Devonta Freeman tops report card as Falcons beat Texans
The Atlanta Falcons are on fire right now, capping off an undefeated first quarter of the season with a blowout victory over the Houston Texans. The Falcons are now just one of three remaining undefeated teams in the NFC, with the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers also sat at 4-0. Here’s the report card for Dan Quinn’s team this week.
It was another great performance for Matt Ryan, who was in command of the offense. Despite having to deal with an excellent pass rush, he was able to complete 19 of his 27 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown. The stats only tell part of the story, though. Ryan had a good sense of the pressure coming and made some nice plays on the move. It was almost Aaron Rodgers-esque.
Running backs: A+
Devonta Freeman was simply outstanding once again, and his work on the ground helped ease off the Texans’ pass rush. Freeman rushed 14 times for 68 yards and three touchdowns, and the second-year man now leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns (7). Let’s face it, as impressive as rookie Tevin Coleman looked in the first two games, Freeman is the starter moving forward.
MORE: Takeaways from Falcons win over Texans
Terron Ward came on when the game was over, and he added 78 yards and a score. This Falcons backfield is loaded with young talent.
Wide receivers: A
Julio Jones finally proved he’s human, catching four passes for 38 yards. The talent around him is deep, however, and there were plenty of other players ready to step up. Leonard Hankerson led the way with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, and Freeman got in on the action with five receptions for 81 yards. With the game out of sight, the Falcons were able to rest Jones, who is dealing with minor toe and hamstring injuries.
Oct 4, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) celebrates his rushing touchdown with wide receiver Julio Jones (11, center) and wide receiver Roddy White (84) as Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing (56) is shown on the play in the third quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Tight ends: D
With no Jacob Tamme, who was out with a concussion, Levine Toilolo led the way. His run blocking was poor and he was sloppy with penalties. Toilolo didn’t make any plays as a receiver, either, and it was overall a quiet day for him.
Offensive line: B-
As expected when facing such a strong pass rush, the tackles struggled somewhat. Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder disappointed in pass blocking. Both players allowed three quarterback hurries and Schraeder allowed a sack. The guards did a better job, and the run blocking was good all around.
Defensive line: B
Jonathan Babineaux made an interception on the Texans’ opening drive, and Ra’Shede Hagemen made a big sack on Brian Hoyer, but there wasn’t much else to write home about for the defensive line. The run defense was very good again, though.
Paul Worrilow had a nice bounce back game after disappointing last week, making three tackles and three stops. He was solid in run defense and excellent in coverage. Brooks Reed gave the run defense a boost on debut after returning from a groin injury. He only played 15 snaps as he’s eased back. Justin Durant went out with an elbow injury, which is concerning.
Desmond Trufant proved once again why he’s an elite corner. He was thrown at eight times, with only three passes being completed. Trufant allowed just one yard after the catch and a quarterback rating of 57.8 when thrown his way. He also recovered two fumbles, with one being returned for a touchdown. The secondary was excellent all around.
Special teams: A
Matt Bryant and Matt Bosher are so consistent it’s unbelievable. Bryant didn’t have any field goal attempts but nailed all six of his PATs. Bosher was excellent when punting once again, tallying 286 yards from his six punts with an average of 47.7 yards. They don’t get enough praise because their consistent high-level play is outstanding.
Next: What we learned from Falcons' blowout win
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