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Falcons vs. Saints: 3 Falcons up, 3 Falcons down after an exciting win over the Saints

Fact: Grady Jarrett doesn’t have fingerprints

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons pulled off an unexpected, thrilling win over their most hated rival yesterday. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, then nothing will. It doesn’t make up for the lost season and it certainly doesn’t confer long-term job security on the current regime, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Let’s break down some of the best and worst individual performances from yesterday’s win.

3 Falcons Up

Grady Jarrett

The Falcons pass rush made a rare appearance yesterday, racking up 6 sacks on the day. Heck, even embattled edge Vic Beasley had a sack. But Jarrett’s been showing up all year and yesterday was no exception. With 2.5 sacks on the day, Jarrett led the way for the defensive line, demoralizing Drew Brees in the process.

Younghoe Koo

Replacing a legendary kicker isn’t easy. But doing it with a professional resume as limited as Koo’s must be nerve wracking. Koo showed up yesterday, converting 4 of 4 field goal attempts, including a 48 yarder (a career long).

Kaleb McGary

McGary has had his ups and downs this season, which is about what we expected when the Falcons drafted him near the tail end of the first round of April’s draft. But McGary held his own against Cam Jordan, playing what was arguably his best game as a professional. McGary gave up only one pressure all day, which is no small feat when you’re tasked with handling Jordan all day.

3 Falcons Down

Jamon Brown

Brown got himself benched yesterday after a couple penalties. The Falcons replaced him with Ty Sambrailo, which speaks volumes. Brown has a good ceiling and his contract illustrates the front office’s faith in his abilities, but his struggles to stay healthy and some of his mental lapses give us pause.

Devonta Freeman

I really feel for Free. He’s hit the worst streak of bad luck over the last 2 seasons. But Free’s contract is the elephant in the room, and he needs to stay healthy and produce if he wants the front office to keep him around in 2020. What’s more, Free was actually having a good game yesterday before being ruled out with an ankle/foot injury.

Matt Ryan

I hate to include franchise quarterback Matthew Thomas Ryan under the “3 Falcons Down” column, but if I don’t come up with 3, Dave won’t give me my daily bread and water ration. Ryan wasn’t bad yesterday; in fact, he was decidedly average. He was 20/35 for just 182 passing yards. He threw 2 touchdowns and 1 ugly interception. Ultimately he led the Falcons to a win, so there’s not too much to complain about. But given some of the ridiculous lines Ryan tends to put up, this one was atypically average.