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Falcons snap counts from a gritty win against the Bears

The backfield split, the injury picture, and a big day for special teams are worth discussing.

Chicago Bears v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

In today’s snap counts, we discuss what injuries to Kyle Pitts and Ta’Quon Graham might mean, how the backfield is shaking out with Cordarrelle Patterson all the way back, and some praise for special teams. Let’s get to it.


Marcus Mariota: 55

Jake Matthews: 55

Chuma Edoga: 55

Drew Dalman: 55

Chris Lindstrom: 55

Kaleb McGary: 55

Olamide Zaccheaus: 42

Drake London: 42

Parker Hesse: 37

MyCole Pruitt: 31

Tyler Allgeier: 30

Cordarrelle Patterson: 27

Kyle Pitts: 24

Damiere Byrd: 19

Keith Smith: 12

KhaDarel Hodge: 6

Frank Darby: 3

Caleb Huntley: 2

Kyle Pitts’ injury was a bummer, and we have to hope he’s okay. If he has to miss time, the Falcons will likely roll on with Hesse, Pruitt, and Feleipe Franks if and when he’s healthy. That’s a major downgrade in the pass catching department—however wonky that Marcus Mariota-to-Pitts connection has been, he’s the team’s biggest receiving threat—but Atlanta will likely just lean more heavily on London, Zaccheaus, Byrd, and Hodge. This passing game has capped upside even with Pitts in it, owing to personnel, Arthur Smith’s willingness to lean on it, and so forth, but obviously it’s not ideal to have to tackle solid Washington and Pittsburgh defenses without him.

The biggest surprise, bar none, was Chuma Edoga. The Falcons have now tried Elijah Wilkinson, Colby Gossett, Matt Hennessy, and Edoga out at left guard, and it seemed like Edoga largely held his own out there on Sunday minus a couple of rough reps in pass protection and a penalty. With Jalen Mayfield potentially returning and Wilkinson also eligible to come back in a bit, I genuinely have no idea what the Falcons are going to do at the position in the short term, but they seem comfortable having a bit of a revolving door while they figure that out.

Finally, this is becoming a bit of a two-man backfield. Since his big game against Carolina in Week 8, Huntley’s carries and snaps have been steadily falling, and he played just two snaps on Sunday. He did manage a catch and carry on those two snaps, however. With Allgeier and Patterson moving into a near even split for playing time and both faring well, Huntley may fade into the background down the stretch, but if so he’ll be damn fine insurance for injury.


Richie Grant: 69

Jaylinn Hawkins: 69

Rashaan Evans: 69

A.J. Terrell: 69

Darren Hall: 69

Lorenzo Carter: 53

Mykal Walker: 51

Grady Jarrett: 50

Arnold Ebiketie: 36

Jalen Dalton: 34

Abdullah Anderson: 30

Adetokunbo Ogundeji: 30

Isaiah Oliver: 28

Timothy Horne: 27

Troy Andersn: 24

Ta’Quon Graham: 20

DeAngelo Malone: 19

Dee Alford: 12

No surprises here, but there’s a long-term concern to discuss.

Until (or if) Casey Hayward returns, Darren Hall is going to start. He’s had a lot of ups and downs in that role and probably isn’t playing himself into a long-term starting role, but he’s clearly ahead of Dee Alford and Mike Ford, Rashad Fenton was inactive, and Isaiah Oliver is still primarily manning the nickel. The Falcons will roll with Hall and hope he improves with more playing time, but I’m still a believer in the talent.

The long-term concern is what happens to this line if Graham misses time. He left the game on a cart, which is a very bad sign, and as the team’s most promising young defensive lineman his absence would leave a vacuum for this team. Jarrett is stellar and continuing to do his usual borderline elite work, but the rest of the line is a patchwork mix of solid guys auditioning for longer-term roles. Anderson was good on Sunday, Dalton has been solid, and Horne has shown flashes, but stretching those three (and Matt Dickerson, who was inactive Sunday) out to fill the gap left by an injured Graham is likely to leave this team’s line play looking shakier. With a solid Washington offense on deck and Najee Harris looming, that’s something I’m worried about.

The only other note? Andersen stole quite a few snaps from Walker this week, a trend to keep an eye on going forward.

Special Teams

Erik Harris: 22

Nick Kwiatkoski: 22

Mike Ford: 22

Avery Williams: 19

Troy Andesen: 17

KhaDarel Hodge: 16

DeAngelo Malone: 14

Frank Darby: 14

Parker Hesse: 13

Keith Smith: 13

Bradley Pinion: 13

Richie Grant: 11

MyCole Pruitt: 10

Cornell Armstrong: 9

Liam McCullough: 8

Jalen Dalton: 6

Isaiah Oliver: 6

Abdullah Anderson: 5

Adeotkunbo Ogundeji: 5

Timothy Horne: 5

Kaleb McGary: 5

Jake Matthews: 5

Chris Lindstrom: 5

Cordarrelle Patterson: 5

Ryan Neuzil: 5

Colby Gossett: 5

Younghoe Koo: 5

Germain Ifedi: 5

Jaylinn Hawkins: 2

Ta’Quon Graham: 2

Tyler Allgeier: 2

Grady Jarrett: 1

I want to give a huge shoutout to Mike Ford, Troy Andersen, and the rest of the gang who blocked effectively on Patterson’s huge return. It was Patterson’s big cut and breakaway speed that ultimately turned a nice return into a touchdown, but he doesn’t quite get there without Ford paving the way at the end, Andersen throwing himself into annoying multiple Bears, and an overall strong effort from a group that has quietly done a nice job paving the way for Patterson and Avery Williams all year.

Shoutout, of course, to Patterson as well for continuing to be one of the great returners in NFL history.