answer for him — or the rest of the Falcons’ defensive line, for that matter.
The second-year running back has tremendously improved his receiving ability. He caught four passes against the Broncos, but those four receptions went for 132 yards — including a 31-yard touchdown. Coleman is second on the team in receiving with 17 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown. Opposing teams are going to have a time all season trying to defend him when he lines up wide.
With the Falcons in dire straits on the linebacker front, Ishmael stepped in to play the the weak side spot. He ended up leading the team with 10 tackles and an almost-interception. Ishmael also performed admirably at strong safety in Keanu Neal’s absence the first game of the season. There’s no doubt the fourth-year player has been one of Atlanta’s better seventh-round draft selections in quite some time. It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field.
The Falcons signed Sanu to a five-year, $32,5 million deal in the offseason, and the early returns haven’t been great. He did have a nice first game to start to season, but he’s since been largely absent. Sunday he caught three passes for 43 yards and had a lost fumble as he allowed Broncos safety T. J. Ward to rip the ball from him. Granted, he’s been dealing with a shoulder injury, but hopefully the wide receiver can ramp it up a bit in the coming weeks.
Don’t get me wrong — Atlanta’s first-round pick had a very, very good game. He’s only here because he almost killed Beasley with a friendly fire shot intended for Paxton Lynch.
Matt Ryan haters
Ryan’s 2016 stats: 1,740 yards (first in the league), 12 touchdowns (second), 2 interceptions, 69 (nice) percent completion percentage and a 121.6 passer rating (first). You guys have to be fuming right now.
Give us your three up and three down.