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Falcons vs. Football Team: Hat tips & head-scratchers

Yikes.

NFL: Washington Football Team at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Facebook crashed yesterday, and coincidentally so did my desire to watch this team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s an enduring feature as a fan of the Falcons — good thing we all get to wake up early on Sunday!

Your hat tips and head-scratchers from a dreadful loss against Football Team.

Hat tips

Grady Jarrett gets the stop

Another week and another hat tip to Grady Jarrett. Far-and-away the most talented member of this defense, Jarrett displayed once again why he’s one of the best at his position in the league during Football Team’s second drive.

With Washington going for it on 4th & 1 from its own 36-yard-line, Jarrett flashed his first-step quickness to get penetration and wrap up Washington running back Antonio Gibson to stop the fourth down conversion attempt.

Matt Ryan tosses the touchdown to Cordarrelle Patterson

This was some backyard football stuff, with Kyle Pitts showing his intrinsic value as a decoy. The entire Washington secondary converged on Pitts on a mid-field crossing route, leaving Cordarrelle Patterson without a defender within 15 yards for an easy 42-yard pitch-and-catch from Ryan for Atlanta’s first touchdown of the game.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Just in general. What a signing this man proved to be through four games. He recorded three receiving touchdowns on the day, including one where he juked safety Landon Collins out of his spikes prior to halftime.

Not much has gone right for this new regime, but seeing Patterson’s untapped potential and utilizing him in both the air and ground game is one of them. MVP through the first four.

Head-scratchers

Calvin Ridley’s hands

Falcoholic EIC Dave Choate described the wide receivers’ performance in this one as ‘having hands wrapped in ectoplasmic butter,’ and I can’t think of a more deft description of the supernatural suckery that we saw from Atlanta’s receiving corps on Sunday.

It was bad, and the bulk of that falls on newly-minted-top-wideout Calvin Ridley. Ridley had multiple drops on the day, but the one that loomed largest was his drop on a catchable ball over the middle in the third quarter. With defenders converging on the deep pass from Matt Ryan, Ridley was unable to complete the reception. It hit him right in the hands, but he could not secure the football.

The Falcons were forced to settle for three points on the drive.

Calvin Ridley does a lot of things right, but he also does plenty of things wrong — particularly in the open field where contact is imminent. He seemed skittish on multiple plays, and it’s not the first time this season that he’s allowed the threat of getting hit to affect his in-play decisions or broken his concentration.

He has to get better in traffic.

The Kickoff Return

You don’t see 101 yard kickoff returns too often in NFL football, but the Atlanta Falcons special teams unit was happy to oblige your viewing (dis)pleasure to start the second half on Sunday. A missed tackle by rookie Richie Grant allowed Football Team returner Deandre to weave through traffic and take the kick to the house.

Grant didn’t see any defensive snaps in this game, and perhaps he’s riding pine because of plays like that.

REFS

I always hesitate to include the zebras here because it’s easy to quibble with the officials’ decisions from the couch and feels a bit like a cop-out — but this was not good. They missed a blatant defensive pass interference call on Calvin Ridley earlier in the game, but the non-call that impacted this one most not flagging Da’Ron Payne for delay of game on Atlanta’s final drive.

Payne took his sweet time getting up off the field after tackling Matt Ryan after he rushed for 17 yards to move the chains. That burned precious seconds off of the clock and left the Falcons with only a hail mary as an option.

If Payne is flagged for that blatant attempt to burn time, Atlanta at least has a couple of shots at the end zone.