The Falcons may have lost yesterday, but their performance was ... unexpected. How do we square a game like that with the Falcons’ 4-11 record? The Chiefs are the defending NFL Champions and will go into the playoffs as the AFC’s top seed. And the Falcons almost beat them. Clearly the Falcons are better than their record would suggest, but knowing that isn’t much of a consolation prize after a cringeworthy season.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst performances from Week 16.
3 Falcons Up
Foye’s 52-yard interception return was equal parts thrilling and predictable, given the outstanding season he’s had. Sure, he let Tyreek Hill punch the ball out, but no harm no foul. Foye is an outstanding football player and will help anchor this defense for years to come.
Ridley turned in his 4th straight 100 yard game yesterday, racking up 130 receiving yards. He caught 5 balls (9 targets), including a 54-yard reception. Ridley leads the league in 100 yard games this season (8), which apparently doesn’t mean much to Pro Bowl voters.
Since his first NFL pass (a 62-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins), Ryan’s status as the franchise quarterback has never been seriously questioned. With the Falcons set to pick as high as third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, the front office and a robust faction within the fan base has begun looking towards the future. With that backdrop, Ryan turned in an efficient performance yesterday, completing 27 of his 35 passes (including 2 touchdown passes) and racking up 300 passing yards. He did that in spite of a lackluster performance by his depleted offensive line. Kudos, Matty.
3 Falcons Down
“Bad effort.” That’s the name of the next chapter in the Dante Fowler saga. Fowler appeared lackadaisical for much of the game yesterday, jogging lazily and generally having little to no impact on the game. As Thomas Dimitroff’s bad free agency signings go, this may wind up being one of if not the worst.
Without James Carpenter and Alex Mack, the offensive line managed to give up 4 sacks yesterday. Chiefs DT Chris Jones had a dominant performance, manhandling his competition.
The Falcons’ Pro Bowl kicker has had a remarkable season, but yesterday wasn’t his day. He shanked a 39-yard attempt that likely would’ve sent the game to overtime. That was just his second missed field goal all year and his first missed field goal attempt since Week 3.
To be sure, there were a number of other fantastic performances yesterday. From Ito Smith and Brian Hill’s efficient running to A.J. Terrell’s near interception of Pat Mahomes in the end zone, there’s reason to be excited about what this team can do under the guidance and supervision of a new general manager and revamped coaching staff.
Your thoughts, Falcoholics?