Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Report card: Eagles take Falcons lunch money

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The Eagles kept Matty Ryan off the field as they beat the Falcons, 24-15. The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and Justin Horowitz discuss what went wrong for the Falcons.

PHILADELPHIA – Falcons coach Dan Quinn was not very happy with the loss to the Eagles.

Just when Quinn thought he had the team on a path to greatness, it took a step backward and blew a fourth quarter lead for the third time this season when the Eagles bullied the defensive front and took their lunch money.

If the Falcons could close out games, they would be 9-1 and be talking about going after one of the top seeds for the NFC playoffs. The Falcons took a 15-13 lead in the slugfest with the Eagles, but couldn’t hold it.

They also blew fourth-quarter leads against the Seahawks and the Eagles.

Quinn was not happy with the run defense getting steam rolled and the special teams giving up 146 yards on kickoff returns, including a 52-yard return.

Here are the grades:

Game balls: None awarded in a loss.

Quarterbacks, C-plus. The Falcons offense amassed 303 total yards as quarterback Matt Ryan finished the day 18-of-33 for 267 yards and one touchdown. Ryan extended his streak of games with 200-plus passing yards to 49 and his streak of games with at least one passing touchdown to 12. Also, Ryan eclipsed the 3,000 yard mark on the season (3,247). This is the second time in his career that he’s thrown for over 3,000 yards in the first 10 games of the season. A drop by Julio Jones and an untimely offensive pass interference penalty by rookie tight end Joshua Perkins stymied Ryan’s comeback effort after the Eagles reclaimed the lead. Ryan completed passes to a season-low six different receivers. Ryan struggled most was on non-pressured passes. On 18 non-pressured throws, he completed just 10 of them for 81 yards and an interception. This led to a QB Rating of 44.0 on these attempts, according to

Running backs, B-minus. Devonta Freeman could never get into a rhythm and averaged 4.1 yards per carry on 12 attempts. He had 49 yards rushing. With the Eagles dominating time of possession, the Falcon had to get away from the rushing attack. Running back Terron Ward had one carry for minus one yard. He was seen holding his right arm awkwardly and heading to the x-ray room after the game. Tevin Coleman should be back after the bye week.

Wide receivers/tight ends, B-plus.  All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, who surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for the third straight season, had a key drop with 5:26 to play that would have kept a drive alive. This is the third time in franchise history a receiver has passed 1,000 yards through the first 10 games of the season (Jones 1,189 – 2015; Roddy White 1,017 – 2010). Jones finished the game with 10 receptions for 135 yards, marking the sixth time this season he’s clipped the 100-yard mark, and the 34th time in his career his accomplished the feat. His 1,105 yards through the first 10 games of the season are the most in the NFL this year, and is tied for the seventh most receiving yards for a receivers first 10 games of the season since 2000, according to Radar 360. Mohamed Sanu had only two catches for 14 yards. Taylor Gabriel ran a nice double-move route on his 76-yard touchdown play.

Offensive line, D-minus. The line didn’t give Ryan a clean enough pocket. He was sacked twice and was hit six times. Overall, the Falcons averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Right tackle Ryan Schraeder and right guard Chris Chester both has false start penalties. Chester continues to be a liability protecting Ryan. On 37 pass protection snaps, he allowed 7 pressures. Ryan was pressured a total of 17 times in the game, according to

Defensive line, F. The defensive line got blown off the line of scrimmage. The defense gave up a season high 231 yards rushing. The previous high was 155 yards against Oakland in the second game of the season. Ryan Mathews became the first running back in 15 games to rush for more than 100 yards against the Falcons. Tyson Jackson was not pleased with the effort and was not looking forward to “Tell the Truth” Monday. “It doesn’t matter how many sacks that you get in the National Football League,” Jackson said. “People today are impressed about sacks and sacks and sacks, but if you can’t stop the run you are going to have a long day no matter what football team you are playing. We have to do a better job. We have to stop the run.”  The Falcons had two sacks and two quarterback hits.  Jackson was very much a non-factor. On 11 pass rushes, he was not able to generate a single Sack, Hit or Hurry. Then on 28 snaps against the run, he did not register a Tackle, Assist or a Stop, according to  Grady Jarrett was the Falcons most effective interior defender. On 28 snaps at defensive tackle, he two tackles, three assists and two stops. He also tied his season-high in snaps with 49. Dwight Freeney's downward trend continued in his first game back after suffering a thigh injury against Green Bay. He forced just two total pressures on 19 pass rushes, according to That's just six over the last three weeks. This is certainly a downward trend from the 18 he earned between Weeks 3 and 5.

Linebackers, D: Deion Jones led the way with 11 tackles. De’Vondre Campbell had a forced fumble overturn by replay.  Philip Wheeler (4 tackles), LaRoy Reynolds (3 tackles) and Paul Worrilow (3 tackles and 1 on special teams) also received some action as the Falcons were pushing all the buttons to try to get the Eagles’ run game slowed down. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz caught six passes for 55 yards. Jones was exposed in coverage. He was targeted 10 times and allowed 8 receptions for 66 yards, according to Darren Sproles had the most success against him by catching 4 of 5 targets.

