The Falcons seemed to be cruising to a victory at home over the Broncos before their usual late-game antics came into play in the second half. Alas, they secured the 34-27 win, but it was much closer than it need be.
Here’s Hat tips & head-scratchers for Week 9.
The Matt Ryan - Olamide Zaccheaus connection
It all started with an absolute bomb in the first quarter for a touchdown, and only continued throughout the game. An offense absent Calvin Ridley who is nursing a foot injury, Matt Ryan quickly turned to undrafted wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus and made him the focal point of Atlanta’s air attack.
Zaccheaus finished the afternoon with four receptions for 103 yards, including that 51-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, and proved that even without one of its top weapons the Falcons can still do damage in their passing game.
Foye’s second quarter sack
What can you even say at this point? Foyesade Oluokun is legit as a linebacker, and it will be tough to argue who is having a better defensive season between him and Grady Jarrett.
Raise your hand if you thought that would be a question at the beginning of the season?
Continuing the seemingly superhuman streak he’s been on all season, Oluokun burst through the Broncos’ offensive line and took quarterback Drew Lock down for an 11-yard loss. The Broncos would be forced to punt
Julio with a Julio move for the score
Julio Jones did what Julio Jones does in the third quarter, and he caused some collateral damage to rookie corner Michael Ojemudia’s hips along the way. Displaying the impeccable route-running ability that makes him the best wide receiver in the league, Jones sold the post route and then quickly changed directions, leaving Ojemudia running in the completely opposite direction.
He was wide open for the touchdown reception, moving the score to 27-6 Atlanta.
There were some Dirky moments in this one, but none more obvious than the 2nd and 16 draw to Todd Gurley in the fourth quarter. These ill-advised play calls always litter a game helmed by Koetter, but it doesn’t make them any less frustrating.
It nearly happened again
None of the games are safe for these Atlanta Falcons, and they quickly found themselves fighting off yet another fourth quarter surge from their opponent to steal a win. I don’t know if this is just ingrained in their 2020 DNA at this point, but the Falcons always seem to make it interesting for no reason. The waning minutes mentality of this team must change in 2021.