Second Look: Grading the Atlanta Falcons week 6 loss to the Cardinals

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Offensive Line – C

This may have been their best performance to date. Matt Ryan was only sacked twice by the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday but was hit another seven times by the Cardinals defensive line. The nine total hits on Matt during his dropbacks are a season-low.

Given that this line is working with backups at both guard positions due to injuries, all in all, this group is coming along and getting better by the week.

They need to take the next step and start opening up bigger holes for the running backs, but this group played well yesterday. Rookie Kaleb McGary has had several rookie moments against some of the elite pass rushers that he has faced, but his confidence is building with every snap and this will pay off big time in the future.

Running backs – C

I thought overall this group also had its best game of the season both from running and a pass protection standpoint.

We started to see Devonta Freeman run with more physicality than he has in the past five games and you could tell he was getting into a rhythm. I would have liked to see him follow his blockers more often than he did. He spent too much time trying to cut back and look for a big play rather than hit the designed hole, that was there more often than not.

Ito Smith did not get much of a chance yesterday with only three touches offensively. Dirk Koetter is doing to Smith what he did to Freeman in his first year in the league and ignoring the better option.

Ito will produce but has to be given a chance and it does not look like Koetter has any intention of allowing that to happen.