It what resembled an exhibition game more than a regular season matchup between two of the expected top teams in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons came up short — again — in a 18-12 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Who’s up and who’s down in the loss?
Jones didn’t play at all during the preseason, but he came out on a tear to start the 2018 regular season. The Falcons’ stud receiver finished with 10 receptions for 169 yards and was really the only factor on offense. He also caught a 50-yard bomb that was inexplicably ruled incomplete, which would have put him over the 200-yard mark.
Atlanta’s third-round draft selection had a very good outing in his first game. The defensive tackle appeared unblockable at times and gave Philadelphia’s interior linemen fits on running plays. As it stands after one game, it looks like the Falcons found someone to pair with Grady Jarrett for the foreseeable future.
The Falcons’ secondary made nice plays throughout the night, even though there were a couple of terrible calls that went against Desmond Trufant. Robert Alford and Ricardo Allen both had nice pass breakups, and Damontae Kazee put a big hit on Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert that resulted in a Deion Jones interception. Brian Poole added a sack on a corner blitz. Keanu Neal’s knee injury isn’t expected to be serious, but if the safety is forced to miss time the Falcons should still be in good shape.
Atlanta’s franchise quarterback had easily one of his worst games as a professional. Ryan never looked comfortable as he missed passes all over the field. He finished with 251 yards and an interception on 21 of 43 passing, posting a 57.4 passer rating. There’s no reason to believe he’ll play this poorly again this season, but it was not a good start to the season.
The second-year offensive coordinator had all offseason to figure out how to score in the red zone. Instead, the Falcons came away with one conversion on five trips to that cursed area. That’s inexcusable with the amount of talent on offense. It was a near replay of the failure in the divisional round in the playoffs last season. Let’s make it known the Falcons likely score another touchdown if Ryan delivers a better throw to Devonta Freeman on third down on the first trip to the red zone. With that said, however, it appears as though Sarkisian is still in over his head — and that’s bad news for Atlanta.
Where in the world was Atlanta’s first-round draft pick?