3 Takeaways: Falcons at Saints

Atlanta does not have the worst defense in the league

The Falcons defense has not performed well so far this season, and that did not change Monday night. Atlanta’s defense was lifeless aside from one tipped interception that Deion Jones took to the house that effectively sealed the win for the Falcons. Even as bad as the Falcons defense has been so far this year, I was thankful for them after watching the Saints attempt to play on defense on Monday. Matt Ryan carved up the secondary without even using Julio Jones, while Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman racked up what seemed like an easy 200 yards rushing. Atlanta was only stopped twice in the entire game, on their way to 45 points and even took a kneel at the goal line to end the game. The Saints offense is still at the top of the NFL, but it is hard imagining them winning many games with that defense.

Kudos to Kyle Shanahan

Like most Falcons fans, I have been hard on Kyle Shanahan, but I have to give credit where credit is due. The Saints defense looked atrocious, but a lot of that had to do with the high level that the Falcons offense was running at. Every play looked crisp, Matt Ryan looked comfortable and the running game continued to succeed. The last two weeks, Shanahan has let Matt Ryan loose a little to run the no huddle offense and it has clearly paid its dividends. Shanahan has also found a perfect balance of speed and strength in the running back combo of Coleman and Freeman. Both of these guys are game-changers, and Shanahan has done a terrific job of utilizing both early in the season. The beginning of last year started terrific for the offense, so I am still not completely sold on Shanahan, but I am definitely hopeful.

Say it ain’t so: The Falcons got a sack?

Yes, the Falcons technically had a sack coming into Monday, but it came on a short loss when Derek Carr scrambled out of bounds. On Monday night, the defense got its first legitimate sack and it came from and unlikely player. Atlanta blitzed Desmond Trufant off the corner and he went unattended for a huge hit on Brees. It was so nice to see Dwight Freeney join in on the action and record his first sack of the season. The ageless wonder got to Brees with a straight bull-rush for the Falcons second sack of the game and third of the season. For the most part, Brees had all day to throw, but the Falcons were at least able to touch Brees a few times in this game.

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