The Atlanta Falcons somehow pulled off a win tonight, barely fending off a Seattle Seahawks comeback late in the fourth quarter. They are 6-4 now, and the season ended tonight, they’d be the NFC’s second wild card team. There’s a lot to be excited about, and there’s plenty to break down between now and Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For now let’s chat about some of the highlights. Here are my key takeaways:
Special teams still ain’t special
Keith Armstrong has a fantastic reputation and I have no doubt that he’s worked hard to fix the lackluster special teams play. But all that said, this is getting ridiculous. The Seahawks sliced and diced the Falcons with their kickoff returns tonight. Matt Bosher was repeatedly the last man standing, chucking his injury-riddled body at Tyler Lockett over and over. Andre Roberts botched a kickoff return and set the Seahawks up with excellent field position. It’s also clear that Matt Bryant isn’t 100 percent healthy yet. (Dan Quinn elected to pass on a 57 yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter, having Bosher punt instead.)
Matt Ryan’s receivers are figuring it out
Eight Falcons receivers caught a pass tonight, including a freakishly athletic touchdown pass to Levine Toilolo. Both Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu came up with fantastic catches. Justin Hardy had a few clutch catches as well. Also, nobody deflected a pass that turned into an interception! As a whole, this unit is trending in the right direction.
The running game doesn’t need Devonta Freeman
The Falcons eeked out 74 rushing yards tonight on 26 carries. Tevin Coleman scored once and nearly scored a second time. To be honest, there were definitely some busted run plays tonight. But overall, the running game was adequate. If anything the offense was balanced, thanks in part to a passable running attack. That’s a relief given Devonta Freeman’s absence. With any luck Freeman will be back in action sooner rather than later.