Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Falcons Week 2 Recap vs Giants

Undefeated and jumping for joy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Wow! That is truly the only word that comes to mind when thinking of the 2015 Atlanta Falcons. Your energy level is raised when watching William Moore light up the receivers across the middle, Julio giving defensive backs nightmares, and Matt Ryan carving up defenses with ease. It all gets you to RISE UP.

You got that last part? It was a Falcons pun.

Anyways, let's move to major highs and lows of last Sunday's game against the New York Giants:
Odell Beckham second quarter touchdown

If there was one urging question of the game, it was surely why CB Robert Alford handled Odell Beckham Jr and not his elite counterpart Desmond Trufant? Honestly, I was OK with the decision to keep Alford on Beckham's side. Of course he struggled constantly and was picked on by QB Eli Manning but it was all for reasonable cause. As a first-year head coach, Dan Quinn is trying to build trust amongst his players. One way to do this is trusting players in hard times.

Now to many fans, you'd love to put Trufant on Odell all day—man on man—but you can't do that when you have players trying to buy into your system and trust you as an individual. The choice to keep Alford on Odell was not more of a game plan decision but more of the Falcons playing their system and not changing their play for one person. Plus, veteran safety William Moore came and straightened out the problems with his fellow defensive backs after Alford gave up a long touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. before the half. Leadership like that is critical when building a team.

After the game, one of my favorite things to do is listen to 92.9 The Game and laugh at how fans go on ridiculous rants about the game. Still, I respect their opinions. However, it was pretty funny until one fan hit me with a great question: Where was Roddy White? The 11-year veteran had no catches and made little to no impact in the victory. So what is the reason for his absence? Was he schemed out of the game by Kyle Shanahan or did he have a lingering injury that others did not know about? Either way, it was strange not to see #84  get involved in the win but to be honest, I don't think Roddy really cares if he played or not. Players like Roddy White love to win regardless of the circumstances.

Tevin Coleman #26 of the Atlanta Falcons runs the ball past Mark Herzlich #94 and Uani' Unga #47 of the New York Giants for a first quarter touchdown at MetLife Stadium on September 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Getty Images)

Injuries did hit the team pretty tough when promising rookie running back Tevin Coleman fractured his ribs. He will be out for a few weeks to recover. This really hurts the running game since Coleman was the team's leading rusher and looked only to get better in his second career game. Second-year back Devonta Freeman looks to get more touches until the return of Coleman. Undrafted free agent Terron Ward did get some snaps against the Giants and he may be involved a little going forward. When Coleman went down, Freeman made some critical runs that won't show up in the stat book. The offensive line did well enough to open up a few holes for the back to burst through. The play of both Ward and Freeman is going to be critical to the team's next game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Kroy Biermann's game changing play

There was a time in the game where it seemed like the Falcons were going to lose as the Giants were inside the red zone with a 10-point, 3rd quarter lead. Then OLB Kroy Biermann got a sack-strip fumble on QB Eli Manning. Though many have had doubts and harsh opinions of Kroy, we were all glad he made a much-needed play boosting our team back up to speed. The offense capitalized on the new-found momentum to drive all the way down the field and close the deficit early in the 4th quarter.

Leonard Hankerson 4th quarter touchdown

Now of course Kroy Biermann isn't an All-Pro linebacker, but he does serve a great purpose when you let him do what he does best which is not covering slot receivers but being a rotational player who can play multiple positions. Along with Biermann, both backup linebackers Allen Bradford and Nathan Stupar showed flashes of why they should stick with the team by coming in when others were down like Paul Worrilow. Stupar showed his value as a strong side linebacker, something that could benefit Atlanta's defense down the line.

Julio Jones sets up the game winning drive

In the end, the Falcons pulled off a comeback and won the game 24-20.

Devonta Freeman touchdown

It was a game to remember and one Atlanta can learn from. No matter what haters may say, 2-0 is a pretty good start for a team that virtually started fresh across the board. Now we have to prepare ourselves for another difficult challenge against the Dallas Cowboys but still they have flaws just as any other great teams.

Quick Notes to know:

- CB Desmond Trufant ranks #1 among NFL CBs in cover snaps per reception. He allows just 1 catch per 48 snaps.

- No NFL CB that's played at least 75% of his team's snaps has been thrown toward less than Desmond Trufant (4 times in 2 games)

- Atlanta's highest graded defensive player (5.6) & pass rusher (4.3) yesterday was rookie LEO Vic Beasley.

- Jackson (2.7), Schofield (2.2), Stupar (2.2), Soliai (2.1) & Babineaux (1.5) all had favorable run defense grades.

- Ricardo Allen is ranked NFL's 10th best cover safety. Allows only 1 reception per 30 snaps.

-Through 2 games, Adrian Clayborn ranks 11th & Jonathan Babineaux 21st in pass-rush productivity among NFL DTs.

- Ra'Shede Hageman (1.2) was the only other defensive player yesterday to get an above average pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus.

- Raekwon Gilbert (@RXGilbert97)

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