Falcons 10-Bengals 24: Game Recap and Notes


Before getting into the numbers, the Atlanta Falcons players clearly came out with a different mindset this week than they had versus the Saints.  Their body language, demeanor, and plain old attitude seemed too lackadaisical from pre-game on.  It was as though they were still proud of themselves from last week and could simply show up today and get a win on past performance alone.  That’s why many say the NFL means “Not For Long.”

Falcons Defense

It’s abundantly clear that adding behemoth DT Paul Soliai and DE Tyson Jackson is insufficient to create opportunities for the outside linebackers/defensive ends to establish a decent pass rush.  On the other hand, maybe Atlanta simply lacks the players who can create QB pressure even when they have one-on-one matchups.  Either way, the pass rush has been non-existent two weeks straight.

Don’t get fooled by the final two-score difference.  This should have been much worse but for the fact Bengals K Mike Nugent went just 1 for 4 on field goals.  Atlanta easily could’ve lost 33-10.

Even after All-Pro WR A.J. Green was lost for the remainder of the game on the very first drive,  Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton was 15/23, 252 yards for an 11.0 avg, 1 TD to 0 Int, and a healthy 116.6 rating.  Atlanta’s secondary continuously got smoked for receptions of 76, 46, 50, 26, 19, and 18 yards a pop.

Finally, the Falcons allowed 170 yards on 45 carries.  Let me repeat that: Cincinnati ran the ball at will 45 times for 170 yards.

Given the big pass plays of the Bengals, I find it difficult to find what exactly it was the Falcons defense did well.

Falcons Offense

The glaring weakness, forgive me for the 2013 deja-vu, was the porous offensive line.  With Sam Baker out for the year and Jake Matthews out for at least this game, we were transported back to the Lamar Holmes show at right tackle from 2013.  Scrap-heap signee Gabe Carimi, playing LT today, did only marginally better, which is to say he didn’t completely spit the bit.

After a record-setting performance last week, Matt Ryan barely completed half his passes at 24/44 for a sad 5.3-yard average.  He has a single TD compared to 3 interceptions, and he came out of the game with an anemic 48.6 rating.

The Falcons rushing game was better, but that was likely due to the Bengals playing for the pass once their lead grew so large.  19 carries for 97 yards and a 5.1 average isn’t bad, but none of the runs really seemed to have an impact on the game at any point.

Matt spread the ball around as 6 pass-catchers had long receptions in double digits only Julio Jones had more than 42 yards with just 88 on 7 receptions.

Bengals Defense

Cincinnati’s defense had __ stats stand out.  First, they had 12 pass defensed, which is an incredible 27% of all passes thrown.  Besides knocking down passes, the Bengals knocked Matt Ryan down 9 times as well as gathering 2 sacks.

The Bengals held the Falcons to just 3 of 12 3rd down conversion rate, shutting down 75% of Falcons drives, which explains the paltry 10 put up by the NFL’s #1 scoring offense coming into this game.

Free Safety Reggie Nelson may have been the defensive all-around player of the game for Cincinnati with a stat-stuffing  5 total tackles, 3 solo tackles, and 1 each sack, tackle for a loss, and pass defensed

Defensive End Carlos Dunlap had just one sack but hit Matt Ryan 5 times alone.  Talk about a one-man QB-wrecking crew.

Bengals Offense

The Bengals’ balance was clear with 10 first downs both rushing and passing.

Rushing 45 times as compared to just 24 passes gave demonstrates they felt they could run on the Falcons at will, and they demonstrated exactly that.

Cincy even broke out a trick reverse pass option play that resulted in a perfect 50-yard completion that seemed to absolutely deflate Atlanta’s offense.

The passing game was evenly distributed with 6 receivers have totals of 84, 79, 50, 42, 25, and 22 yards.  The two main running backs has 90 and 74 yards with a TD each.  This is almost the definition of balance.

Overall Impression

Well, I’m going to let Mike Smith say the obvious as told to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure,” I thought we got beat in every phase.”