Every week, we look at the players who had the biggest impact on the Falcons win. It may be a huge play, or good consistent effort throughout the day. Here are the week 8 players that made the Falcons 30-17 win over the Eagles possible:
Quarterback Matt Ryan: I don’t think there’s any way we couldn’t have Ryan on our list. He was completed 22 of 29 throws for 262 yards, three touchdowns, and no (zero, 0) interceptions or turnovers. The Falcons were 7/13 on third downs mostly on the strength of Ryan, and at one point to start the game the Falcons were 5/5 converting on third downs. Add in the fact that Ryan did all of this with a lot of wind and while it was raining, and you have a really solid performance in adverse conditions and in a hostile environment. Really great performance by Ryan.
Wide Receiver Julio Jones: Even when Jones doesn’t touch the football, he has a big impact on the game. Jones had a 63 -yard touchdown reception, as well as several other short catches that he turned into long gains. The play that really highlighted Jones great play and how much coverage he draws was the Drew Davis touchdown catch to start the game. Both the safety and corner broke to Jones when Ryan faked to him on a receiver screen. It left Davis wide open for the touchdown. With the amount of attention Jones draws, it really opens up things for the other receivers in the Falcons arsenal.
Falcons offensive line: Ryan was only sacked twice for a total loss of 16, but at least one of those was in a situation where the game was already out of hand in the Falcons favor. And it wasn’t simply the line prevented Ryan from being sacked. They also nearly completely prevented him from getting hit, but they also blocked very well on screen plays and opened up enough holes in the run game. Very good play from the line allowed the Falcons offense to operate very effectively and efficiently.
Defensive End Kroy Biermann: Mr. Biermann had one heck of a day. I watched him go from being a down lineman, to playing a deep single high safety in the middle on the field, all on the same play. I watched him shed blocks of three individual blockers, and keep his effort at 100%, all the way through the backfield and across the field to drag down Michael Vick, a very fast runner indeed. I watched him to a great job playing the run. I watched enough to put him as a player who earned his wings against the Eagles. He may not have made all the huge plays, but he is as consistent an effort guy as the Falcons have. And the effort eventually pays off.
Free Safety Thomas DeCoud: DeCoud had a big day, even if he didn’t come up with any interceptions or fumble recoveries. He has six tackles, assisted on three other tackles, and generally was a tremendous safety valve for the Falcons defense. If any Eagle made a catch, DeCoud made sure they didn’t score. But his biggest performance came early in the game. The Falcons had just scored for the first time of the day, and had kicked off to Philadelphia. On second down, the ball is handed to LeSean McCoy, and DeCoud tackles off the left side for a 1-yard loss. Were it not for that tackle, McCoy could have run all day long. The second massive performance came on the very next play. DeCoud came in on a safety blitz and sacked Michael Vick for a two yard loss. It brought up a 4th & 13, and Philadelphia was forced to punt. The Falcons scored on the ensuing possession, and the Falcons rolled from then on. The play of DeCoud kept the Eagles out of the game early.