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Snap counts from an ugly Falcons loss to the Bears

Ouch.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons got smoked by the Chicago Bears, even if they’d like to say it was a more competitive effort than the score indicated. How did that happen?

The snap counts don’t tell the tale the way the on-the-field product did, but it still might be helpful to understand who played. Let’s break down our second-to-last snap counts article of the season.

Offense

Matthew Bergeron: 59

Kaleb McGary: 59

Jake Matthews: 57

Chris Lindstrom: 57

Taylor Heinicke: 52

Drake London: 49

Drew Dalman: 48

Jonnu Smith: 46

Bijan Robinson: 45

Kyle Pitts: 43

Van Jefferson: 24

KhaDarel Hodge: 17

MyCole Pruitt: 14

Ryan Neuzil: 13

Tyler Allgeier: 11

Tucker Fisk: 10

Scotty Miller: 8

Cordarrelle Patterson: 8

Desmond Ridder: 8

Storm Norton: 2

Kyle Hinton: 2


This game was a mess. The Falcons utilized two tight ends pretty frequently, with Jonnu Smith and Kyle Pitts combining for 89 snaps, but the duo managed just one catch on nine targets for a total of five yards. Taylor Heinicke was inaccurate and struggled, but neither tight end played spectacularly even so, and the team funneling targets through the pair did not lead to any kind of real success. The Falcons had far more luck passing to Drake London and Van Jefferson (7 catches for 75 yards on 15 targets), but Jefferson barely played. The story of the game in so many ways is that a gameplan seemingly designed to get the ball out of Heinicke’s hands quickly did not lead to much success, and unfortunately the Falcons got Heinicke’s worst passing game of the season at a bad time.

Robinson continues to dominate carries and snaps, with Allgeier and Patterson picking up the scraps. The one thing you do know if Allgeier is in the game is that he is going to touch the ball; he had six touches on 11 snaps, including that huge 70-plus yard touchdown on a screen pass. The team will have to figure out how they want to divvy up snaps for Robinson and Allgeier in 2024, but I’d expect it to still lean heavily in the direction of Robinson going forward given his playmaking ability and the team’s investment in him.

The team did get Kaleb McGary back, and the importance of having the whole line did show up against the top Bears run defense, even if it was hardly the most impressive performance of the year for Atlanta. They gave Heinicke room to run and allowed Robinson to have a quality day in spite of the matchup, and if the entire line is healthy against New Orleans, it greatly increases the team’s chances of winning.

I’d also like to give an appreciative nod to Bergeron, who in spite of all the chaos and some ups-and-downs in his play, has managed to play every single snap of the 2023 season. He’s going to be a good one.

Defense

Clark Phillips: 74

A.J. Terrell: 74

Kaden Elliss: 74

Jessie Bates: 74

Nate Landman: 60

DeMarcco Hellams: 53

David Onyemata: 49

Calais Campbell: 48

Bud Dupree: 47

Mike Hughes: 36

Albert Huggins: 35

LaCale London: 33

Ta’Quon Graham: 32

Richie Grant: 31

Arnold Ebiketie: 29

Zach Harrison: 28

Lorenzo Carter: 27

Dee Alford: 10


Handed short fields thanks to repeated turnovers or working against the Bears pinned deep, this defense faltered. They got pushed around a lot up front, especially as the game wore on, and thus it was also a tough performance on the ground.

There were no standout changes to explain any of that, as the Falcons divvied up snaps pretty normally up front. This team just struggled to do what they’ve done so well other times of the year. The biggest notes on defense were that Alford stepped in for an injured Hughes late and did pretty well, that Grant received more playing time this week after finding himself more or less parked the previous two weeks.

I wish I could point the finger at a personnel change, because that would be clean and easy. Instead, this was a rough game from nearly everyone on defense at some point on Sunday, which led to a shellacking at the hands of the Bears.

Special teams

Micah Abernathy: 27

Andre Smith Jr.: 27

DeAngelo Malone: 27

Tre Flowers: 24

Richie Grant: 19

KhaDarel Hodge: 19

Mack Hollins: 19

Tucker Fisk: 19

Dee Alford: 16

Calais Campbell: 13

Bradley Pinion: 12

Nate Landman: 8

David Onyemata: 8

Ta’Quon Graham: 8

MyCole Pruitt: 8

Tyler Allgeier: 8

Scotty Miller: 8

Cordarrelle Patterson: 8

Liam McCullough: 8

DeMarcco Hellams: 7

Lorenzo Carter: 7

Albert Huggins: 6

Zach Harrison: 5

Matthew Bergeron: 5

Jake Matthews: 5

Chris Lindstrom: 5

Kaleb McGary: 5

Ryan Neuzil: 5

Storm Norton: 5

Kyle Hinton: 5

Younghoe Koo: 5

LaCale London: 1