All three Falcons offensive stars have been calling for the unit to pick up the pace to get on track. Going up-tempo seemed to work for the Falcons on Sunday against the Buccaneers.
The Falcons pushed the pace a bit on their go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. They went 55 yards on eight plays in 3:27 with quarterback Matt Ryan quickly finding receivers on short routes. Ryan was 5-for-6 for 41 yards on the drive, including a five-yard TD pass to Nick Williams.
The Falcons also moved the ball well when using the no-huddle near the end of the first half. They needed just 3:54 to go 63 yards in 10 plays on a drive that concluded with Shayne Graham’s 47-yard field goal to pull them within 7-6 with about a minute left in the half.
The Falcons substituted players during that drive but Ryan didn’t huddle and was quick to the line. He was 6-for-7 for 78 yards on the drive, including a 23-yard completion to Justin Hardy to convert a third-and-11 from the Falcons’ seven-yard line after Ryan scrambled away from pressure.
The drive stalled when Ryan fumbled on a hit by unblocked blitzer Kwon Alexander and Falcons running back Tevin Coleman recovered at the 50-yard line. But the offense seemed to find a rhythm when operating with no huddle and the Falcons used the strategy again in the fourth quarter.
Ryan and wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White have lobbied to push the tempo this season as first-year offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan hasn’t used it as much as they have in the past. Shanahan has said he’s not against the no huddle in principle but added that there are potential drawbacks to playing fast if the offense isn’t efficient.
“When you’re going fast all of the time it can mess up the (opposing) defense, but that can really mess up the offense,” Shanahan said earlier this season. “I feel pretty confident when we know where people are and we can block people. We’re going have a pretty good running game. When we don’t know where people are and they are all over the place and you’re trying to go fast, it’s a mess.”