The Atlanta Falcons started this crazy 2020 season at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Not many thought we would make it here, but here we are. Football is here and I could not be more excited.
The opponent Sunday, the Seahawks. In the past, a team has been known to have an explosive defense and a very balanced offense with Russel Wilson at the helm. And that’s the way they looked on Sunday. The Falcons, on the other hand, just tried to play catch up the whole game. There is some good to take from this game, but also some bad. Here’s what I took away from the game after watching Sunday afternoon.
The defense still needs some work:
To start the game, the defense was great. They came out of the gate aggressive, as we saw Tack McKinley sack Russell Wilson, on the first defensive snap for a loss of nine. Later in the same possession, Grady Jarrett would get his hands dirty and sacking Wilson for a loss of eight and forcing a tough third down. But, as you could guess, the Falcons secondary’s passing defense would give up a huge pass interference call on safety Ricardo Allen. The pass interference call would lead to an easy touchdown for Russell Wilson to Chris Carson on the goal line.
Besides the big run, the defense gave up to Russell Wilson in the first quarter, the run defense looked great. They allowed only 80 yards to a team that has a very explosive rushing attack. Most of the Seahawks offense came from the passing game, as Russel Wilson torched the Falcons for 322 yards on 31-35 passing, along with four touchdowns.
It felt like the secondary struggled all game long staying attached to the weapons Russel Wilson has in his offense. We saw Lockett and Metcalf explode for a near 100 yards receiving each. Metcalf caught a 38-yard bomb down the sideline on fourth down with the Falcons cornerback Oliver left in the dust.
Offense was amazing, as usual:
The Falcons started the game with the ball after winning the coin toss before the game. The question coming into the season was, “how can this offense become more balanced?” Or, “can Todd Gurley improve this running game?”. And I think a few of the questions got answered in the first half. Todd Gurley got the first three snaps going for 21 total yards to start the game. The balanced offense led the team downfield and got a score on the board first with a field goal.
The next possession would be all pass plays, granted they were a quick four and out. But this is a testament to showing that the offense can be balanced. We saw Bryan Hill get some run in this game as well. While only getting three carries, he was still able to put 12 yards on the board.
New addition Hayden Hurst didn’t get as many targets as some had hoped for, but he looked promising. Hurst hauled in three receptions for 38 yards on five targets. The Seahawks are good at covering tight ends with Linebackers like Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, so I’m not too worried about Hurst going forward.
Without getting his new weapon too involved, Matt Ryan still eclipsed 450 passing yards in Sunday’s game. Coming into this season, most people knew that the passing game wasn’t going to be a problem. Julio Jones did what Julio does, and hauled in nine receptions for 157 yards receiving on 12 targets. Calvin Ridley also had a great outing with nine receptions, 130 yards on 12 targets. This is exactly what the Falcons wanted to see from Ridley, a consistent number two option next to Julio. And Russel Gage picked right up where he left off from last season. With 114 yards on nine receptions. We saw Matt Ryan distribute his targets to his top receivers fairly well in this game, which can be another good sign of things to come in this system.
There is some positive to take out of this loss. With the NFC South being one of the toughest divisions this year, the Falcons still have a shot at second place in this division. On Sunday, the Panthers and Buccaneers both lost, while the Saints won. With all these scenarios playing out, and the Falcons taking a loss, Atlanta is still tied for second in the division. Dallas is the Falcons’ next opponent, and their offense didn’t look very well this past week.
This may be an opportunity for the defense to show out on Sunday, at 12 o’clock P.M. central time.
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