On September 29th, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 66.7% of his 27 passes for 227 yards, 3 touchdowns, and took 0 sacks for an absurd 129.7 quarterback rating. The Titans benched Mariota on October 13th for Ryan Tannehill. Kyler Murray had only 4 touchdowns in his 5 NFL games before tossing 3 against the Falcons.
Is the Falcons defense this absurdly bad? Fans have been aware that quarterbacks have been better against the Falcons. The defense has been a giant problem the entire season, somehow looking worse despite new additions and healthy veterans. We are wondering just how much better the opposing quarterbacks have been against the Falcons compared to the rest of their games.
Let’s take a look at that side-by-side and find out what sort of analysis we can find in the stats. We have compared the opposing quarterback against the Falcons and their performance for the remaining four to five games the quarterback played against non-Falcons defenses.
|Kirk Cousins Average||20||29||255.52||68.97%||8.8||1.6||0.6||62||2.2|
|Cousins v. Falcons||8||10||98||80.00%||9.8||1||0||31||1|
|Carson Wentz Average||21.2||34.2||245.4||61.99%||7.2||2.2||0.2||53||1.4|
|Wentz v. Falcons||25||43||231||58.10%||5.4||1||2||43||3|
|Jacoby Brisset Average||20||32.5||188||65.57%||5.8||2||0.75||48||1.25|
|Brissett v. Falcons||28||37||310||75.70%||8.4||2||0||35||1|
|Marcus Mariota Average||15.2||26.4||190.4||57.57%||7.21||0.8||0.4||75||5|
|Mariota v. Falcons||18||27||227||66.67%||8.4||3||0||55||0|
|Deshaun Watson Average||22.4||33.6||243.6||66.67%||7.25||1.4||0.6||54||3.6|
|Watson v. Falcons||28||33||426||84.80%||12.9||5||0||51||0|
|Kyler Murray Average||25.2||40.2||264.8||62.69%||6.6||0.8||0.8||54||4.2|
|Murray v. Falcons||27||37||340||73.00%||9.2||3||0||58||0|
What does this stat scouting show?
First, Kirk Cousins throws off the numbers because he barely passed the ball.
Second, the Falcons defense was legitimately oustanding against Carson Wentz. Wentz took 3 sacks, threw 2 picks, completed less than his season average, and threw for far less than his average yards per attempt. It was a great showing by the defense and the Falcons won. We have not seen that team since.
Third, every other week shows one clear sign: The Falcons defense is egregiously bad. Even with Cousins in the calculation, the Falcons allow quarterbacks an extra 41 passing yards, 8.35% completion percentage, 1.65 yards per attempt, over 1 touchdown, less than .25 fewer interceptions, and over 2 fewer sacks per game.
Atlanta opponents complete an average 63.3% of their passes for 7.08 yards per attempt and 231.29 yards, 1.47 touchdowns, 0.56 interceptions, and 2.94 sacks when they don’t play the Falcons. When they play against Dan Quinn, the same quarterbacks average 71.66% of their passes for 8.73 yards per attempt and 272 yards, 2.5 touchdowns, 0.33 interceptions, and 0.83 sacks.
As a reminder, this compares the same quarterbacks averaged out in their non-Falcons games. As expected, when you look at nearly every non-Wentz game, the Falcons are a clear outlier. This should not be terribly surprising. The Falcons have 1 sack since they played Wentz, and 0 interceptions since they played Wentz.
Something is seriously wrong in Flowery Branch. Matt Ryan cannot win, even with great performances, if his defense gives the opposing quarterback a serious advantage from their prior weeks. We are far past some statistically insignificant differences. Quinn’s system is dangerously broken. The Falcons will struggle to win anything if the defense remains this inept.