I need some time in a sensory deprivation tank after Sunday’s loss to the Rams. The injuries, the ineffectiveness, the fact that this looks like a Pop Warner football team on Sundays. I can’t anger-eat chicken nachos watching the Atlanta Falcons anymore. They’re playing the now 6-1 Saints on Thanksgiving this year, so that’s another meal sure to be ruined.
There wasn’t much of anything to be pleased about in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Rams, but I’ll attempt to pry a couple of positive moments out of what was an all-out awful showing, and one that likely secured Dan Quinn’s in-season ouster.
The Falcons offense was a disaster for the majority of Sunday’s game, but that was no fault of Julio Jones. Going up against one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey, Jones tallied six receptions for 93 yards. He flat-out beat Ramsey on a go route in the second quarter, reeling in a 39-yard pass from Matt Ryan.
He would have added a touchdown to his stat line on another deep ball had Matt Ryan not slightly overthrown it.
Jaeden Graham’s special teams tackle
Tight end Jaeden Graham has been largely absent on offense after a promising preseason campaign, doing the bulk of his work on special teams. There was no better example of the value he adds there than the prodigious shot he put on Rams punt returner JoJo Natson in the first quarter. Completely blew him up.
With the Falcons’ season in an absolute tailspin, there’s a better-than-decent chance that we see more of what Graham can do on offense going forward.
Vic Beasley’s coverage on Todd Gurley
Why is Vic Beasley staked with the task of covering Todd Gurley? He’s been big bad since his breakout 2016 season, but he didn’t deserve this. Beasley was assigned coverage on Gurley in the second quarter with the Rams threatening in the Falcons’ red zone. Gurley ran a wheel route, toasting Beasley before hauling in the pass from Jared Goff for the touchdown.
Dan Quinn’s calling card was supposed to be utilizing his players’ strengths and putting them in the best position to succeed. This was not that. This was the exact opposite of that.
Not calling timeout before the fake punt
This was the Atlanta Falcons season in a vacuum. With the Rams facing a 4th & 3 in the second quarter and lined up to punt the ball away, Johnny Hekker moved into shotgun prior to the ball being snapped. Now, the logical thing to do here is to call an immediate timeout because the Rams were practically telegraphing what was about to happen.
Logic does not exist with these Falcons.
Dan Quinn did not call a timeout, the ball was snapped, and Hekker flipped it over to Nick Scott for 23 yards and the first down. Relocate this coaching regime to the nearest landfill.
The “offensive line”
Matt Ryan doesn’t deserve this. The Falcons’ franchise quarterback was abused for the entirety of this contest, and would leave the game after taking his fifth sack on the day — a scary shot from Aaron Donald that would result in a fumble and a high ankle sprain.
Even more unacceptable? The offensive line simply milling around while Ryan was on the ground, eventually helping himself up and limping off the field and into the medical tent. It’s looked like this football team had given up for quite some time now, but this appeared to be undeniable evidence of that.