Atlanta Falcons have a pair of young closers in the secondary
In the sport of baseball, ‘closers’ are sent out in the ninth inning, with the lead, to shut the door on a game, for the Atlanta Falcons in the sport of football, they have sent out their safeties to do the exact same thing.
The Falcons have a couple of young draft picks who have come up clutch to shut the game down and send the opponent out with a loss.
Richie Grant and Jaylinn Hawkins are the Atlanta Falcons closers
Normally, you hear analysts talk about ‘closers’ in football as pass rushers, but for the Atlanta Falcons, it is their safeties who have sealed games by getting their hands on passes.
Richie Grant and now Jaylinn Hawkins, both have game-winning interceptions for their team. They have picked off a pass that allows Marcus Mariota and the offense to kneel the ball down to tick the remaining seconds off the clock.
Richie Grant did it first, for the Falcons’ first win of the year back in week three against the Seattle Seahawks. Geno Smith was attempting a game-winning drive but was sacked by Grady Jarrett and then followed it up by throwing a pass that Richie Grant snagged to seal the deal.
Now, Jaylinn Hawkins was able to mimic that as the Chicago Bears were attempting to drive down the field to at least kick a game-tying field goal, however, Justin Fields threw a high pass that got tipped and Jaylinn Hawkins made an excellent diving grab.
Hawkins in week six had an interception late against the San Francisco 49ers that basically closed the book. Atlanta wasn’t quite able to kneel the game out at that point but he cut off precious seconds for the 49ers that made it nearly impossible for them to come back.
The Atlanta Falcons have been able to finish out games thanks to the maturity of their two starting safeties, they will only continue to get better and close games out.
It is also worth shouting out Grady Jarrett who has had some clutch sacks and Dee Alford who also had a game-winning interception against the Cleveland Browns.