It’s hard to be a Falcons fan. One week you’re getting embarrassed by Sean Payton’s gadget quarterback, and the next week you’re beating the brakes off a winning football team. These are the days of our lives.
I don’t know if the Falcons are a good football team. And I don’t know if they are as bad as their record suggests. But I do know that they demolished a solid opponent yesterday, generating more questions than answers. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst individual performances from yesterday’s decisive win.
Deion Freakin’ Jones
Debo has been frequently overlooked this season, but he made sure we all saw him yesterday. To cap off the Raiders’ first offensive drive, Debo got a big stop on 4th and 1, resulting in a turnover on downs. In the third quarter, Debo intercepted a Derek Carr pass and ran it back 67 yards for a touchdown, putting the Falcons ahead, 22-3. It’s worth noting that that was his 5th career pick-six.
Tuioti-Mariner has played solid football for the Falcons since they signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2018, but he had a special game yesterday. Tuioti-Mariner recovered two fumbles, one of which he forced sacking Derek Carr. Raheem Morris had nothing but positive things to say about him after the game (hat tip to the AJC’s Jason Butt for the quote):
“Jacob was all over the place,” Morris said. “He (recovered) a couple of fumbles, it felt like he was everywhere. He plays special teams, he makes tackles for us. I can’t say enough good things of what Jacob was able to do for us, just because where he’s come from as a man. He was certainly fired up and played well for his team.”
Oh, Foye. How did we ever live without you? Foye brought us more of the same yesterday. On the first play of the Raiders’ second offensive drive, Foye sacked Derek Carr, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Tuioti-Mariner. That play and Debo’s big stop during their first offensive drive set the tone for a dominant performance by the Falcons defense.
This won’t necessarily be a popular take with every member of the Falcons media, but Koetter didn’t do anything yesterday that should inspire confidence going forward. The Falcons averaged just north of 4 yards per offensive play, and the offense looked downright pedestrian at time. But for an otherworldly performance by the Falcons defense, the Falcons would’ve lost that game.
I am Hill’s biggest fan, but if you take away his 22 yard run (when the Falcons had a 37 point lead during garbage time late in the 4th quarter), he averaged only 2.75 yards/carry yesterday. That’s simply not good enough. A big game from Hill would’ve inspired confidence in his ability to take on a bigger role next year, but once again, he failed to capitalize on an important opportunity. He wasn’t bad—he just wasn’t great.
Looking to get their ground attack going in the game’s final two minutes, the Falcons turned to Schaub. Instead of pounding the rock like the ferocious, insatiable manbeast the Falcons believed him to be, Schaub took a knee 3 times, racking up -4 rushing yards. Woof.