Playing in the rain against Washington, the Falcons had a mostly forgettable day. They scored just one touchdown and 13 points total, holding the Commanders to 19 points but allowing them to effectively hold the ball for three quarters.
How did the rookies fare in that mess? Unfortunately, injury hit one of the team’s most promising young players, but others did have an impact, if not an outsized one. Let’s talk about it.
WR Drake London: Quiet day again
We figured the Falcons would turn to Drake London more with Kyle Pitts out of the lineup. We were...not correct.
London had just four targets on Sunday, reeling in two for 29 yards and dropping an eminently catchable ball along the way. Instead, all those targets went to Olamide Zaccheaus, who had eight throws directed his way for five catches and 90 yards. London was the team’s second-leading receiver in terms of yardage and third in terms of receptions on yet another quiet day for the passing game, but the fact that he had 214 yards in his first three games and has 224 in the nine games since then is truly staggering.
London will continue to get red zone targets when the Falcons get there and will be in the mix, but this passing attack puts a very hard cap on his upside. Good thing he blocks well.
OLB Arnold Ebiketie: Exits game with injury
Ebiketie looked as active and disruptive as ever...but he only got to play a total of nine snaps before exiting the game with an injury. Without him, the pass rush was essentially whatever Grady Jarrett could muster.
The Falcons have to hope Ebiketie will return Sunday against the Steelers, because they really need him to get after Kenny Pickett. The rookie pass rusher has a very bright future, either way.
ILB Troy Andersen: Plays quite a bit Sunday
Andersen cut into Walker’s playing time on Sunday, but Walker had a terrific day, so it worked out for everyone. He came up with a run stop, four tackles, and was quietly one of the team’s few effective defenders against Washington’s rush hour attack. He’ll be starting in 2023, so all this experience is helpful.
QB Desmond Ridder: Parked like a car buried under six feet of snow
The Falcons are still nominally in the playoff race and have vowed to stick with Marcus Mariota as long as that’s the case, so no Ridder until at least after the bye week.
OLB DeAngelo Malone: Gets more work with Ebiketie out
Malone saw a bit of an uptick in his snaps and continued to look solid in his opportunities, with a tackle, a joint pressure with Grady Jarrett, and a nifty bit of work in coverage as part of his Sunday. If Ebiketie has to miss any time, Malone is likely to get quite a bit of work again, and he’s plenty capable of being a factor against the Steelers.
RB Tyler Allgeier: Platooning with Patterson and efficient
This is basically the same note as last time. Once again, Allgeier and Patterson received the same number of carries, with Allgeier picking up a couple more yards. Both backs ran hard, plowed through contact, and had explosive runs, and Allgeier continues a very impressive rookie season that has seen him lead the team in rushing yardage.
DL Timothy Horne: A major part of the defensive line rotation
I feel like this is the same note weekly, too. Horne continues to play quite often, and while the line is scuffling a bit on a play-to-play basis, he did have one big stop in this one and continues to be a solid run-stopping piece for this Falcons defense. With the Steelers on deck, he should get plenty of run again.
LB Nate Landman: Inactive Sunday
Landman will continue to sit so long as Nick Kwiatkoski is active and playing a lot on special teams, and even if he isn’t, the team seemed to be sniffing around veteran Will Compton. He’ll have a better shot of hanging on as a deep reserve who actually plays more frequently in 2023, assuming the team doesn’t make major additions to the inside linebacker group.
WR Jared Bernhardt: Still on injured reserve
Same note as last week: We don’t know if Bernhardt will return this year or not, but suffice to say he’ll have a larger impact in 2023 than he has this year if all goes well.