Falcons report: Strategy and personnel
09-29-2010, 05:40 AM (This post was last modified: 09-29-2010 06:32 AM by falcon057.)
Falcons report: Strategy and personnel
Falcons Team Report
Yahoo! Sports 3 hours, 30 minutes ago
Over the last two games, the Falcons’ offense has achieved near-perfect balance.
The Falcons rushed for 202 yards and passed for 228 against the Saints. In the 41-7 rout of Arizona, the offense rushed for 221 yards and passed for 225.
The Falcons have held onto the ball for an average of 38:31, which leads the league.
The Falcons have put together 12 drives of at least nine plays, and they’ve scored a field goal or touchdown on 11 of them.
“Long drives are tough on defenses when you can’t get off the field and you’re just out there and you’re battling your tails off to try to get a stop, and you’re not able to get a stop,” Falcons coach Mike Smith(notes) said. “It’s an advantage to the offense.”
They had an exhaustive 19-play drive against the Saints that wiped out most of the second quarter, taking 10:39 off the clock. They also came up with two 13-play drives against Pittsburgh and a 16-play drive against Arizona.
Against the Saints, the Falcons scored on all five of their long drives—lasting nine, 19 11, nine and 12 plays.
The Falcons want to run the football and control the clock, and that was particularly important against the Saints’ high-powered offense.
There are ancillary benefits gained from sustaining drives.
“It builds confidence on this team and gets that chemistry on this team to another level,” said running back Michael Turner(notes), who rushed for 114 yards on 30 carries against the Saints. “We know we can get the job done.”
• The Falcons, playing a more aggressive brand of defense, had two sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery against the Saints.
Several players are coming up with plays.
They have seven sacks on the season by five different players. They have six interceptions by six different players.
• Quarterback Matt Ryan(notes) is gaining confidence in his running backs in the passing game.
Fullback Ovie Mughelli(notes) had two more receptions for 29 yards. He picked up first downs on his 18-yarder and his 11-yard catch. He has four catches on the season after catching just 21 passes in three seasons with the Falcons.
“They don’t give me any respect,” Mughelli said. “They don’t even cover me.”
Michael Turner also caught two passes and Jason Snelling(notes) had one reception. The running backs have combined for 13 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown.
• The Saints tried to trick the Falcons with a flea flicker, but cornerback Brent Grimes(notes) intercepted the pass intended for Devery Henderson(notes).
• TE Tony Gonzalez(notes) caught seven of his eight passes for 99 yards, including a 13-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass from Matt Ryan and a fabulous catch of a tough ball on fourth down late in the second quarter that kept a drive alive on which Atlanta scored just before halftime.
“I started the game pretty hot,” Gonzalez said. “From there, they went to that bracket coverage. I’m somewhat used to that, but that’s how it goes. Luckily we get creative and I still get the ball.”
Gonzalez pointed out that early in the game the Saints double-teamed Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White(notes), who ended up with six catches for 69 yards.
“When that happens you’re going to get one-on-one coverage and when that happens you should get open,” said Gonzalez. “I know myself if I get one-on-one coverage, I should be able to get open, I don’t care who it is, a safety, a corner, a linebacker, I should be able to get open.”
• Running backs Michael Turner and Jason Snelling got the ball on the final 10 plays and 11 of the last 12 leading up to Matt Bryant’s(notes) 46-yard field goal that won the game.
Turner, who rushed for a game-high 114 yards, carried five times in the final drive for 22 yards.
“We’ve still got some things to clean up, but it was a fight, tooth and nail to the end, and this was a great win for our team and this organization,” Turner said.
Snelling, who finished with 62 yards, got 24 of them in the last possession.
“It’s great to have the backs we have, to have someone fresh in there at the end of the game,” McClure said. “Well, I don’t know if they were fresh, but when you’ve got good backs like that and you keep them rotated, they stay relatively fresh and it paid off for us.”
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
• SLB Sean Weatherspoon(notes) finished the game with seven total tackles (seven solo) and a quarterback hit.
• WLB Mike Peterson(notes) forced a fumble on fourth and one when he pounded Saints running back Chris Ivory and DE Chauncey Davis(notes) recovered the loose ball to give Atlanta possession.
• QB Matt Ryan has thrown five touchdown passes this season. He threw two against the Saints. It was the second straight game that Ryan has thrown two or more touchdown passes.
• WR Roddy White is second in the league with 25 receptions.
• DT Jonathan Babineaux(notes) recorded his second sack of the season. Since 2008, Babineaux has recorded 11.5 sacks which ranks among to the top defensive tackles in the NFL over that span.
• DE John Abraham(notes) increased his sack total to 38.0 in a Falcons uniform with a sack against the Saints. Abraham ranks seventh on the Falcons all-time sacks list and sits just .5 sacks behind Don Smith, who totaled 38.5 in six seasons from 1979-84.
Report Card Vs . SAINTS
Passing Offense: B-plus—Matt Ryan completed 19 of 30 pass attempts for 228 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game with a 108.8 passer rating, marking the 11th time in his career that he has recorded a 100-plus point passer rating and the Falcons are now 11-0 when Ryan posts a rating over 100.
Rushing Offense: A-plus—Running backs Michael Turner and Jason Snelling combined to rush for more than 175 yards for the second consecutive game. Their bruising runs helped the Falcons dominate the time of possession. In the key overtime drive, they ran the ball on 10 of 12 plays to help the offense get in position for Matt Bryant’s 46-yard game-winning field goal.
Pass Defense: C—The Falcons elected to play much more zone coverage and gave up 365 yards passing and could not contain Lance Moore(notes), who had six catches for 149 yards. Moore got open for an 80-yard touchdown catch. Also, tight end Jeremy Shockey(notes) got loose for eight catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Rush Defense: A—The Falcons did not let out a big run like they did in the first two games. They held the Saints to 43 yards rushing on 16 carries and created a fumble on a fourth-and-1. The Saints’ longest run of the day was a 12-yarder by Thomas.
Special Teams: B—The coverage units have struggled this season. Moore set up the Saints first touchdown with a 72-yard punt return. Also, they kept a Saints drive alive when a short punt hit the back of Thomas DeCoud’s(notes) foot when returner Eric Weems(notes) was telling the players to get out of the way. Matt Bryant’s 46-yard field goal in overtime was the game-winner. He also made a 23-yarder in the third quarter.
Coaching: B—Falcons coach Mike Smith pulled out all of the stops and went for on fourth down, three times. The team was successful on two of the gambles, which helped to keep a 19-play drive alive. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey did not deviate from the plan to run the ball to keep Drew Brees(notes) off the field and the plan paid dividends.
09-29-2010, 11:20 AM
RE: Falcons report: Strategy and personnel
Good info. I like plenty of the points, such as offensive balance and our more aggressive D.