The Falcons’ tailspin continued on Sunday, blowing a 23-22 lead against the Cardinals in the final seconds. The passing game was inept, the secondary was eviscerated by tight end Trey McBride, and Atlanta slinks into the bye at 4-6.
Here’s Hat tips & head-scratchers from Atlanta’s loss to Arizona.
Running back Bijan Robinson was finally a focal point in Atlanta’s offense after seemingly disappearing over the last few weeks. His usage (or lack thereof) was one of the large narratives heading into Atlanta’s tilt against Arizona, and it appears Arthur Smith received the message.
Robinson carried the football 22 times, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown. He also added an 11-yard reception.
The Falcons are mired in a three-game losing streak heading into the bye, and if they have any hope of righting the ship, Bijan Robinson needs to be heavily involved.
Linebacker Nate Landman was forced into starting duties when Troy Andersen went down, and he’s certainly stepped up in the role. On Sunday he snared an interception and tallied a sack, showing the value he brings to a beleaguered Atlanta defense. Hat tip to you, good sir.
Atrocious. Arizona is susceptible in the passing game, yet quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder could only muster a combined 94 yards in the air. That is untenable going the rest of the way, as the Falcons again find themselves in the quandary of being entirely one-dimensional on offense — and that’s when the ground game is actually working.
Safety Richie Grant was manhandled by tight end Trey McBride all game long, making mistakes in coverage and failing to secure tackles. McBride finished the afternoon with a career-high 131 receiving yards, the most consequential of which came when Grant allowed him to secure a 30-yard pass to set up the game-winning field goal.
Grant is maddeningly inconsistent on defense. He’ll string together a series of positive plays only to seemingly forget how to cover NFL receivers. He can still be a meaningful contributor to this team, but at this point, he has not lived up to his second-round draft position.