After a scorching hot start to the 2022 season, Drake London’s production fell off a bit on Sunday, but Arnold Ebiketie and Tyler Allgeier were red hot against the Browns. As has been the case every week thus far, Atlanta’s rookies proved instrumental to the outcome.
Let’s take a look at this week’s rookie report.
WR Drake London: Quiet week against Browns
Once again, London was targeted a team-high number of times, with Marcus Mariota attempting to find him seven times. Unlike in past weeks, however, London did not have a big day with all those targets, reeling in just two catches for 17 yards.
This was a mix of Mariota’s accuracy issues and London not making plays, and the most costly potential connection was the one Denzel Ward stole from London. The team’s leading receiver will bounce back soon enough, but if Kyle Pitts can’t go or is limited, he’ll likely be one of the focal points for Tampa Bay’s tough defense on Sunday.
OLB Arnold Ebiketie: Ratcheting up the pressure
Ebiketie led all defenders on the Browns and Falcons in terms of quarterback hits on Sunday, drilling Jacoby Brissett three separate times. He didn’t have a sack on the day, but he’s getting awfully close and is impacting the quarterback more effectively and consistently with each passing week, making it clear that Ebiketie will be one of this team’s best pass rushers going forward. He gets to go after an increasingly lead-footed Tom Brady on Sunday, too.
ILB Troy Andersen: Steady role on defense, core special teamer
He continues to see 10 or so snaps on defense on a weekly basis, and while there are misadventures, Andersen is beginning to look more comfortable and consistent out there, particularly as a tackler. We’ll see if his role grows as the season goes on.
On special teams, he’s an essential cog, tying for the team lead in snaps again and providing speed and savvy for kick and punt coverage.
QB Desmond Ridder: No snaps Sunday
We’re probably getting a little closer to Ridder getting into game action, but he’s not going to step out there unless Mariota’s hurt, Mariota’s struggling mightily, or the Falcons are in the midst of an absolute blowout.
OLB DeAngelo Malone: Active as a reserve
Again playing limited snaps, Malone continues to make plays, sniffing out a handoff to David Njoku and bringing him down for a loss. There’s a ton of promise here, even if a major role may not be on the way until 2023.
RB Tyler Allgeier: Atlanta’s leading rusher Sunday
This was Allgeier’s breakout game. The rookie back joined Caleb Huntley in bludgeoning the Browns, picking up over 100 combined yards (20 on one reception, 84 on 10 carries) and impressing with his power and straight line speed. With Cordarrelle Patterson on the shelf for a few weeks, Allgeier goes into Sunday’s matchup against the Buccaneers as Atlanta’s top back.
DL Timothy Horne: Consistent reserve role
Every week, Horne’s playing between 10-20 snaps as a key reserve along the defensive line, and he’s clearly going to be a fixture in this rotation the rest of the 2022 season. He has a chance to make this a long-term role if he can continue to improve as the season rolls on.
LB Nate Landman: Major special teams role, small role on defense
He picked up a couple of snaps on defense and 11 on special teams. The Falcons clearly like Landman a lot—he’s consistently playing over Nick Kwiatkoski—and he’ll likely stick around on the margins of the roster this year and hope to carve out a more major role in 2023.
WR Jared Bernhardt: No snaps this week
He did not play this week and will only be sporadically active in the early going with the Falcons fairly set with their top five options. As is the case with fellow undrafted free agents Horne and Landman, the Falcons clearly like the former lacrosse star a lot to keep him on the roster in the early going, so he may have a chance to find his way into a consistent reserve role down the line.