Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, Kroy Biermann shine in win


The Atlanta Falcons secured an incredible comeback victory over the New York Giants to improve to 2-0. Matt Ryan stayed cool under pressure and the defense once again came through in the clutch. Here’s the report card from the win.

Quarterback: A

Matt Ryan is just a different animal in the fourth quarter when down in the game. It was a solid performance through three quarters, but he led his team excellently in the fourth. Down 20-17 with the game on the line, he marched the team down field. First, he connected with Leonard Hankerson on a 17-yard completion on third down. A player later, he struck deep with Julio Jones for 37 yards to set up the score, which Devonta Freeman punched into the end zone.

Running backs: C+

Tevin Coleman fought hard and looked solid before a ribs injury ruled out his afternoon. He rushed nine times for 32 yards and his first NFL touchdown. When he went out, Devonta Freeman stepped in his place and carried the football 12 times for 25 yards and the game-winning score. All in all it wasn’t a bad day for the Falcons’ running game which opened up the play-action pass frequently again. It’s still a work in progress, though.

Wide receivers: A

Julio Jones was, well, Julio Jones. He was excellent once again, catching 13 passes for 135 yards. Roddy White complemented him well against the Eagles, but it was Leonard Hankerson to do it in New York. Hankerson caught six passes for 77 yards and a crucial touchdown, and he also made a good play on third down late in the game. Even with White having a quiet game, the Falcons have so much talent at receiver to be productive.

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Tight ends: C

Jacob Tamme contributed in the passing game with four catches for 77 yards, and he was used well on play-action. Tamme adds another weapon to the passing game, and he did a decent job pass blocking. Levine Toilolo struggled again, particularly in run blocking.

Offensive line: B

For the most part, Ryan was protected well by his offensive line, taking just two sacks. Each player protected well, although Mike Person struggled at times. The run blocking still needs some work, but as a whole the line is coming along well.

Defensive line: A

The Falcons’ defensive line continues to impress. Vic Beasley was excellent and finally registered his first NFL sack, also stripping the ball away from Eli Manning. Unfortunately, the ball bounced over the first down marker and was recovered by Larry Donnell for a first. But it was still a great play by the rookie. The Falcons allowed just 97 yards rushing, and they currently own the 11th best run defense.

Linebackers: B

Kroy Biermann made two of the biggest plays of the game, kicking off the Falcons’ comeback with a strip sack of Manning on the Atlanta 8-yard line. Even a field goal there could have put the game out of reach, so to force the turnover completely swung the momentum. Paul Worrilow left the game with a calf injury but returned in the second half.

Secondary: C-

Outside of Desmond Trufant, there wasn’t too much to get excited about. Robert Alford consistently struggled against Odell Beckham Jr. and began to get worn out by the star receiver. Ricardo Allen, the hero against the Eagles, had a much quieter game this time around.

Special teams: A

Matt Bosher and Matt Bryant were on top of their games again. Bosher averaged 54.6 yards per punt, and Bryant didn’t miss a beat with a 42-yard field goal and three extra-point conversions. It’s easy to take what they do for granted, but it goes a long way to winning the game.

Next: What we learned from Falcons' win

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