Each week after every game, win or lose, I will grade the performance of the Falcons’ Offense, Defense, Special Teams and coaches.
- Offense (B) – If you were too look at all the stats for the offense except for points, you would expect that the Falcons would have won this game. Having 483 yards of offense, 30 first downs, 85 plays & controlling the time of possession 36 minutes to 30 are all numbers that are associated with winning teams. However all these stats only converted into 23 total points and despite the Falcons having 3 red zone possessions, they were only able to turn those into 9 points, not good enough against a tough opponent. The running game was a bit up and down throughout, and obviously didn’t come up big when it needed too, on the 4th down in OT. One bright spark for the offense was the play of two members of the 2008 draft class, Matt Ryan and Harry Douglass, who were terrific at the end of the 4th quarter, to give the Falcons an opportunity to win the game. Something which seemed very unlikely with 7 or so minutes left in regulation.
- Defense (B+) – Defensively, the Falcons did pretty much all we could ask for. They held Darren Sproles & the running game in check, and limited the Saints’ explosiveness when they were passing the ball. One negative, was the lack of a turnover. In the build up, I mentioned that the Falcons needed to create turnovers and win the turnover battle. Alas the Falcons could not force one, if they had then the Falcons would of likely won the game.
- Special Teams (B-) – Matt Bosher looked good again booting the ball a mile off punts and kickoffs. Bryant missed his first FG of the season, however it would not have counted even if he had converted it due to a holding penalty. Weems’ ineptness in the return game especially on punt returns, is getting incredibly frustrating. I would like to see Dominique Franks get a chance to return some punts, as he looked very good in preseason, when he had the opportunity.
- Coaching (B-) – The coaches get a B- as the three main coaches’ grades balance out. I would give Mike Smith a B-, as while i’m on board with the decision to go for it on the 4th down in OT, the play call was not a great one, I would have preferred a QB sneak. Also the onside kick decision in the 4th quarter was a poor one, as it put the Falcons into a big hole.
- Brian Van Gorder gets an A, for a terrific gameplan. He identified Sproles as the main man to shut down, and the Falcons D did just that in convincing fashion. The gameplan would have been even more effective at shutting down the intermediate passing game, if the Falcons were able to at least get some sort of pressure from their front four.
- Mike Mularkey gets an F, because he is frankly a terrible play caller and cannot make adjustments during the game, at the moment he has got handcuffs on Matt Ryan and is preventing him from reaching his potential. It says a lot about an offense that the only time they score is at the start of the game on scripted plays and out of the no huddle, when Matt calls the plays. I will be writing more on this dire OC situation later in the week on Blogging Dirty.