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Falcons vs. Titans: Hat Tips & Head-Scratchers

This was a great game if you’re a fan of awful football.

Tennessee Titans v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Things are very, very bad in Atlanta, and the bad acid trip of a football game that took place against the Titans simply reinforced that there is something structurally broken with this team. Let’s embrace the awful with this week’s Hat Tips & Head-Scratchers.

Hat Tips

De’Vondre Campbell

We’ll see what the Falcons decide to do regarding impending free agent linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, but he definitely made his case against the Tennessee Titans. On a day where the defense was routinely beaten like a dime store piñata, Campbell came to play.

He finished the contest with 17 combined tackles (two for losses) and forced two fumbles (neither of which was recovered, unfortunately). Regardless of the result that finds the Falcons at 1-3, De’Vondre had a banner day on defense.

Julio hits 11,000

Julio Jones, god among men, added another notch in his belt of NFL records on Sunday — this time eclipsing Calvin Johnson’s previously-held mark of hitting 11,000 yards in 127 games.

Jones accomplished this feat in 115 games, nearly a full season sooner than Megatron.


Austin Hooper has been one of the lone bright spots in Atlanta’s offense all season long. He’s proved himself a consistent, reliable safety valve for Matt Ryan, and he continued his excellent work on Sunday by reeling in 11 targets for nine receptions and 130 yards.

Hooper has been exceptional in the receiving game the entire year, and through four games where mining positive aspects of this pedestrian offense is like pulling teeth, his continued growth has been great to see.


Desmond Trufant gets burned twice

Desmond Trufant has been pretty solid so far this season, but he was exposed early on in this one. He completely misplayed the coverage on A.J Brown’s long first quarter touchdown, and was promptly burned once more during the Titan’s next drive for another touchdown grab by A.J Brown.

Corey Davis converts on 3rd-and-15

With the Titans facing a 3rd-and-15 on their own 20, Dan Quinn deployed the softest of zone defenses. We’re talking fresh-out-of-the-oven bakery bread soft. The zone was surgically picked apart last week, and it would continue early on in this one as Atlanta’s defense allowed Marcus Mariota to find Corey Davis for 16 yards and the conversion.

The play kept the Tennessee offense alive, and the Titans would march down the field and cap off the drive with another A.J. Brown touchdown.

Isaiah Oliver’s missed tackle leads to the TD

Isaiah Oliver is certainly taking his lumps in his first year as a full-time starting cornerback in the NFL, and his missed tackle on Corey Davis prior to the end of the half was direct evidence that he still has a ways to go as an outside defender. Bad angle, bad tackle, bad result. 24-7 Titans heading into the half.

An early white flag

With the Falcons down 24-7 at the end of the first half, it’s completely understandable if you turned off the game at that point. Atlanta seemed to be on that same wavelength, as the Falcons finally made it into Tennessee territory in the waning seconds and ... attempted a field goal.

The 32-yarder from Matt Bryant was no good, and neither was the decision to kick a field goal down by 17 in a game where nothing was going right at all.

Fourth down to Devonta

When you have a team that possesses the receiving talent of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Mohamed Sanu, it makes perfectly logical sense to take all of them off of the field for a critical fourth down conversion and dial up a running play. Yes, that’s what Dirk Koetter did, and the result was what you’d expect.

In the second quarter with the Falcons trailing by a manageable 17-7, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator removed the team’s top receiving threats, instead opting for a handoff to running back Devonta Freeman. The play was seemingly doomed by design, and Devonta would be swallowed up short of the line of scrimmage for the turnover on downs.