The Atlanta Falcons invested a lot of money this offseason and Jessie Bates was their biggest investment. They were hoping to get a leader on the defense and a leader is exactly what they found.
Bates, in his first game with the Falcons, bailed his team out. It was an ugly game by the Dirty Birds but a win is all that matters and the win should be credited to the prized free agent acquisition. Jessie Bates dominated in such a way that it has put him in early contention for AP Defensive Player of the Year.
After just one week, Atlanta Falcons safety Jessie Bates is the leader for DPOY
The Atlanta Falcons are looking for a defensive turnaround in 2023. The team has seen so many miserable defenses but if week one was any indication, things could be pointing up for the unit. The addition of Ryan Nielsen as defensive coordinator and Jessie Bates could prove to be franchise-changers.
Bates simply dominated in his first game as a Falcon. He baited first-overall pick Bryce Young into two interceptions and then forced a fumble on the Panthers' prized offseason acquisition, Miles Sanders. All three of those turnovers turned into 17 points and won the Falcons the game.
Bates should be the early leader for Defensive Player of the Year.
I know, we are one week into the season and have 16 games remaining but if he even has a couple more games like this and plays well in the rest, then he should be the DPOY.
Simple as this: the Falcons are 0-1 without Jessie Bates. Not only did he have two impressive interceptions that turned into points but he forced a fumble on Sanders that felt like the biggest turning point in the game.
Bates was also great in coverage, made some nice tackles, and played with a passion that was contagious for the rest of the defense.
Even if Bates didn't have those three forced turnovers, he would have had an incredible game. I have a feeling that none of us know just how impactful number three was in week one. He is a contender for Defensive Player of the Year.