Jump to content

Falcons Team Report/Inside Slant


Lowndesfalc
 Share

Recommended Posts

Link to article

 

Atlanta Falcons
INSIDE SLANT

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  Falcons have more lasting power than freefall of '15 version

Quarterback Matt Ryan has the Falcons off to a hot start, just like last season.

Atlanta opened the 2015 season with five consecutive victories and went out to 6-1 before crumbling and finishing 8-8. This year the Falcons are 3-1, lead the NFC South by two games, and have a pair of litmus tests coming up with road games at the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

While Ryan and All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones were unstoppable against the Carolina Panthers (1-3) on Sunday, Ryan was still able to spread the ball around to nine different receivers in all.

Ryan's 130th regular-season start was one for the record books as he guided the streaking Falcons over the Panthers by passing for a franchise-record 503 yards. Ryan also had season highs in touchdowns (four) and passer rating (142.0) - his highest passer rating and completions (28) against Carolina in his career. Ryan and Jones became the first pair of teammates to have 500 passing yards and 300 receiving yards in NFL history in the same game.

"Well, we had good matchups and (coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) did a great job of dialing up plays all day, he stayed aggressive," Ryan said. "But at the end of the day, it comes down to Julio making some plays. I thought he played awesome, was huge for us in critical situations and showed how great of a player he is. That was fun to be a part of that."

Jones turned a simple crossing route into a 75-yard touchdown run after picking up a good block down-the-field from Mohamed Sanu.

"Well, it looked pretty good from where I was standing," Ryan said. "That was a great call, a really aggressive call by Kyle in that situation. But we knew they were going to be downhill against the run game, did a good job with play-action passing, got Julio the ball in space and when he gets the ball in space, he's so explosive. He just finished the run so well and that was impressive to see."

Jones had 12 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown. He's looking forward to playing Denver, and is expected to see Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib for most of the day.

"We are hitting on all cylinders as far as the passing game because we had a great week last week in the run game," Jones said. "Carolina figured they were going to come out here and stop the run game and they tried to do that. They left me one-on-one out there and we made some explosive plays down the field."

Jones, who was coming off a one-catch game and his lowest production over the past 54 games, wasn't expected to be so open against the Panthers.

"Especially against a divisional opponent to play one-on-one," Jones said.

After the hot start last season, teams started to figure out the attack. Defenses were able to take away Devonta Freeman and slow down Julio Jones. The Falcons didn't have enough playmakers to make defenses pay.

"It's been really good for us spreading the ball around and getting a lot of different people involved," Ryan said. "It makes it difficult for a defense when you have that many guys catching passes."

Ryan also recognizes the value of new center Alex Mack.

"Well, Alex is awesome," Ryan said. "He's a great leader, he's a great teammate, a really good competitor. He's great during the week, he prepares as well as anybody I've been around.

"But I think all five of those guys have really played extremely well through the first quarter of the season. An offensive line is all about the chemistry between the guys and being able to work together, specifically within our scheme and I think we've got a good group of five guys that are playing really good ball right now."

 

Notes/Quotes

 

Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon suffered a ruptured right Achilles and is out for the remainder of the season, according to his agent Ryan Williams.

"I feel terrible for him," Williams wrote in an e-mail to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

Weatherspoon couldn't put any pressure on his right leg as he exited the field during the Falcons' 48-33 victory over the Panthers on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Weatherspoon underwent tests to determine the extent of his injury Monday.

The Falcons are already thin at linebacker with De'Vondre Campbell, who suffered an ankle injury in during the closed portion of practice on Sept. 15, and Paul Worrilow (groin surgery) out.

Campbell was told by the team that he would be out 4-6 weeks. But just two weeks after the injury, Campbell was running with trainers last week. Campbell, a fourth-round pick from Minnesota, started the season-opener against Tampa Bay at weak-side linebacker.

Weatherspoon, who has an extensive injury history, was filling in for Campbell.

Weatherspoon's injury was announced as a calf/Achilles injury on his right leg. The team doctor had Weatherspoon lay down on a table as he tried to flex the Achilles on his bent leg.

"I think so," Campbell said when asked if he was close to returning. "It's getting better."

Campbell said he's going to try to play against Denver in Week 5.

"I may have to," he said because of the injuries. "They said I'm healing fast. I may have to come back. We'll see."

Weatherspoon missed the entire 2014 season with a torn Achilles and was injured Sunday in the fourth quarter of a 48-33 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Weatherspoon, 28, also had a Lisfranc foot injury in 2013.

The Falcons brought him back on a one-year, $1 million deal this season after he spent 2015 with the Arizona Cardinals.

Atlanta drafted Weatherspoon in the first round of the 2010 draft. He signed a five-year, $17.5 million deal as a rookie.

Panthers left tackle Mike Remmers was expecting Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney's famous spin move, and that's what he saw - until he didn't.

When Freeney started to spin back inside, Remmers stepped to his right in anticipation. But Freeney spun back to the outside, leaving Remmers flat-footed as Freeney ran free to quarterback Cam Newton and sacked him for an eight-yard loss in the second quarter.

At 36 years old and near the end of what probably will be a Hall of Fame career, Freeney apparently still has some new tricks.

"I've got to keep pulling them out," Freeney said. "The older you get, the more tools you better have. You can't just be athletic and beat everybody. I've got a bunch of them. If I've got to do a cartwheel, I'm going to do a cartwheel. Whatever it takes to get there."

Freeney had his second strong game rushing the passer in as many weeks, and this time he got plenty of help from his teammates.

