The Falcons played one of their best offensive games in recent memory on Monday night, beating the Saints 45-32 despite another concerning showing from their defense. One of the best ways to get an in-depth look at a teams performance is through Pro Football Focus and their individual game ratings. This article will look at the top four players on each side of the ball.
Let’s take a look, shall we? We’ll start with the offense.
As a team that preaches playing “fast and physical,” the Falcons want to have success in the run game and they did that on Monday night. According to NFL.com, the tandem of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman combined for 296 yards and four touchdowns. The performance of the offensive line was a major player in this.
- Jake Matthews earned the highest rating on the team at an 85. This explains why the Falcons had so much success running the ball to the left side as well.
- The next best rating belonged to Ryan Schraeder. The right tackle earned a 79.3 and was a major part of keeping Matt Ryan clean for most of the night.
- The final two ratings we will look at belong to Chris Chester and Devonta Freeman. Chester came away with a 78 and Freeman with a 77.7.
Now to the defense.
The defense looked pretty porous against Drew Brees, but a couple of players graded out pretty well. Two veterans and two rookies make up the top four defensive players this week.
- Dwight Freeney and Tyson Jackson both earned high grades with an 83 and 75.5, respectively. Freeney had a key sack late in the game and Jackson played a big role in stopping the run game, though the degree to which it was stopped is certainly debatable.
- Between those two bookend ratings we find Deion Jones with an 81.1 and Keanu Neal with a 76.1. Neal had some big hits but misread a couple of runs that resulted in big gains, and Jones had the game-sealing interception return for touchdown, as well as some very solid tackling and impressive coverage for a rookie.
As a whole, it simply feels great to get a win in New Orleans against Drew Brees and Co., and it feels even better to realize the Falcons sit atop the NFC South with a huge game looming next week against Carolina. Matt Ryan looked very sharp and Kyle Shanahan called a great game—if this team can get some stops and force turnovers . . . look out.