I want to preface this article with some news that you may or may not have heard: the Falcons of Atlanta are headed to the most super of the bowls after beating the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC title game. Now, on to your regularly scheduled programming.
In a game that many thought would be a shootout and an incredibly close contest, the Falcons dominated on both sides of the ball. The offense continues to play a brand of football we haven’t seen since the Rams and Kurt Warner in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, and the defense played the best game we have seen them play up to this point. Let’s take a look at some specific players that contributed to a historic victory for the franchise.
- Julio Jones, 94.4
- Matt Ryan, 90.6
- Deion Jones, 83.2
- Patrick DiMarco, 82.0
- Ricardo Allen, 80.4
A couple quick thoughts on these ratings. Julio had nine catches, 180 yards, and two touchdowns on nine toes—this guy is not human and I’m so glad he is on our side. Next, Matt Ryan continues to bury those who bashed him earlier this season and throughout his career with a second-straight MVP-caliber performance: 27-of-38 for 392 yards, four passing touchdowns, and one beautiful, fantastic rushing touchdown. Patrick DiMarco is one of the unsung heroes of this season for Atlanta. He is a major part of the running game for Atlanta and is even a viable option to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Next, on the defensive end, the rookie linebacker out of LSU had another huge game. Deion Jones had six combined tackles, a quarterback hurry, and a pass defended in a game where his speed was on display and played a major role in the success of the defense. Finally, Ricardo Allen played the same way he has been playing all season long: he was in the right places at the right times, solid in coverage (a pass defended and an interception), and totaled five tackles against Green Bay. This guy continues to be an underrated member of the Atlanta secondary.
The most accurate grade this week is Matt Ryan’s grade of 90.6 AND Julio’s grade of 94.4. Both of these guys were at the top of their game on the biggest stage either of them has seen in their careers. After Jones didn’t practice all week there was a lot of concern that he would be unable to contribute to the Falcons offense, but he did contribute in a way that no one saw coming, exploding for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Ryan, simply put, looked like the best quarterback in the NFL.
Now, the Falcons won and they are headed to the Super Bowl (!!!) so I don’t really feel like saying worst/least accurate, but I will say that Jalen Collins played his best game as a Falcon, I think. He had a couple shaky possessions but he also forced and recovered a fumble. He looks like the player that Dan Quinn thought he would be. The entire defense really stepped up on Sunday and, while the offense is clearly the story, the defense is starting to look like a challenge for opposing offenses.
The Falcons are headed to the Super Bowl. That’s all we really need to know. This team has won both postseason games by more than two scores, and the defense is getting better each time they step on the field.
Our next PFF roundup will be after the Super Bowl.