The Falcons exited the field after the first half down 24 points, a seemingly insurmountable number for a team that has looked terrible aside for a quarter or two the entire season.
The offense came out firing in the second half, falling short of a herculean comeback effort against the Seattle Seahawks with a final scoreline of 24-20.
Here’s the good and the bad from Sunday’s loss to Seattle.
Nobody expected Isaiah Oliver to immediately step into the starting role as an outside cornerback and flourish in his second season (Editor’s note: Almost no one, cough cough), so the calls for him to be replaced in that position are extremely premature. He’s taken his lumps for sure, but Seattle’s first possession is a prime example of why the Falcons drafted him in the first place.
His coverage and pass breakup against wide receiver David Moore prevented an opening drive touchdown reception, and he immediately followed it up with more excellent coverage against Moore, forcing him out of bounds for the no-catch call and leaving Seattle to settle for a field goal.
Oliver is a work in progress, but flashes like these show what he’s capable of in Atlanta’s secondary.
Brian Hill’s touchdown
Brian Hill hasn’t received much of a shot from the Atlanta Falcons, but with Ito Smith still recovering from the concussion he received against the Rams last week, Hill was activated for game day.
And he made the most of it.
Brian Hill recorded his first career rushing touchdown in the third quarter, showing decisive vision and acceleration as he read his blocks and blasted through the line for the 23-yard rushing score. The Falcons’ backfield could look very different next year, and in a lost season, let’s see more of what Brian Hill can do.
The sack-less streak is snapped
Atlanta entered this one having not registered a sack since Week 3 against Indianapolis. That’s putrid, so it fits perfectly with how this team has played through eight weeks.
They snapped that terrible sack-less streak on Sunday, with Grady Jarrett taking down Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in the third quarter. Tyeler Davison would also notch a sack later in the game, his first in a Falcons uniform.
Small victories, I suppose.
With Matt Ryan missing his first game since 2009, quarterback Matt Schaub got his first start as an Atlanta Falcon since 2005. The bar was not set very high, but Schaub actually played particularly well — especially for a 39-year-old backup. Aside from an underthrown ball in the second quarter that resulted in an interception, Schaub did his level best to keep the Falcons in the game.
He would end the day 39/52 for 460 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Opting for the field goal try
The Falcons entered this game at 1-6, so it made little sense to shun a 4th & 2 opportunity in exchange for a long field goal attempt in the second quarter. There was nothing to lose by trying to convert, but the Falcons opted for the field goal instead. Matt Bryant’s 51-yarder went wide left, the first of his two missed field goals on the day.
DK Metcalf is a giant man. He’s not known as a slippery, elusive receiver, so in the red zone you would think the Falcons would have him covered. Nope!
Metcalf was wide open for two touchdowns in the first half, with no member of the Falcons’ secondary appearing willing to come within five yards of him in coverage. Miscommunication has been an awful feature of this defense all year long, and Metcalf’s two touchdowns were more examples of what’s been plaguing them in 2019.