October 29, 2017
Atlanta 25 / New York 20
By: Allison Smith
A much needed win at that, as they head into NFC South play next week, heading up to Carolina, but still remain in 3rd place, behind Carolina and New Orleans.
I’ve seen prettier games, but a W is a W and I will take any win after 3 straight bad losses. Once again, the offense was not efficient in either the red zone or third down conversions, but they did enough to get the win. The playing time was nearly even this week, the Falcons offense being on the field 28 minutes, so the defense could get finally get some rest between outings. Of the 6 trips into the red zone, the Falcons had 2 touchdowns and 4 field goals. They were 4 of 15 on 3rd down conversions.
The offense did at least take some shots downfield and were more creative in play calling than previous weeks. They had 32 runs and 29 passes, so pretty even, finally, on play calling and could actually set up the play action. Of course, after the 4th fumbled exchange from Alex Mack to Matt Ryan, they did move to the shotgun. Their opening possession consisted of the first 5 passes to the tight ends, who had 9 of the 29 targets on the game. Much of the rest of the game, they started with a run on first down, and Freeman or Coleman got good yardage to set up manageable 2nd and 3rd downs.
The Falcons offense’s only turn overs this week were on 2 of the 4 mishandled snaps from Mack to Ryan. Which was, obviously, caused by the weather. Every time, Mack and Ryan would be over on the sideline trying to work out their issues. Finally, they determined they needed to go to the shotgun and not worry about additional turnovers. A few dropped balls, mostly caused by the weather as well, but the passing overall was better and not overly affected by the rain or wind.
Head Coach Dan Quinn said last week there would be extra time spent on 3rd downs – on both sides, as well as the red zone efficiency. The defense must have paid attention. They held the Jets to only 5 of 15 successful third down conversions. The Jets had 2 yards per carry and 5 negative plays and finished with only 43 rushing yards. The Falcons defense really controlled the line of scrimmage and forced the Jets to throw the ball in the bad weather. Of course, Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe were getting some great pressure up the middle. It was noted that Grady is taking it personally that teams want to run against him.
With Duke Riley out, Kemal Ishmael has really stepped up and shown his versatility. Ish has been playing on special teams and making an impact, including recovering a fumble today. Now, Ish is in for Riley at linebacker and definitely making his presence known there as well, with 8 solo tackles and 5 assists. Only one significant penalty today, a PI on Ricardo Allen that provided a big first down that led to a touchdown, but at least it didn’t reverse a turnover. Glass half full?!? Of the FOUR fumbled snaps, two were recovered by the Jets and the Falcons defense only gave up 3 points on short yardage. The average starting position of the Jets’ offense was the 48….always short yardage for the D to defend.
Vic Beasley, Jr was giving the Jets left tackle trouble, Jarrett caused at least one offensive hold, and Adrian Clayborn was destroying the line all day. Takk McKinley got his first strip sack of his rookie career. The addition of Ahtyba Rubin (in replacement of IR Jack Crawford) has been a big help as he is very active and brings a similar demeanor to the defensive line and had 2 tackles against the Jets.
You know if DQ was talking to the O and D about “mishaps,” that Special Teams coach, Keith Armstrong, lit up his group. Likely to the Matt’s and Josh Harris (long snapper) he just gave them a nasty look, a quick “WTF” and moved on. Their mistakes were so random and rare, they don’t need to be talked up. They know better. Clearly, he got to the rest of his team and the only real issue with the special teams today was one punt return that Andre Roberts let go by and ended up settling inside the 1-yard line.
The game changing moment of the game was a Bosher punt. The returner, standing at the 25, with the rain and swirling wind, fumbles the ball and Ishmael is quickly there to recover. Bosher was consistent with an average of 42.8 and a long of 55 yards. Of course, Money was back on track, even in the rain and wind, with 4 successful field goals, a long of 45. DQ said of Bryant, that Bryant is someone you “Want to trust in these situations and he nailed it in a big way tonight.” Derrick Coleman, the full back, had several drilling stops on returns, as well as Ishmael being involved with many punt and kickoff stops.
Interesting note, while Julio was grabbing his 8000th+ yards last week, Ryan now has 200+ passing yards in 62 straight games, which is the longest streak in NFL history.
Overall, a win is a win, especially a road win, in the wind and rain. Defense was much improved. Special teams was fixed. Offense, better and more evenly distributing the ball. No injuries sustained. As Grady noted, we were 4 – 3 this time last year, and we all know how that ended. Now, the real fun begins.
Cover Photo Courtesy of NFL Films