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Falcons vs. Saints: Hat tips & head-scratchers

A humiliating affair against Atlanta’s biggest rival.

Los Angeles Rams v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Falcons turned in an embarrassing effort against the rival Saints, a game that put an even larger magnifying glass on the offensive inefficiencies that are pervasive on this team — and start with its coordinator. Read on for Hat tips & head-scratchers from Sunday’s abomination of a football game.

Hat tips

Ridley’s return

Ah, it’s good to have Calvin Ridley back and healthy. Atlanta’s second offensive play of the game — a slightly underthrown deep ball over the middle — showed just how valuable Ridley is to the Falcons’ offense. Ridley beat his defender on a straight route and then had to come back toward contact to secure the catch for a 46-yard gain. It was the start of a promising drive for the Falcons that unfortunately ended with points left on the field, but demonstrated how much of an impact Calvin Ridley has when he’s on the field.

Younghoe Koo

There wasn’t much to like from the Falcons’ showing against the Saints, but Younghoe Koo was certainly one of them. He was the entirety of Atlanta’s offense in the first half, going 3/3 on field goal tries — including two over 50 yards. Aside from a couple of shanked extra points, Koo has been solid all season, going 24/25 on field goal attempts, and is perfect from 50 yards and beyond.


Head-scratchers

The opening drive stalls

As the game wore on it became glaringly apparent that it would require some form of offensive alchemy to get the ball into the end zone, but the opening drive gave hope that the Falcons could score early and often. After the Falcons moved down the field with ease, the familiarity of a stalled drive reminded us why these Atlanta Falcons are these Atlanta Falcons, and Younghoe Koo was pushed into action to salvage points on the opening possession.

Ineffectiveness in the red zone has been a feature of this offense for some time now, but it’s magnified with Dirk Koetter at OC. And that leads us to ...

The offensive game plan

An unmitigated disaster. I’m not sure what team Dirk Koetter studied prior to this game, but it certainly wasn’t the New Orleans Saints. The Saints possess one of the stoutest run defenses in the entire NFL, and yet Koetter seemed content to just draw up a bunch of toss plays and ineffective runs. This was abysmal play calling at the highest order — an indictment of the bona fides Koetter supposedly has as an offensive coordinator at the NFL level. How he still remains employed by this franchise is a complete mystery.

O-line

Matt Ryan was sacked eight times in Sunday’s affair. Eight. The offensive line was simply overmatched, but the long-developing pass plays drawn up by Dirk Koetter certainly did not help. There’s a common theme in the head-scratchers portion of this week’s piece, and he lurks on the sidelines with reading glasses like a bad omen.