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Falcons snap counts from, you guessed it, a loss to the Buccaneers

We’re getting tired of having to write “from a loss.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta played a great first half and the offense played a decent enough second half, but the defense completely collapsed in the second half to doom the Falcons once more.

Let’s see what the snap counts illuminate.


Matt Ryan: 65

Jake Matthews: 65

Alex Mack: 65

Chris Lindstrom: 65

Russell Gage: 59

Calvin Ridley: 58

Matt Gono: 50

James Carpenter: 47

Hayden Hurst: 43

Luke Stocker: 32

Ito Smith: 31

Brandon Powell: 28

Justin McCray: 18

Todd Gurley: 16

Brian Hill: 15

Christian Blake: 15

Kaleb McGary: 15

Keith Smith: 14

Jaeden Graham: 9

Laquon Treadwell: 5

The offense featured a lot of mixing and matching along the line, which is not an ideal situation at any time and may have helped contribute to the team’s late game shakiness in pass protection. Kaleb McGary was active but played only 15 snaps, while James Carpenter played the majority of snaps at left guard but yielded to Justin McGray after an injury. As good as the line has been when everyone’s healthy—heck, as good as it’s been when Gono’s in for McGary, even—a little chaos and a lot of teeing off on obvious passing down late in the game will cause problems.

The lack of a ground game is a contributing factor there. The Falcons have trouble sitting on leads because they do not have a credible rushing attack, with Ito Smith turning in solid work but not getting many opportunities and Todd Gurley and Brian Hill getting few opportunities and not having much luck with them, either. The Falcons had a 17 point lead at halftime and only ran the ball four times after the half, by my count, which is an indictment of the run blocking, the scheme, the coaching, and the personnel in the running back group. It’s a systemic failure that prevents this team from having even a little offensive balance when they need it, which is one of the reasons they can never hold a big lead.

On a more positive note, having Matt Ryan spread the ball out and prioritize quick passes paid huge dividends in this one, especially early on. He hit Keith Smith three times, revitalized his connection with Hayden Hurst, connected with Laquon Treadwell and even found Luke Stocker in this one, and that’s the smartest way forward for those games when the team doesn’t have Julio Jones. Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage are a very credible 1-2 punch against decent secondaries in the meantime, but Atlanta’s ability to rely on other options helps a lot.

Overall, this was the most encouraging Falcons offensive performance in months, and it was due to tweaks to the passing game and crisp pass blocking. It’s just that nothing good can last forever, especially when your offensive balance is non-existent.


Foye Oluokun: 68

Deion Jones: 68

Sharrod Neasman: 66

A.J. Terrell: 66

Kendall Sheffield: 64

Grady Jarrett: 61

Keanu Neal: 54

Dante Fowler Jr.: 45

Steven Means: 43

Tyeler Davison: 39

Isaiah Oliver: 39

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner: 24

Allen Bailey: 23

Mykal Walker: 22

John Cominsky: 19

Jaylinn Hawkins: 12

Charles Harris: 10

Deadrin Senat: 10

Delrick Abrams: 6

Tyler Hall: 5

LaRoy Reynolds: 2

Edmond Robinson: 2

The defense turned in a dominant first half performance and collapsed in the second half. Over and over again when the defense does falter in 2020, it’s due to the pass rush slackening and the secondary being exposed, and this game was not an exception.

The injury to Isaiah Oliver helped lead to a miscommunication that left undrafted rookie Tyler Hall on Antonio Brown, which was an easy touchdown for Tampa Bay. In general, Brady had plenty of time with Fowler once again turning in a quiet game and no heroics this time from the likes of Means and Tuioti-Mariner, plus Jarrett playing a little shy of his own impossibly high standards. This team should prioritize keeping guys like Means and JTM around, given their value, but they also desperately need to acquire capable pass rushers in 2021 to get this defense rolling. It doesn’t look likely that Fowler is going to be one of those players, unfortunately, and after a strong start to the year, neither is Charles Harris, who continues to see diminishing snap counts.

The secondary was the secondary. I thought Neasman played pretty well again but that Terrell had a harder time in a tough matchup, Sheffield scuffled, and Oluokun and Jones had their coverage mishaps as well. The Buccaneers offense is good enough that their explosion of points was not a surprise, but Atlanta’s dominance early and collapse in the second half was both sad and familiar. Locking in a defense that can sustain dominance over four quarters consistently will be a task for the next regime.

As good as the Falcons have been on defense at times, I’m not sure any amount of shuffling of personnel would’ve made a difference in the outcome of this one. I’m afraid the same will be true the next two weeks, as well.

Special Teams

LaRoy Reynolds: 21

Edmond Robinson: 21

Tyler Hall: 19

Keith Smith: 18

Sharrod Neasman: 17

Luke Stocker: 17

Jaylinn Hawkins: 17

Brian Hill: 16

Jaeden Graham: 14

Mykal Walker: 13

Brandon Powell: 11

Younghoe Koo: 11

Sterling Hofrichter: 11

Josh Harris: 11

Kendall Sheffield: 10

Steven Means: 10

John Cominsky: 10

Laquon Treadwell: 9

Tyeler Davison: 8

Charles Harris: 8

Christian Blake: 7

Foye Oluokun: 7

A.J. Terrell: 7

Deion Jones: 7

Jake Matthews: 5

Chris Lindstrom: 5

Matt Gono: 5

Justin McCray: 5

Allen Bailey: 5

Deadrin Senat: 5

Matt Hennessy: 3

James Carpenter: 2

Kaleb McGary: 2

Grady Jarrett: 2

Keanu Neal: 2

Dante Fowler Jr: 2

Delrick Abrams: 1

Younghoe Koo is great. Sterling Hofrichter looks good. The Falcons coverage team is back to being solid if unspectacular. Special teams is perfectly ordinary, at least in terms of what they’ve done on balance this year, and I’m fine with that.