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Falcons vs. Packers: Hat Tips & Head-Scratchers

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The losing streak moves to five.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons stunk up the joint at Lambeau, dropping a hideous game against the Packers to move to 4-9. It’s officially draft pick watch in Falcondom. Here’s what stood out from the 34-20 loss to Green Bay.

Hat Tips

Foyesade Oluokun’s pass breakup against Jimmy Graham

After a game where it’s like pulling teeth to find any positive plays, Foyesade Oluokun definitely tops the list. Near the end of the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers went all Aaron Rodgers scrambly and basically played a game of 500 with Jimmy Graham on the edge of the end zone. Foye Oluokun was staked with coverage duties on the play, and Graham utilized his superior size to box him out. It was looking like a pass destined for six points for Graham, but Oluokun snuck a hand inside and forced the incompletion.

Foyesade Oluokun has certainly impressed in his rookie campaign, and plays like this one should instill confidence in the linebackers group going into 2019.

Ito Smith’s 17-yard run

Yet another rookie from the later rounds, Ito Smith has flashed all season long, and his emergence should make Tevin Coleman expendable next season. Smith led the Falcons with 60 yards on 11 touches, his game highlighted by an explosive 17-yard run in the second quarter where he shook off a couple of tackles in the process. He’s had a trifecta of strength, vision, and speed on display all year, and this run was the perfect combination of all three.

Head-Scratchers

Matt Ryan’s pick-six

A bad read by Matt Ryan and somewhat of a lazy route by Austin Hooper resulted in six for Green Bay as Bashaud Breeland jumped the route and took it back. Ryan admitted in the post-game press conference that the ball slipped out of his hand, but with both Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones appearing open it was just a poor decision from him. Backbreaking play.

Deion Jones drops two interceptions

Dropped interceptions — sound familiar? It’s a recurring theme in this dental visit of a season, and this week it was Deion Jones’ turn to drop a couple of would-be turnovers. The first loomed largest, with Jones unable to corral Aaron Rodgers’ pass in the second quarter that would have ended his streak of passes without an interception. Rodgers would later go on to break Tom Brady’s record of consecutive passes without a pick by throwing his 359th for a touchdown to Randall Cobb.

Three-man rush on third down

It’s abundantly clear that this does not work, yet the Falcons inexplicably keep trying it. Case in point? Green Bay was facing 3rd-and-14 in the third quarter and Atlanta (again) only brought three. Result? Rodgers easily completed to Davante Adams for the conversion, and a long Aaron Jones run for a touchdown would soon follow.

Marquand Manuel: Stop doing this.

Activating Matt Bryant

There was a lot of commentator chatter about how Matt Bryant was struggling to get distance on his kicks during warm-ups, and his performance on Sunday made it obvious that he should not have been activated in the first place. Perhaps it was a combination of the cold weather and the lingering back injury that kept him from practice during the week, but Bryant was well short on his 53-yard attempt, and followed with two missed extra points later in the game.