Here we are, Falcons fans. The defense has made definite strides since the bye week, but the Falcons are back to their losing ways and no matter how much the players like him as a person, it’s hard to envision any scenario where head coach Dan Quinn doesn’t get the axe at the end of the season.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst individual performances from yesterday’s loss.
3 Falcons Up
Graham had a solid game, his first as the TE1. He caught 4 balls, including a touchdown reception and another circus catch late in the 4th quarter which resulted in him landing on his neck. After a night worth forgetting, Graham stands out for his resiliency and willingness to step up in Austin Hooper’s absence.
Christian Blake/Calvin Ridley/Russell Gage
This trio stepped up yesterday. Blake got a lot of looks and was surprisingly efficient, nabbing 6 balls. Ridley showed that he can be the WR1 if necessary, catching 8 balls and racking up 91 receiving yards. Gage caught 5 balls (51 receiving yards) and nabbed his first NFL touchdown.
Grady is the kind of player you build a defense around. Notwithstanding all the traction Brees was getting in the passing game, Grady was a consistently disruptive force inside and a frequent visitor in the Saints backfield. As a result, the Falcons were able to keep Alvin Kamara relatively under control, limiting him to 61 rushing yards on 11 carries.
3 Falcons Down
I hate to include Ryan on this list, because let’s be honest, he can’t block for himself. And to be clear, allowing your quarterback to be sacked 15 times in 2 games (over 5 days) isn’t going to advance your cause. But his bad decision making yesterday contributed to his 3 turnovers. Ryan must be throughly frustrated with this season by now, and that’s understandable, but he didn’t have his best game yesterday.
Koo kicked two of the prettiest onside kicks you’ll ever see during the 4th quarter, but that doesn’t make up for his miscues earlier in the game, including a missed 42 yarder and a missed point after. Koo’s overall performance since taking over can mask
The offensive line
Dirk. You’re offensive line. Woof.
9 sacks, including 4 by Cam Jordan, aren’t the ingredients in a recipe for success. Those 9 sacks nearly set a record (it’s the second highest sack total ever given up by the Falcons) and matched a 2013 performance where franchise quarterback Matthew Thomas Ryan was also sacked 9 times. From Kaleb McGary to Jamon Brown, there’s plenty of blame to go around here and the entire offensive line deserves their fair share.