Falcons Week 1: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Posted on Sep 13 2016 - 2:20pm by Shailin Singh

Hot: Tevin Coleman

Tevin Coleman was one of the few bright spots in a game where the Falcons’ running game was essentially shut down. However, it was through the air that Coleman made his mark, finishing with 95 receiving yards on 5 receptions. He only rushed for 22 yards, but the offensive line as a whole was completely overpowered by Tampa Bay’s front seven. Coleman showcased his elite breakaway speed and previewed how dangerous he can be after-the-catch on short throws and screens from Matt Ryan.

Hot: Matt Ryan

This may not be a very popular opinion, but considering the play of the offensive line and Kyle Shanahan’s iffy playcalling, Ryan actually played pretty well against the Bucs. He had 334 passing yards with 2 touchdowns, which is great to see after last year. Ryan also finished with a 69% completion rate, but to be honest, that should have been 5-15 percent higher, but he had a few passes dropped and a couple more batted down at the line, neither of which are his fault. He had a couple throws that were off but that can be expected from time to time from any quarterback. The only major knock on his game on Sunday was the fact that he rarely tested the Bucs deep, but Kyle Shanahan can also take some blame for that.

Hot: Grady Jarrett

There was not much to like about the defense at all Week 1, but Jarrett played well in his first game as a full-time starter. He only had 3 total tackles, but was disruptive against the run throughout the game and often forced Doug Martin and Charles Sims to the outside. Jarrett finished the game with the highest run defense grade of his career with an 83.5, according to Pro Football Focus.

Cold: Jake Matthews

After a great 2015 campaign in which he only allowed 1 sack the entire season, Jake Matthews had his hands full against Tampa Bay’s marquee free agent, Robert Ayers. He was flagged for 2 costly offsides penalties and also allowed a sack early in the game. The offensive line, including Matthews, was supposed to be a strength heading into 2016, but it sure did not look like it against a stout Buccaneer defense.

Cold: Robert Alford

Poor Robert Alford had an abysmal game as he constantly found himself getting matched up with an outstanding receiver in Mike Evans. Alford was exposed on multiple occasions and was definitely subpar, but he shouldn’t have been in those situations nearly as much as he was Week 1.

I will never understand why Dan Quinn refuses to let Pro Bowl CB Desmond Trufant shadow other team’s top receiver, instead opting to have Alford and Trufant stay on their specific sides. This has proven to be extremely exploitable by any smart offensive coordinator, with OBJ beating up Alford last year and Mike Evans doing the same this week. If Dan Quinn doesn’t change this soon, expect opponents to put their top receiver up against Alford most of the time, while Trufant has his elite talent go to waste on the other side.

Cold: Pass Rush

Atlanta’s pass rush was probably this team’s biggest question heading into this season, and by the looks of last game, nothing has changed since we had a league-worst 19 sacks in 2015. Unsurprisingly, the defense didn’t record a single sack on Sunday and only recorded 5 QB hits on 33 passes by Winston. Winston had way too much time to find open receivers, which ultimately led him to have 4 TD passes. Vic Beasley was nonexistent, and the only few real pressures the defense had were from either Adrian Clayborn or Dwight Freeney, but neither of them really forced Winston to get the ball out any faster.

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