Defensive backs, C-minus. Jalen Collins, Robert Alford and Brian Poole were in position and didn’t give up any big plays. Collins was starting for Trufant. Poole got into trouble a couple of times in coverage. Poole also had a fumble recovery in the second quarter. Safety Keanu Neal had a big-hit on Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews that will likely draw a fine. He finished with eight tackles, a pass break up and a forced fumble. He’s starting to make an impact on the unit and give it some personality.

Special teams, D. The Eagles had the No. 1 special teams units in the league, according to  Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood made sure the Eagles had good starting position. The combined to return five kickoffs for 146 yards. Barner had returns of 31, 31 and 52 yards. After the Falcons took a 15-13 lead, Barner busted his 52 yard return to set the Eagles up at the Falcons’ 45 yard line. Punter Matt Bosher left the game with a hamstring injury. Kicker Matt Bryant punted twice as his replacement.

Coaching, C-plus. The Falcons had eight penalties for 67 yards and continued to have pre-snap penalties. There was almost another 12-man on the field penalty, but the Falcons got the timeout while three players were trying to get off the field.  This one was on the players. The Eagles didn’t do anything fancy. They lined up and played smashmouth football with the Falcons. The kickoff coverage unit did not meet the challenge of controlling the Eagles’ dangerous return game.     

NEXT UP: After the bye week, the Falcons will host the Arizona Cardinals at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 23-20 on Sunday to improve to 4-4-1. The Cardinals play at the Vikings on Sunday.

GAME 10: Eagles 24, Falcons 15

5 things we learned from the Falcons' loss to the Eagles

Ryan, offense slowed down to a crawl

Perkins stalls key drive with costly penalty

Defense gets blown of the line of scrimmage

Keanu Neal can expect fine but Falcons' biggest issue is injuries (Trufant and Tamme)

Falcons go into bye week wrong way -- beat up by Eagles

What Dan Quinn had to say after the loss to the Eagles

What Matt Ryan had to say after the loss to the Eagles

What the Falcons had to say after the loss to the Eagles

PHOTOS: Falcons fall to the Eagles

5 things we learned from the Falcons' rout of the Bucs

GAME SEVEN: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 in OT

5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Chargers

Dan Quinn's gamble with house-money backfires

6 penalties 'unacceptable' for Falcons offensive line

Philip Rivers confounds Falcons with short passes: 'He picked us apart'

Matt Ryan's late-game interception leads to overtime loss

PHOTOS: Chargers rally to beat Falcons

GAME SIX: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24

5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Seahawks

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons didn't win, but they made one guy believe (me)

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons got jobbed but did themselves proud

Matt Ryan's turnovers were costly

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

Seattle slows down Falcons' running backs Freeman, Coleman

Ryan Schraeder, offensive line rebounds in second half

Julio Jones: 'It was just a missed call'

What the Falcons had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

Richard Sherman non-commital on pass interference non-call

PHOTOS: Falcons at Seahawks in Seattle

GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16

5 things we learned from the Falcons upset of Super Bowl champs

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons rock a rookie in the Rockies

What Dan Quinn have to say after the win over Denver

Coleman amassed 163 yards to power the offense

Vic Beasley has breakout game with 3.5 sacks

Kemal Ishmael moved to linebacker, led team in tackles

What the Falcons had to say after the win over the Broncos

Photos: Falcons battle the Broncos

GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 48-33 win over the Panthers

Tweetcap: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

Old pro Freeney shows new trick with Falcons

Falcons' rookie Neal holds on vs. Olsen

What Julio Jones had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

Alford battled; Collins to return

Early view in NFC South isn't what most expected; Falcons on top

GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 45-32 win over the Saints

Falcons, Saints protest with unity circle before game

REPORT CARD: Falcons earned high marks for drubbing Saints

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What the Falcons had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

Keanu Neal makes strong debut for Falcons

Falcons' Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home

AJC POWER RANKINGS: Falcons best in NFC South?

GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28

5 things we learned from the Falcons' win over the Raiders

Trufant's heads-up play saves the day

Tight ends help to power offense

Weatherspoon plays strong in first start since 2013

Matthews, Schraeder held Mack sack-less

JEFF SCHULTZ: Falcons put on offensive show and win

What Matt Ryan had to say after beating the Raiders

What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Raiders

GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24

5 things we learned from the Falcons' loss to the Bucs

No sacks for new-look Falcons pass rush

Julio Jones not worried about his ankle injury

Falcons have a case of the "no-huddle" blues

REPORT CARD: Falcons can't 'gift' opponents 17 points

FILM REVIEW: Beasley missing in action

AJC'S NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where are the Falcons?

Hageman charged is domestic violence case



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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.