The Falcons came crashing down to Earth yesterday afternoon. In many ways, it’s an eventuality a lot of people saw coming. If you’re one of those people, kudos. But riding high on a 2-game winning streak, delusion crept in for some of us and, predictably, shenanigans ensued. That’s life.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst individual performances from yesterday’s game, shall we?
3 Falcons Up
Ridley looked like a legit WR2 throughout yesterday’s game, nabbing 6 receptions (85 receiving yards) and scoring once. Ridley is quietly having a solid sophomore campaign. He’s not the fastest of most athletic player on the field, but he’s a reliable target and compliments Julio Jones well.
Tru jumped a Mike Evans route and nabbed his 4th interception of the season. That’s a career high for him, if you’re keeping count. The rest of the secondary looked highly suspect yesterday, but Tru continues to mock his detractors this season. And to that, I say, “good for him.”
Jones had 5 receptions and racked up 68 receiving yards yesterday. That, standing alone, wouldn’t typically land him on this list. But Julio’s willingness, however ill-advised, to play through that shoulder injury yesterday speaks volumes. Julio actually injured the shoulder during the first half and then tried to return to the game during the second half. Ultimately he’d get a “questionable” designation and make his way to the locker room, where he’d remain until the game was over. But Matt Ryan specifically praised Julio during his post-game comments for his willingness to play through the injury. (Calvin Ridley similarly praised him for playing through the pain.) Again, I can’t fathom why playing through an injury of that sort when your team is 3-7 makes any sense at all, but I do respect Julio’s moxy for giving it a try.
3 Falcons Down
The pass rush
Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley would’ve generated similar pressure sitting on the bench yesterday. The lack of pressure from the edge reverberated across the defensive front, resulting in this depressing statistic:
Falcons credited with one QB hit — by Deion Jones — with no sacks in Sunday’s 35-22 loss to Jameis Winston and the Bucs. In the previous three games, Falcons recorded 13 sacks and 25 QB hits. https://t.co/saWZ7BhbUP— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) November 24, 2019
“Go away, Dirk.” That’s the nicest way to put it. Maybe Brian Hill isn’t equipped to shoulder RB1 duties, as evidenced by his blown block that resulted in 1 of the 6 sacks the Falcons gave up yesterday. But there’s no way this offense is merely playing to its potential. There’s no way Brian Hill is this bad. Koetter is misusing the offense, plain and simple. And for that, he earns a spot on this list.
Rookies do rookie things, but McGary had taken some big steps forward recently, so it’s disappointing to see him take a couple steps back. He was like a turnstile on Sunday, giving up a lot of pressure. In McGary’s defense, the entire offensive line had issues yesterday. That doesn’t excuse how he played or engender much faith going forward, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.