The Falcons suffered an incredibly ugly loss this week at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles in a game that never really seemed right from the first series, but that doesn’t mean that everyone on the team had a bad game. Despite the loss, a number of players, especially on defense, played very well and earned high PFF grades. Let’s take a quick gander, shall we?
Let’s switch it up and check out the defense first.
- De’Vondre Campbell, 82.2: Once again, Campbell earns a high grade. This kid is an incredible athlete and has a great nose for the ball, as demonstrated by that monster hit on Darren Sproles that knocked a ball lose. He was very solid in coverage and got a couple of run stops. It was also evident that he was still learning, though, as the Falcons lost containment on the edge a number of times—some of which were due to young linebackers being out of position. All in all, though, this is an accurate grade, I think.
- Robert Alford, 80.7 & Jalen Collins, 80.2: Alford had a good game this week, which was important with Desmond Trufant’s injury. Granted, it came against the Eagles, who are lacking in the talent department when it comes to wide receivers. Collins, apart from a series or two where it was evident that the Eagles were targeting his man, played a decent game as well, however, he still looks raw in coverage and that is a little concerning. It’s tough to tell if these guys played well or if the Philadelphia receivers just aren’t good enough to create separation. Either way, these two guys kept the game from being uglier than it was.
- Grady Jarrett, 80.5: Grady continues to find himself in opposing backfields and has gotten a little better at finishing plays off at that point, but there were a few times where he ran into the line without really knowing where the ball was, allowing an Eagles running back to slip right by him. He tallied three quarterback hurries, though, and that is a big part of the defensive lines recent success rushing the passer, I think. Grady is good and has the potential to be really good, but he has got to finish plays when he has the chance in order to become a premier wrecking ball in the league.
- Jake Matthews, 83.5: Jake Matthews brought home the best rating on the team this week at an 83.5 and was a bright spot in a game that saw the Falcons’ offensive line get blown up regularly. Matthews allowed only one hit on 37 pass protection attempts, and, as we know, he was going up against some very talented defensive linemen. Atlanta needs Matthews to be that consistent piece to the puzzle in order to succeed, and he has come very close to being that guy thus far.
- Julio Jones, 78.4 & Matt Ryan, 77.4: Neither one of these guys really seemed to settle down yesterday. Matt Ryan was pressured more than he had been all season, except San Diego, so he overthrew Julio on a couple of deep balls that would’ve probably gone for a touchdown. Julio had a decent game but he was playing against some very average defensive backs and seemed out of rhythm all day, and he had the biggest drop of the season, arguably, that ended a Falcons drive when they had a chance to win the game. Hopefully this was just a weird day for both of them and not a sign of things to come, because… that was ugly.
- Andy Levitre, 75.5: Andy Levitre continues to be a pretty pleasant surprise on the offensive line. He had some trouble in pass protection but played a pretty solid game—I don’t remember a time in that game where I said Levitre’s name after a play and that is typically a good thing. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have to talk about your offensive line all the time, they are doing their job, so Levitre having a quiet game is definitely a good sign against such a talented Eagles group.
Welp. This game was definitely not what we thought it would be. I knew it would be hard because of how good the Eagles are at home and how good their defense has been all season, but I did not see the offense struggling like they did. I hope that was just a result of the Falcons having an off day and the Eagles hitting their stride, because Atlanta won’t get anywhere of note (further than 1st round of the playoffs) if these issues persist. This bye week came at a good time—let’s hope they make the most of it and make a run to end the season.