Falcons Week 2: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not


Hot: Matt Ryan

The franchise quarterback was on a roll for the second week in a row, throwing for 396 yards with 3 touchdowns and and interception. Matt Ryan has arguably been the league’s best quarterback through 2 weeks of the NFL season, as he is top 3 in almost all of the main QB statistical categories. If you take out the ugly red-zone interception that also haunted him last year, he played one of the best games of his recent career against the Raiders. Ryan did a great job of spreading the wealth and absolutely broke down Oakland’s defense through the no-huddle for most of the second half. If he keeps this up and Kyle Shanahan allows him to keep running the no-huddle,  Ryan is on track for another Pro Bowl season.

Hot: Kemal Ishmael
Again filling in for the injured Keanu Neal, Ishmael was flying around the field on Sunday making plays. He finished the game with an outstanding 13 solo tackles, 15 total tackles, and a pass deflection. After this game, he has pretty much cemented himself to still have solid playing time after Neal returns. Ishmael has been one of the team’s best tacklers through 2 weeks and has faired  well in coverage, both of which will be very valuable throughout the rest of the season.
Hot: Offensive Line
Atlanta finished the game with a whopping 535 total yards of offense, with both the passing and running games clicking on all cylinders. Oakland has some huge run stuffers and a versatile Bruce Irvin to go along with one of the best pass rushers in the league, Khalil Mack. However, the offensive line limited the Raiders to only 1 sack on the day and were constantly creating holes for the running backs while also giving Matt Ryan plenty of time to throw. Chris Chester has been inconsistent at times, but the overall unit is what matters the most, and Alex Mack and the rest of the group rebounded very well after a disappointing week 1.
Hot: Deion Jones
Jones got the starting nod this season from Dan Quinn, and he has proven in just two weeks to be a real upgrade over Paul Worrilow. He has shown elite speed to roam in coverage while also being able to close gaps on running backs. He was the second leading tackler against Oakland, posting 10 tackles (7 solo). Jones really helped to contain Latavius Murray and showed a solid ability to wrap up and finish his tackles.
Cold: Vic Beasley Jr.
Despite being switched to strong-side linebacker for the 2016 season, Beasley has played the overwhelming majority of his snaps at defensive end to rush the passer. However, he has shown almost no improvement over last year through the first 2 games. He provided little pressure against strong Oakland offensive line, and still hasn’t found any type of counter move to use after he gets jammed up. He was credited with 1 sack, but it hardly counted as Beasley just happened to be the last person who touched Derek Carr before he ran out of bounds. Hopefully he just needs time to find his rhythm, but the first two games have not been very encouraging.
Cold: Dwight Freeney
Specifically brought in the rush on passing downs, the veteran also had trouble creating any pressure on Carr. It remains to be seen if Freeney is just in a slow start, or if he is running out of gas from all of his years of playing. Overall, the pass rush as a whole has been terrible, so Freeney and the others must step it up before the losses begin piling up.
Cold: Robert Alford
One of Dan Quinn’s primary area of emphasis after Week 1 was to limit dumb penalties. Robert Alford did quite the opposite on a bone-headed deep pass interference against Michael Crabtree in the endzone. Derek Carr clearly overthrew the ball and Alford could have picked it off himself, however he decided to flat out shove Crabtree to the ground while every ref was watching in order to come down with the interception. This pass interference call put the ball on the 1 yard line, costing the Falcons a turnover and tons of field position, and the Raiders proceeded to score a touchdown easily. Alford played decent apart from the penalty, but those are the types that can end up costing the team a win.



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