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Falcons vs. Lions: Hat tips & head-scratchers

That one stung.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Falcons played a real ugly game on Sunday, falling 20-6 to the Lions on the road. It was Atlanta’s first away contest, and facing a team missing a handful of key components, it seemed a winnable contest on paper. The Falcons dispelled that notion rather quickly, failing to generate any semblance of an offense and allowing Detroit to manhandle them along the line of scrimmage.

Read on for Hat tips & head-scratchers from Week 3 against Detroit.

Hat tips

Jessie Bates III snares third interception

Jessie Bates III already has three interceptions on the season, this one coming at the most opportune time. Atlanta down 13-3 in the third quarter, Bates snagged an errant Jared Goff pass to put the Falcons in position to score. Bates was the Falcons’ marquee offseason addition, and so far he’s lived up to the hefty contract that he signed.


Wide open

Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta could have read Infinite Jest in the time it would have taken for any defender to tackle him prior to his second-quarter touchdown. Safety Richie Grant completely lost track of LaPorta, allowing quarterback Jared Goff to heave the ball downfield for a walk-in 45-yard touchdown. That play was a veritable warning sign for how things would go for the Falcons for the remainder of the afternoon in Detroit.

Goff dissects Atlanta

Atlanta had absolutely no answer for quarterback Jared Goff. The pass rush was virtually nonexistent for the bulk of the contest, providing Goff eons to pick and deliver his shots. The Falcons were dismantled by Detroit’s play-action usage in the first-half, where Goff completed 16 of 22 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. Brutal.

Pass protection

The pass protection in this game was atrocious, full stop. The Falcons surrendered seven sacks to the Lions, a team that had only tallied one sack so far in the season. Kaleb McGary was particularly poor in pass pro, and his ineffectiveness was compounded by quarterback Desmond Ridder’s hesitance in the pocket.

Atlanta has to work to clean up its pass-blocking immediately if they hope to be more than a one-dimensional ground attack team. Ridder clearly isn’t comfortable, and teams will begin to sell out against the run until he can prove he has the time and ability to move the ball downfield.