Hot: Matt Ryan
When most quarterbacks get hit 13 times in one game, you would normally expect them to have a rough outing. However, Ryan had another MVP-caliber day against arguably the best defense in football at the moment. He tallied 335 yards, 3 touchdowns, and one tipped interception that Julio Jones catches 99% of the time. Ryan, as he has been doing all season, spread the wealth and found a total of nine receivers throughout the game. He most likely would have added to his stellar game-winning-drive count if it wasn’t for the no-call that pretty much every NFL fan knows about now.
Hot: Julio Jones
Apart from the dropped catch that led to an Earl Thomas pick, Julio Jones absolutely torched Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom that is so hyped up in Seattle. He finished the game with 7 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. Sherman was visibly frustrated throughout much of the game after losing his assignment on a couple of huge plays. When you combine those stats with the fact that Sherman committed a huge pass interference, it is clear that Julio won this matchup relatively easily.
Hot: Keanu Neal
Keanu Neal put together another big performance in only his fourth game in the NFL. He led the team with 10 tackles, 5 of which were solo. Neal put a couple of nasty hits on Christine Michael and faired well in coverage, tallying one pass deflection on the game. Keanu is catching the eyes of many analysts around the league, and has definitely been one of the best defensive rookies so far in 2016.
Cold: Robert Alford
Fans were hoping that Robert Alford could put his biggest weakness behind him going into this season. However, penalties continue to haunt the otherwise solid cornerback, as he was the recipient of another costly pass interference call on Sunday, not to mention he probably got away with another one on Jermaine Kearse. Alford is now tied for the league-lead in pass interferences and has 8 overall penalties through the first 6 games. Despite being one of the fastest cornerbacks in the NFL, he seems to have no trust in his recovery speed, instead resorting to grabbing and pulling, which he is not good at hiding at all. Hopefully Quinn and the coaching staff can help fix his technique, or else Alford may have a reduced role in the near future.
Cold: Eric Weems
For a man that his been returning punts for over 8 years in the NFL, Eric Weems really needs to step up his decision making. He made a boneheaded move again on Sunday, calling a fair catch on the three yard line when the ball mostly likely would have bounced into the endzone for touchback. Though normally a special teams ace, this isn’t the first time Weems has made a questionable fair catch call this season. Hopefully he’s just trying to boost Matt Ryan’s yardage stats, but he surely isn’t giving the offense the field position they desire.
Cold: Ryan Schraeder and Jake Matthews
Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Cassius Marsh combined for 8 QB hits and 3 sacks off the edge, absolutely going to work against the normally stout Falcons offensive tackles. After holding their ground against the Broncos, Matthews and Schraeder had a miserable first half in pass protection. Luckily, they got their act together in the second half, partly due to Michael Bennett’s knee injury from Matthews’ cut block. Regardless, they did not make the pocket at all comfortable for Matt Ryan, and will need to return to their normally excellent play for this offense to remain dominant.