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Falcons vs. Saints: Hat tips & head-scratchers

A predominantly lifeless offensive display against the Saints.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A comeback attempt was thwarted as the Falcons came up short against the Saints, a contest where their offense again looked lost and listless for long stretches of the game. Hat tips & head-scratchers from Sunday’s loss, if you can stomach ‘em.

Hat tips

Ridley gets the better of Lattimore

Calvin Ridley’s ability to run routes definitely stands out relative to this third-year status. Each game we’re usually treated to at least one play that shows how deadly Ridley can be with his feet, and he made his mark in the second quarter against New Orleans corner Marshon Lattimore. Running down the sideline, Ridley pumped the brakes a bit to create some space and then lay out and extend his arms for the catch.

Gage makes up for it

Russell Gage had a critical drop in the first quarter, but he made up for it in the fourth quarter. On the crucial drive with the Falcons down 21-9, Gage made two clutch catches to keep the offense moving, culminating with his touchdown reception to put the Falcons in striking distance of the comeback.

Oliver breaks it up

Falcons corner/sometimes safety Isaiah Oliver made a key play late in the fourth quarter, breaking up a pass intended for Saints running back Alvin Kamara. Oliver used his lauded closing speed PBU late fourth quarter. Closing speed to break up the deep pass, one that seemed destined for a touchdown had he not been there to prevent the reception.


Head-scratchers

Butterfingers on both sides

The drops again reared their ugly head on Sunday, this time on both sides of the ball. Ricardo Allen missed a clear interception opportunity in the first quarter, and while it would have been rendered moot by a sketchy roughing the passer call, it was another instance of lack of execution when needed most.

A.J. Terrell would fail to secure a pick later in the game when he jumped a route and looked like he had snagged six points for Atlanta — except he didn’t make the catch.

Russell Gage’s drop loomed large early on, as he couldn’t get the handle on a pass that would have converted a first down. He’d make up for it in the fourth quarter, but it was a critical moment where the Falcons could respond after the Saints scored their first touchdown of the game.

Tre’Quan Smith in his own area code

The Saints’ first touchdown on the day was a disasterpiece for the Falcons. There was clear missed communication in the secondary as nobody bothered to pick up wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith, leaving him wide open in the end zone. Embarrassing.

DIIIIIIIIIIRK

Enough already. Dirk Koetter quite possibly called the worst game of his Falcons career Sunday against the Saints, one that included routes short of the sticks when down 21-9 in the third quarter.

On Atlanta’s second to last offensive drive he would burn two downs in the red zone on awful run plays, one that featured Todd Gurley deciding to dart backwards for a loss of seven yards. I rack my brain every Sunday trying to understand why Koetter still holds the reins of the Falcons’ offense.