Falcons vs Lions – Postgame Falcons’ Grades
Although I was at Wembley this past weekend (there will be more features later in the week about that game, including what the Commissioner told fans about the future of NFL internationally on Saturday). This morning, I was able to watch the game film of the magnificent win by the Falcons over the Lions this morning. Here are my grades for the Falcons Offense, Defense, Special Teams and Coaches.
- Offense (B) – A bit hit and miss from the Falcons offense in this game. Matt Ryan looked poor, the worst I’ve seen him in quite a while. The INT’s were bad decisions and he missed a lot of make able throws, which is very unlike him, hopefully the Bye will do him some good. Run game looked decent, particularly when the Falcons ran draws or ran out of a passing formation. Something, i was calling for earlier in the season. I can’t be too critical on the offense as they were missing two key pieces in LT Sam Baker and WR Julio Jones against a solid defense. Shout out to Baker’s replacement Will Svitek, he had a very good game.
- Defense (A) – A few of the Falcons defenders called this their most complete performance of the season, and I totally agree. A well executed performance against a high powered offense, definitely deserves an A grade. The stat, which impressed me the most was the third down conversion rate, only 1 of 12! Considering our third down efficiency up to this point in the season has been 49%, (which was worst in the NFL), shows a wonderful turnaround for the Falcons D on the most crucial down in football. The D-Line got pressure most of the night and forced Stafford to move around and make poor throws. The Falcons key to success was how they were able to limit the production of Brandon Pettigrew and Calvin Johnson for most of the game. B Grimes, in particular was absolutely terrific in coverage.
- Special Teams (A) – Matt Bryant went 3 for 3 today, and now has the longest active consecutive FG streak in Falcons history. This guy is as cool as you like, whether it’s a 47 yarder or a 27 yarder, he is a true professional. Eric Weems was terrific returning both kicks and punts, it may not have shown in yardage as penalties limited his yardage gains, but a great effort and positive signs for the Falcons’ special teams.
- Coaching (A-) – On offense, I’m still slightly concerned by the play calling. The only two TD drives the Falcons had were out of the no huddle (where Matt Ryan is calling the plays). Mularkey has to step up and become a better playcaller. I was however pleased, with how he has altered his running philosophy slightly, where he is now more eager to run out of passing formations, which is making this offense less predictable and more dangerous. On Defense, a fantastic gameplan by Van Gorder and Mike Smith for this game. They had faith in B Grimes to cover Calvin Johnson and he delivered, aside from the big play for a TD, it was an incredibly successful day for covering the Lions’ biggest threat. The scheme choices on third down, were also impressive. The Falcons also took away the Lions’ favorite third down target in TE Brandon Pettigrew, with solid coverage from LB Sean Weatherspoon and S William Moore.