Loser: Run Blocking
When it comes to the run blocking in this game, the Falcons were not able to open many holes at all. For a unit that prides itself on being able to create holes for backs, they were getting pushed back all day long. Outside of a handful of runs that went for 7 or more yards, the Falcons were lacking in the run game. If you take out the longest runs of each Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, and Desmond Ridder, the run game only gained 2.0 yards per carry, and when including them, only 2.7 yards per carry. The run blocking needs to step up moving forward to help pull some pressure off of Desmond Ridder and the passing attack.
Winner: Defense as a whole
The Houston Texans were coming off two straight games of scoring 30-plus points while gaining an average of 408 yards in each of those games. The Falcons' defense was able to hold them to just 313 yards in this game while also holding them to just 19 points. On top of that, the only touchdown they scored was with two minutes left in the game. They also essentially nullified both of the Falcons turnovers forcing one punt and one field goal on the two three-and-outs after each fumble. The big thing the Falcons did on defense was hold the Texans to just four conversions on their 13 third-down attempts. Third-down defense has been crucial for Atlanta all season, and it was fantastic in this one.
Winner: CB Dee Alford
While the defense as a whole had a fantastic game, the key to the defense today was Dee Alford. He has shown that he can be one of the best nickel defenders in the game today. He was clutch with key tackles for loss to set up long third downs, multiple pass deflections to force punts and even some key open field tackles that held the Texans to field goal attempts. Alford flew around the field all day and has proven to be a key component of the defense. The Falcons should look into making him the No. 2 cornerback by the end of the year in base defense to really keep him on the field as much as possible. He's shown he's worth the investment and has been a key find from Terry Fontenot.