Desmond Ridder’s first career start left much to be desired, but defensive miscues and a key turnover told the story of the loss to the Saints.
Read on for hat tips & head-scratchers from Sunday against the Saints.
Tyler Allgeier’s coming out party
Rookie running back Tyler Allgeier has been a force out of the backfield all season, and he had his best game as a professional against the Saints. Allgeier cruised to 139 yards on the ground and a touchdown and was reliable in both long and short-yardage situations.
Tyler Allgeier has shown that he can be a workhorse back when utilized, and with his unique combination of power and shiftiness, he figures to be an integral component of Atlanta’s offense for the remainder of the season and beyond.
Saints start hot
The Saints’ opening drive was an ill-omen for what would turn into a very long day for the Atlanta defense. Andy Dalton ginsu’d the Falcons' secondary, throwing for 67 yards and a touchdown. The drive was defined by blown coverages and missed tackles, which has been the story for the defense for much of the season.
Sophomore safety Richie Grant has not had a very good stretch after starting the season on a promising note. His recent run of subpar play was punctuated by his blown coverage on the Saints’ second drive, where he pushed his chips to the table on a leaping pass breakup attempt on a long ball from Taysom Hill to Rashid Shaheed.
Instead of realizing that he wasn’t positioned to make a high-percentage play on the ball and setting up for a tackle, Grant dove to swat the football, which did not work.
Shaheed hauled in the pass from tight end/running back/quarterback guy/Falcons killer Taysom Hill, and Atlanta was quickly down 14-0.
Spatial awareness and decision-making skills are imperative qualities in top-notch free safeties. On this play, the second-round pick displayed neither.
London loses it
Drake London has had a solid rookie season, but sullying his first year are the two fumbles that have cost Atlanta football games. After a clutch fourth-down conversion connection with Desmond Ridder, London failed to secure the ball while fighting for additional yards and allowed the Saints' defense to knock it out.
With the reception, the Falcons were well within kicker Younghoe Koo’s range to tie the football game. You obviously want your playmakers to continue to fight for yardage, but in any circumstance — and especially that one — they have to protect the football.