A Look Back at Week 13 – Saints @Falcons


Hi, I’m the new writer at BD and I will try to provide a little more of a statistical perspective to the Falcons season (although not in this particular post). On to the game review…

Saints Game Review

The game turned into a bizarre affair with players on both sides playing games contradictory to expectations based in their performances this season. The Falcons running game and the Saints defense after being much aligned and ridiculed showed up to play, both big name quarterbacks played poorly and the Falcons offensive line which had hitherto done a good job pass blocking and a poor job run blocking decided to flip the script. However, weird games have become typical of the Thursday night affairs this season and so I’m going to refrain from reading too much into it. A few points to note though-

  • Christopher Owens showed how far he has come. Combined with the emergence of Robert McClain, the Falcons are legitimately 4-deep at cornerback despite the loss of Brent Grimes. Considering, how good DeCoud and Moore have been at safety all season, the Falcons secondary is looking championship caliber.
  • Conversely, the pass rush is still poor at closing the deal. As in years past, the Falcons do manage to pressure the QB but they allow him to escape far too often to be considered good.
  • Although, poor play up the middle of the line (excusable considering the short week) was a big factor, Ryan’s discomfort with pressure up the middle is a reason for concern. Every team we face in the playoffs brings a good pass rush. If Ryan and Koetter can’t adjust and find a way to be effective, the Falcons will find themselves in trouble.
  • Michael Turner despite the big game still looks slow hitting the hole. Hopefully, the coaches don’t delude themselves into thinking Turner circa ’08 is back based on this performance. RB by committee is still the best approach for this team.

Film Breakdown

In this space I will try to look at one or more plays and try to break it down. This week I look at

Matt Ryan’s touchdown pass to Tony Gonzales.

The Saints have double coverage on Julio Jones at the bottom of the screen and have man coverage on everyone else. Roman Harper is the safety (yellow circle) who must provide help over the top. JJ and HD run short out breaking routes that pull three defenders away from the  middle of the field. In the middle, TG runs a post route (he’s headed to the goal post) while Roddy runs a short curl. Harper initially doubles Gonzales but seeing that Roddy is coming open he hesitates leaving Curtis Lofton alone on TG. The rest as they say is history. The next screenshot is taken right before Matt Ryan throws the pass.

Harper is in perfect position on Gonzales at this point but misreads Ryan resulting in the hesitation that leaves TG one-on-one with Lofton.

Playoff Picture

The Falcons win combined with the Bucs loss means that the Falcons have clinched the NFC south. Next up – the bye week. The Niners, Bears, Packers and the Giants are the teams in contention at this point and the Falcons can clinch the bye week by beating the Panthers if three of these teams lose. If all four lose the Falcons will clinch homefield for the playoffs.

One for the road

Despite a recent 5 interception game, Matt Ryan is till second best all time at avoiding turnovers.