Each week for my post game analysis, I will give one offensive and defensive Falcon player a little “sugar” for his “sweet” playing on the field. I will also give one player on the Falcons a little ”salt” for his salty, lackluster play for the week. Please feel free to leave comments and provide your own “Sugar and Salt” for the week. You can also tweet me at @ianborders7 or all of us at @bloggingdirty to provide input for your picks each week.
Sugar (offense) – Roddy White - In life, some things are just consistent. The moon will be full about once every month….the trees will start to change colors around October/November….the baby birds will start to chirp in or around April….And Roddy White will catch more than 80 balls and earn over 1,000 yards receiving. For the past six seasons (essentially since Ryan has been there), Roddy has recorded at least these numbers, having already surpassed them receiving-wise this year. He currently is three catches short of 80 and already has 1,140 yards with three games still left to be played. Roddy finished the Panthers game with nine receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown, but it was not quite enough for the Falcons to come back on ‘Killa Cam’ and the Panthers. All things now are looking toward the playoffs, and Roddy may have to use his consistency to carry the team. He is the perfect yardage chunking, drive sustaining, gridiron grinding receiver that teams must have in the playoffs. The Falcons just have to make sure they don’t wait too late to use him.
Sugar (defense) – Red Zone Efficiency - There really wasn’t one player that I could put my finger on to say, “you know what, they really played a solid game..” Across the board I thought the play was pretty bad because this team simply struggles playing against ‘Killa Cam’! The big plays absolutely killed the team on Sunday. There was one things that was very solid though, and that was the red zone efficiency. The Panthers got into the Falcons red zone two times, and both times the Panthers had to settle for field goals. This is the recipe for the “bend don’t break” strategy that teams seem to be playing against the Panthers, and this explains why they have been close in so many games (lost seven games by six points or less). Unfortunately the Falcons just couldn’t stop the big play, one in particular where ‘Killa Cam’ ran 75 yards on a QB option handoff that Mike Vick used to be so successful with in Atlanta.
Salt – Defense vs. explosive tight-ends - The Falcons this year have struggled when playing against tight-ends that are mobile. You would think having to go up against the best tight-end of all time every day in practice would make you an expert at defending the position, but for some reason the Falcons have been dominated by such. Now I know that the Falcons have already clinched first place in the division, but this is all bad looking at the future and the tight-ends that the Falcons must compete with on a divisional stage. There are two things that are currently trademarks of the NFC South…..solid/explosive Quarterback play (Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Cam Newton) and consistent, dependable tight-end play. Jimmy Graham, Greg Olson (two stinkin’ Hurricanes…), and Dallas Clark are proven weapons in this league and all have had productive, touchdown scoring games against the Falcons this year. Think of the guys the Falcons could possible see in the playoffs…..Vernon Davis….(yikes)…..Jermichael Finley….(disaster)…..Martellus Bennett….(uh oh)…..not to mention if the Falcons make the Super Bowl….. Rob Gronkowski….(kill me now..)…..
All in all, the focus should now be toward the playoffs. This coming weeks game will be critical, not only for the Falcons who play the Giants (need I remind you what happened last year in the playoffs), but also for the visiting New York team, who only has a one game lead in their division (Redskins and Cowboys are nipping at their heels). It’s all about the post season and home field advantage, and beating the Giants in Atlanta would be a huge confidence boost and psycological step in the right direction.