Freeney had the only sack for the Falcons against the Panthers, but they registered eight quarterback hits and several other pressures. Freeney and Adrian Clayborn had two quarterback hits and four players had one each: Derrick Shelby, Ra'Shede Hageman, Brooks Reed and Vic Beasley.

Falcons cornerback Robert Alford returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown and ended Sunday's game with another interception against the Panthers.

Alford had struggled earlier in the game in coverage. The Falcons got cornerback Jalen Collins back on Monday after he served his four-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.

Collins will get a chance to compete with Alford for the starting right cornerback spot.

"I feel like we went out there, and we did what we were coached," Alford said. "Towards the end, we just have to learn how to finish it. We let them get a little too close towards the end. It is just something that we have to work on and study film."

Alford finished with two tackles and three passes defensed.

"We were pleased to see him come back and battle," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "He has terrific ball skills. With the interception, it would've been OK with us if he took a knee and went down, but we came back."

The Falcons ran the same play and got an even better result from rookie tight end Austin Hooper.

Quarterback Matt Ryan rolled to his right and threw back to the left sideline to Hooper, who was wide open in the Panthers secondary. He caught the ball and easily scored his first career touchdown on the 43-yard play.

Hooper had a 42-yard catch against the Raiders in the previous game on a play that looked similar.

"Same design, same exact play," Hooper said. "The linebackers were being real aggressive, trying to sell out the run, so that's kind of our counter to that. It kind of keeps them honest. (Offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) called it, we executed it, Matt threw the perfect ball and I just caught it and turn around and run."

Hooper said the moment was so "surreal" that he didn't do much celebrating. He handed the ball to a game official before Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo, his former teammate at Stanford, retrieved it.

"Levine is like, 'Don't do that!'" Hooper said. "He grabbed the ball said, 'You need to keep this one. It's special.'"

The Falcons selected Hooper in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft with the expectation that he would improve the passing game with his speed and receiving skills. For the season Hooper has five catches for 140 yards and the touchdown.

 

Strategy & Personell

 


  PLAYER NOTES

RB Devonta Freeman recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season. He finished the game with 13 carries for 57 yards. The rushing score was the 13th of his career and his first since week 16 of 2015.

RB Devonta Freeman recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season. He finished the game with 13 carries for 57 yards. The rushing score was the 13th of his career and his first since week 16 of 2015.

DE Dwight Freeney reached the quarterback for the second time this year, giving him 121.5 for his career, 19th in NFL history and third among active players.

CB Robert Alford recorded two interceptions during the game, including his first defensive touchdown of the season and the second of his career.

REPORT CARD VS. PANTHERS

PASSING OFFENSE: A Matt Ryan continued to spread the ball around as he connected with nine different receivers. While passing for a franchise record 503 yards, Ryan also had season highs in touchdowns (4) and passer rating (142.0). Julio Jones has 12 catches for 300 yards and one touchdown. Tight ends Jacob Tamme and Austin Hooper and wide receiver Aldrick Robinson also had touchdown catches.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C - Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman rushed 21 times for 76 yards for a sub-par 3.6-yard average per carry. Freeman had a nice touchdown run up the middle from 13 yards out. Ryan added 14 yards on four scrambles.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus - Cornerback Robert Alford helped to salt the game away with an interception return for a touchdown and another interception. The Panthers completed 31 of 48 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Most of the yards came after the Falcons took a 34-10 lead and the Panthers tried to rally. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin was held to three catches for 39 yards and tight end Greg Olsen didn't get a catch until the fourth quarter.

RUSH DEFENSE: B - The Panthers rushed 15 times for 49 yards for 3.3 yards per carry. Linebackers Deion Jones and Sean Weatherspoon led the charge defensively. Also, Vic Beasley had a big stop of Carolina quarterback Cam Newton on a third down.



SPECIAL TEAMS:
B-minus - Returner Eric Weems let three balls bounce that were downed inside of the 2-yard line by the Panthers. He was replaced in the game by Justin Hardy. Punter Matt Basher averaged 47.3 net yards on three punts. The coverage teams also did a good job of containing Carolina's Ted Ginn.



COACHING:
A-plus - Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has the offense working at a high level. The Falcons had two touchdown drives of 98 yards or more. Ryan continues to move the ball around to all of the receivers and the running game, while stymied, still produced a touchdown run. Defensively, the Falcons' prevent defense needs some work. After going up 34-10, the Panthers were able to score too quickly. The special teams continued their solid, but not spectacular play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Lowndesfalc said:

Panthers left tackle Mike Remmers was expecting Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney's famous spin move, and that's what he saw - until he didn't.

When Freeney started to spin back inside, Remmers stepped to his right in anticipation. But Freeney spun back to the outside, leaving Remmers flat-footed as Freeney ran free to quarterback Cam Newton and sacked him for an eight-yard loss in the second quarter.

Been drooling over this nonstop since Sunday lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, FalconsInCanada said:

Been drooling over this nonstop since Sunday lol

That clip is a perfect example of what the league thinks about Vic Beasley. First the TE chips him, then the T and G double him. The panthers let a HoF pass rusher have a 1 on 1 matchup versus a guy that doesn't play LT all the time to give Vic extra attention. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, FalconsInCanada said:

Been drooling over this nonstop since Sunday lol

Holding against Beasley.....The OT held Beasley's jersey under his sleeves...and he had to be double-teamed. :lol:

Too bad this offense will be wasted if nobody in the Org complains about the holding non-calls..

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...