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

Report card: Falcons' grades reflect sloppy victory

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The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter & CineSport’s Justin Shackil break down the Falcons 10-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans, concerns about Matt Ryan and Devonta Freeman's continued dominance.

The Falcons squeaked by the Tennessee Titans 10-7 to improve to 6-1 on Sunday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Running back Devonta Freeman led the way with 130 all-purpose yards and backup free safety sealed the deal with a late interception while Matt Ryan continued to struggle and kicker Matt Bryant missed this third field goal in three games.

Here are the grades from the win.

Game balls: Robenson Therezie, who was demoted after the Saints games, came up with the game-saving interception.

Quarterbacks, C-minus. Ryan tossed two interceptions while completing 22 of 38 passes for 251 yards and one touchdowns. The Falcons were 5 of 14 (36 percent) on third down and were 1 of 3 (33 percent) in the redzone. It was their second lowest game on third down and tied for the worst game in the red zone. He finished with a passing rating 64.7, his second lowest mark of the season.

Running backs, B. Freeman rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries and average 4.6 yards per carry. Why Freeman didn’t get the ball on from the 1-yard lane on two plays must be explained by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan when he addresses the media on Thursday. Tevin Coleman had three carries for 14 yards.

Wide receivers/tight ends, C. Julio Jones caught nine of his 17 targets for 92 yards and one touchdown. Roddy White and Nick Williams had three catches each. Tight end Jacob Tamme also had three catches. Backup tight end Tony Moeaki caught his first pass with the team.

Offensive line, C. Tackles Ryan Schraeder and Jake Matthews continued their strong play. But Matthews and left guard Andy Levitre both had drive-killing holding penalties. Center Mike Person returned to the lineup and had a solid game. The line didn’t give up a sack and only allowed one quarterback hit.

Defensive line, C. The Falcons held the Titans to 77 yards rushing after getting gashed early in the game by Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster. The pass rush was sub-standard, but they didn’t get Zach Mettenberger on the move and forced two interceptions. The Falcons blitzed 11 times to add the pass rush. They had been averaging nine blitzes a game.

Linebackers, C-plus: Justin Durant, playing with a brace on his left arm, led the Falcons with eight tackles and one tackle for loss. Paul Worrilow had four tackles and had an 84-yard interception return that was nullified by blindside blocking penalty on O’Brien Schofield. Brooks Reed is playing strong, but not posting up tackle stats.

Defensive backs, C. The Titans receivers were open with too much cushion. An established and accurate NFL quarterback would have hit the open receivers. Second-round pick Jalen Collins played 37 snaps (67 percent) in the nickel and Robert Alford slide down inside for Phillips Adams, who just played two snaps on special teams. Strong safety William Moore left the game with a groin injury. Free safety Ricard Allen finished with six tackles.

Special teams, C-plus. Punter Matt Bosher averaged 43.5 yards net and gross on four punts. He played two inside the 20 yard line. Kicker Matt Bryant missed a 47-yard field goal attempt wide right. He has missed three field goals over the last three games. Coach Dan Quinn said he’s not concerned about Bryant, who’s 37.

Coaching, C. The offensive numbers are steadily declining on third down and in the Redzone. The play-calling in the red zone must be address. After starting the season 10 of 13 in the redzone over the first four games, the Falcons are 5 of 10 (50 percent over the last three games. The coaches did elect to blitz slightly more against the inexperienced Mettenberger, who was making his seventh NFL start.

NEXT UP: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) fact the Falcons (6-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

How did the Falcons get to 6-1?

Here's a look back at the game stories, news and notes from their win over the Titans (10-7), the loss to the Saints (31-21) and their victories over the Redskins (25-19 in OT), Texans (48-21), Cowboys (39-28), Giants (24-20) and Eagles (26-24).

TENNESSEE GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 10, Titans 7

10 comments from Dan Quinn after the Falcons' 10-7 victory over the Titans

NEW ORLEANS GAME COVERAGE -- Saints 31, Falcons 21

5 things we learned in the Falcons' 31-21 loss to the Saints

Saints hand Falcons their first loss -- Quarter by Quarter

Matt Ryan: 'It was a tough night'

5 comments from Dan Quinn on the Falcons' loss

What the Falcons had to say after their 31-21 loss to the Saints

Why didn't the Falcons feed Freeman? -- Mike Check

Falcons flash some of their ugly past -- Jeff Schultz column

Falcons-Saints by the numbers

Tweetcap: Falcons flop in New Orleans

WASHINGTON GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 25, Redskins 19 in OT

Falcons pull out 25-19 victory over Redskins in OT -- Quarter by Quarter

5 things we learned in the Falcons' 25-19 win over the Redskins

Alford's 59-yard interception return saves the day

What the Falcons had to say after the 25-19 win

Ryan, offense struggle with turnovers

Mark Bradley column: The Frenetic Falcons: Five-and-oh-my!

Roddy White hears support from the crowd

15 comments from Dan Quinn on the Falcons' victory

Roddy White: 'I'll be a Falcons for life'

Tweetcap: Falcons beat Redskins in OT

TEXANS GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 48, Texans 21

How the Falcons hammered the Texans -- Quarter by Quarter

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 48-21 win over the Texans

Devonta Freeman stars again for the Falcons

What the Falcons had to say after pummeling the Texans

9 comments from Dan Quinn on the Falcons' victory

Jeff Schult'z column: Devonta Freeman, 7 TDs -- who didn't see that coming

Schraeder, Matthews keep Watt in check

Hankerson turns in a 100-yard receiving day (second of his career)

Houston's J.J. Watt tips hat to the Falcons

Former Falcons great Jessie Tuggle honored during Texans game

COWBOYS GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 39, Cowboys 28

Falcons 39, Cowboys 28 -- Quarter by Quarter

5 things we learned from the Falcons' 39-28 win over the Cowboys

Mark Bradley's short takes: Julio, Freeman and the defense

Devonta Freeman is catalyst for Falcons run game

QUOTEBOARD: What the Falcons had to say after beating Dallas

Julio Jones does it again: 12 catches, 164 yards and two touchdowns

Mark Bradley column: A dominant half shows what he Falcons could be

Offensive line cracked the run-game code

Ryan directed second-half fireworks show

Beasley help lead resurgence on defense

Where's Falcons wide receiver Roddy White?

GIANTS GAME COVERAGE -- Falcons 24, Giants 20

Falcons 24, Giants 20 -- Quarter by Quarter

5 things we learned from Falcons' 24-20 win over the Giants

Mark Bradley column -- Don't stop believin': Dan Quinn's men are 2-0

A record day for Julio Jones: 13 receptions

Kroy Biermann: 'We're a ball-attacking team'


5 things we learned from Falcons' upset win over Eagles

Matt Ryan leads Falcons to 26-24 win over the Eagles

Jeff Schultz column: An impressive debut by Quinn's new Falcons

Mark Bradley column: A new year: The Falcons dig deep and hang on

Julio Jones moves into fifth on Falcons' all-time receiving list

Tevin Coleman powers new rushing attack

Ricardo Allen seals victory in first start at free safety

4 questions with Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones after the game

Falcons rookies Beasley, Jarrett make impact

Falcons' revamped offensive line shows positive signs

Falcons quotes after their victory over the Eagles

Falcons-Eagles: By The Numbers



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About the Author

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