The Atlanta Falcons almost did what most in and around the NFL see as impossible: they almost beat the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. Despite adding one to the “L” column, Atlanta came away looking like a legitimate contender in the NFC and the class of the NFC South.
Matt Ryan played one of the sharpest games of the season and the defense kept the Seattle offense in check, for the most part. This was a battle in the trenches and a battle of two great quarterbacks.
Let’s start with the offense, shall we?
- Matt Ryan, 83.2: Despite throwing one interception and losing one fumble, Matt Ryan was at the top of his game once again. After a first half where he was hit over five times (a number of which were late), Ryan immediately went to work in the second half. He showed great toughness and leadership in this game and played exceptionally well against a terrific defense. Low B grade is solid, here.
- Julio Jones, 83: When the quarterback does well it normally means the receivers do well, and that was the case for Julio Jones. Matching up against Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom is no small task and he amassed seven catches for 139 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. Julio was key in opening up the offense and was clearly an issue for Richard Sherman. His drop turned into a pretty key interception for Seattle but he was great all game.
- Alex Mack, 77 & Andy Levitre, 74.7: The offensive line had a tough day against Seattle’s defensive line, but the performance got significantly better in the second half. Also of note, most of Ryan’s pressure came from the edges and the interior line allowed him room to step up into the pocket in the second half. These two guys continue to be keys in Atlanta’s offensive success.
After a worrisome start in the first half, the Atlanta offense came out of halftime firing on all cylinders. A big reason for that was the play of the offensive line, which gave Matt Ryan time in the pocket to pick apart a vaunted Seattle secondary. Julio also got moving in the second half and really opened up the offense for Atlanta.
On to the defense.
- Grady Jarrett, 83.2: The young defensive lineman continues to perform as one of the Falcons’ better players on this side of the ball. He missed a couple of tackles in a key Seahawks drive late in the game, but his play for the game, as a whole was good. I think 83.2 is very solid in this case—he was pretty good but had the chance to be dominant in some key spots in the game.
- Derrick Shelby, 80: It’s great to see this guy playing the way he was in this game. Unfortunately, his health is now in question but his talent and ability is not in question, at this point. He was great against the run and generated some pressure on Russell Wilson. Shelby seemed to be hitting his stride the last couple of games, and this game shows that those performances weren’t flukes.
- Desmond Trufant, 79.6 & Ricardo Allen, 78: The Atlanta secondary had a pretty solid day against Seattle’s offense but they fell short on a few key drives, failing to contain Jimmy Graham and Christine Michael. Neither of these guys cost Atlanta the game in their pass defense but they missed some tackles that extended drives for Seattle. Considering the scheme Seattle runs and the fact that the Seahawks came of a bye-week, the secondary (and these two in particular) played well.
WEEK 6 BONUS!!
- Richard Sherman, 37.2: Julio Jones is good at football, in case you didn’t notice, Richard. Don’t you ever talk about him.
This is one of those games where the end result really sucks because it looked like Atlanta was the better team on Sunday and still lost..but it doesn’t mean that the Falcons aren’t the better team. The Falcons showed that they are most definitely legit and that they are solid contenders in the NFC. Matt Ryan looks like an MVP and the defense is really starting to gel and will continue to do so as the two rookie linebackers grow and get healthier. Let’s bounce back against San Diego.