ATL Week 11 Recap: Falcons vs Panthers
Two weeks in a row, the Falcons defense has not allowed a touchdown and gotten 5+ sacks. Prior to the bye week, this was a defense allowing 30+ points a game. However, with 11 sacks, four turnovers and only 12 total points allowed in the last two weeks, they are rolling over competition. Walking out of Carolina with a 3-7 record, let’s recap Falcons vs. Panthers.
No Hooper, no Freeman, no problem. Calvin Ridley absolutely destroyed the Panthers secondary. He burned the defense for eight catches, 143 yards, and a touchdown. Falcons wide receivers have manhandled Carolina’s defense in recent memory, and Sunday just added to that. This Ridleys second hundred-yard performance, which brings him up to 614 yards on the season. If Ridley can keep it up, he may break 1000 this season.
As mentioned before, Atlanta was without starting running back Devonta Freeman. In his place, a trio of backs took over the load. Brian Hill leads the day with 15 carries, however, only finished with 30 yards. Kenjon Barner also got a couple of big runs, but the notable back was Qadree Ollison. In only his second game, Ollison got only four carries, but his very first NFL carry went for six. The rush attack has been prolonged this season, but it’s nice to see them get a score on the ground.
It’s very clear the offense hasn’t been the problem this year for Atlanta, and that was further cemented for the Falcons vs the Panthers.
Sacks, Picks and Three Points
Once again, the Falcons defense was electric. They performed even better than they did against the Saints. The pass rush was fearsome, as the Falcons got to Kyle Allen five times on the day. Adrian Clayborn led the way, recording two sacks in relief of Takk McKinley, who was injured on his sack. Vic Beasley got his second sack in as many weeks. Beasley may be steadily increasing his trade stock, which the Falcons can cash in on in the off-season.
When the pass rush wasn’t beating Allen into the ground, they were forcing bad throws. Bad throws that turned into in-completions, and better yet, four interceptions. De’Vondre Campbell started the turnover fest on Carolina’s first drive picking off a horrible pass. Then on the next drive, when the Panthers thought they would get their first touchdown, Desmond Trufant snatched the ball away in his first game back from a toe injury. Safeties Ricardo Allen and 2018 interceptions co-leader Damonte Kazee recorded their first picks of the season as well. The defense smothered Carolina, which helped the Falcons win vs. the Panthers.
The Falcons have gone ten quarters without allowing a touchdown and have been incredibly stout against two dynamic offenses. McCaffery got his yards, but Atlanta did an amazing job at stopping almost every scoring chance Carolina had.
The Falcons have their third of five straight divisional matches next Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There should be no question about the feast the defense will have this week if these last two games are any sign. The Falcons are well out of the playoff picture, but they clearly have a lot of pride and won’t lay down to their rivals.
Atlanta will be without tight end Austin Hooper once again and most likely without running back Devonta Freeman. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn left the Panthers game with a groin injury, and his status will be updated later this week.
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