2. The Pass Rush
Would it shock you if I told you that in the first 7 games that Vic Beasley is already ranked top 5 in sacks tallying 6.5. Beasley is turning into a monster on the defensive side of the ball as it seems that everything is starting to come together for the former first-round pick. Imagine being a quarterback grasping the ball just after it was hiked. You begin to gallop backwards with your eyes solely focused on spotting open receivers downfield. You shift your body to one direction to get your throwing arm in the best position to complete the pass. You are less apprehensive as you realize the Falcon’s pass rush hasn’t been as dominant over the years and thus you focus solely on what lies downfield. Then, abruptly, you feel a strong gush of wind and a menacing presence trucking towards you. As you attempt to prepare, you suddenly lose grasp of the pigskin that just sat firmly in your hand moments ago. It was ripped in the matter of seconds, now free for anyone to scoop up as it hits the ground and squanders out of your reach.
As a Falcon’s fan, that’s not a sight we are used to seeing but this season tells otherwise. Vic Beasley is wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, coming around the edge with his eyes locked firm on the ball. He has forced 3 fumbles already this season and his dominance must continue Sunday to prevent Aaron Rodgers from lighting up the defense. Along with Beasley, several other pass-rushers such as Dwight Freeney and Adrian Claiborne have shown up significantly and have caused the Falcons to sack the quarterback 15 times this season, just three shy of last year’s total.
This pressure will be undoubtedly essential this Sunday against Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is an extremely dangerous quarterback and allowing him ample time to throw the ball won’t equate to much success for Atlanta. When the Falcons played in Green Bay in 2014, the team’s lack of pass rush allowed for Aaron Rodgers to torch the Falcon’s defense and throw for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns.
A lack of pass rush simply gives the opposing quarterback sufficient time to survey the whole field and find the best target. Pass rush is what can throw a quarterback off significantly and is what is needed to keep Green Bay’s offense from scoring a lot of points which would make it increasingly difficult for the Falcons to get a win. The more the Falcon’s can get after Rodgers, the more they can weaken his accuracy and faster they can give the ball back to their high flying offense. Getting the defense off the field is a must and can be done with production from their vastly improved defensive line.