In this weekly feature, Dan Quinn chooses one person to sacrifice to the giant falcon statue the team is erecting at the new stadium for the benefit of the team. This week, it’s everyone’s favorite offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan. We’re also identifying our player of the week, and after the win in Oakland, it’s quarterback Matt Ryan.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan plays well in the no-huddle offense. You know it, I know it, and anyone who has any degree of functional understanding about the game of football knows it. However, the Falcons have an offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, who seems intractably opposed to running the no-huddle.
Against the Oakland Raiders, the Falcons offense ran the no-huddle for a significant percentage of offensive snaps, and guess what?
Well, for starters, the Falcons won. Matt Ryan threw for 397 yards and three touchdowns, with just one interception. Not bad.
The run game worked. Devonta Freeman had 93 rushing yards, and Tevin Coleman added 46 and a touchdown. Part of the reasoning the coaching staff has given for not running the no-huddle was that it wasn’t most conducive to getting the run game going, but it certainly got going against the Raiders.
Atlanta’s offense has struggled over Shanahan’s tenure, and today it really didn’t. Today the team performed well offensively, and they did so in an offense that suits their strengths as opposed to fitting into Shanahan’s preconceived plan.
For that, Shanny, you’ve got to go. You’re a brilliant offensive mind, but you’re intractable, and that’s why you’re taking the fall this time.
Player of the week: Matt Ryan
This week, Matt Ryan had the freedom to run the offense the way he wants to; in a way that suits his strengths. The results were fantastic, and that’s why he’s our player of the week.
He distributed the ball well, hitting nine different receivers over the course of the game. Julio Jones had over 100 receiving yards, and tight ends Jacob Tamme and Austin Hooper were very involved, racking up 159 yards between them.
Yes, Ryan had help. His offensive line looked adequate, his receivers were reliable and getting the ground game going definitely helped.
But Ryan hung in there and made some tough plays and absolutely was a catalyst for Atlanta’s win. Who knew that the no-huddle would help so much?
Oh, yeah. Most of us did. That’s why Shanny’s our scapegoat this week.
Many thanks to @ThatTerenius, who created these images for us. I just want to be forthcoming and point out that Terenius agreed to sacrifice Kyle Shanahan under duress, because he said he felt bad doing so after a win. You’re a very nice guy, Terenius, but the no-huddle is great and Shanahan deserves this.