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Falcons snap counts and notes from a win against Seattle

Atlanta leaned heavily on its best and brightest on defense, and it paid off in the end.

Atlanta Falcons v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It’s nice to look back on Sunday fondly instead of to wonder what might have been. Atlanta’s first win of the season is in the books, and hopefully it’s the first of many.

Who was instrumental to the win against the Seahawks, and how did this coaching staff divvy up playing time, especially after a Week 2 effort where there were many surprises on defense? Let’s take a look.


Marcus Mariota: 57

Jake Matthews: 57

Colby Gossett: 57

Drew Dalman: 57

Chris Lindstrom: 57

Kaleb McGary: 57

Drake London: 48

Parker Hesse: 43

Olamide Zaccheaus: 38

Kyle Pitts: 38

Cordarrelle Patterson: 35

Keith Smith: 23

Tyler Allgeier: 21

KhaDarel Hodge: 11

Anthony Firkser: 9

Frank Darby: 7

Jared Bernhardt: 7

Avery Williams: 4

Feleipe Franks: 1

With Bryan Edwards surprisingly inactive, I thought we might see more of Hodge and a healthy dose of Darby and maybe Bernhardt. We did see a little bit of the latter two—neither were targeted, but perhaps a sign of things to come—but Hodge actually saw less snaps than a week ago as the Falcons continued to heavily utilize two tight ends. Hesse even out-snapped Pitts in this one, a credit to his important as a blocker.

Even if/when Edwards is active again, it’s clear that Zaccheaus is operating as the team’s second receiver, and all that summer talk of the coaching staff’s belief in him is showing up on the field. He’s third on the team in targets, receptions, and yards, is playing the lion’s share of snaps every week, and is likely headed for a solid payday in the offseason with Atlanta.

The fumbled handoff between Mariota and Allgeier was unfortunate, but Allgeier continues to look solid and is the unquestioned second running back with Damien Williams on the shelf. If he can play well over the next two weeks, he ought to hold on to a role even when Williams returns.

Finally, Gossett played pretty well again in fill-in duty, this time for Elijah Wilkinson. The Falcons can feel pretty good about having a capable stopgap starter at guard available when they need one, but hopefully Wilkinson’s back for a tough matchup against Cleveland coming up.


Richie Grant: 71

Jaylinn Hawkins: 71

A.J. Terrell: 71

Rashaan Evans: 71

Mykal Walker: 71

Casey Hayward: 71

Grady Jarrett: 60

Lorenzo Carter: 58

Arnold Ebiketie: 43

Ta’Quon Graham: 37

Adetokunbo Ogundeji: 34

Mike Ford: 20

Troy Andersen: 19

Anthony Rush: 18

Abdullah Anderson: 17

Dee Alford: 16

DeAngelo Malone: 13

Timothy Horne: 13

Nate Landman: 7

After a week of heavy rotation that saw Erik Harris and Dean Marlowe getting significant time in the secondary and Darren Hall mixing in in relief of A.J. Terrell, none of those players received a single defensive snap in Week 3. Terrell, Hayward, Grant, and Hawkins all played every single snap, as did Walker and Evans. The team also relied heavily on Jarrett, Carter, and Ebiketie, and on a day where the Falcons were just trying to hang on in the face of an effective Seattle offense, having your best guys on the field just makes sense.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t interesting wrinkles. As Tori McElhaney with the Falcons noted, Atlanta came out with five linebackers on the field early on, giving Troy Andersen time with the starters. He received his longest look of the young season, and it’s clear the Falcons are going to try to find a way to get the hyper-athletic linebacker on the field as much as possible, even if the results will be a little uneven for a bit.

Otherwise, the pecking order is pretty well-established, at least until the next time Dean Pees throws a curveball based on what he believes this team needs in a given game. Abdullah Anderson is ahead of Matt Dickerson, who has been inactive, and Timothy Horne is still viewed as a key reserve in the early going. Mike Ford and Dee Alford are still splitting time with Ford getting more looks overall, and Ebiketie is out-snapping Ogundeji in the early going, with Malone mixing in occasionally. The consistent results aren’t there just yet, but it’s striking how young this defense is, and you have to think that improvement is coming.

Also, all three of Atlanta’s 2022 undrafted free agents got at least a handful of snaps Sunday, which is kind of cool.

Special teams

Mike Ford: 20

Troy Andersen: 20

Avery Williams: 20

Dean Marlowe: 20

Erik Harris: 20

Keith Smith: 15

DeAngelo Malone: 13

Nate Landman: 12

Parker Hesse: 12

KhaDarel Hodge: 12

Bradley Pinion: 12

Richie Grant: 7

Adetokunbo Ogundeji: 6

Cordarrelle Patterson: 6

Tyler Allgeier: 6

Liam McCullough: 6

Ta’Quon Graham: 5

Abdullah Anderson: 5

Timothy Horne: 5

Kaleb McGary: 5

Jake Matthews: 5

Colby Gossett: 5

Chris Lindstrom: 5

Chuma Edoga: 5

Younghoe Koo: 5

Germain Ifedi: 5

Matt Hennessy: 5

Darren Hall: 5

Dee Alford: 3

Lorenzo Carter: 2

Feleipe Franks: 2

Jaylinn Hawkins: 1

There are no great surprises here, as we more or less know who the Falcons plan to lean on in 2022 so long as everyone stays healthy. This continues to be an effective unit even if they didn’t have the nearly game-altering big play they had last week when Troy Andersen blocked a punt and Lorenzo Carter returned it for a touchdown, as Pinion was effective on his sole punt, the coverage teams kept DeeJay Dallas from popping off any huge returns (though he did manage a 30 yarder), and Koo was his usual terrific self. It’s nice to have reliability on special teams when you’re still getting that figured out elsewhere.