Arthur Smith developed clear game plan to neutralize Buccaneers pass rush

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The Falcons had three touchdown drives in the 48-25 loss to the division rival and defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. This comes after the Eagles defense was able to keep Arthur Smith’s offense out of the endzone in Week 1, which has to be considered an improvement if nothing else. The difference was the few successful drives the Falcons had against the Bucs were all induced through quick passes.

On Atlanta’s fourth offensive possession, Matt Ryan completed four passes for 56 total yards that were all described as “short pass” on ESPN’s play-by-play. The Falcons second offensive possession of the second half ended in a touchdown with Ryan completing eight passes for 79 yards that were detailed as “short pass.” In the Falcons final touchdown drive, Ryan had a similar approach with the short, quick passes.

Ryan and Smith were in sync in what they wanted to do differently against Tampa than Philly. In Week 1 against the Eagles, Ryan’s average time to throw was 2.67,  which was the fourth-longest time to throw across the league that week. Against the Bucs in Week 2, that time dropped to 2.59 — the 23rd longest time to throw among quarterbacks that week.

The offensive line is porous and one of the bottom units in the league, so the approach Arthur Smith had was a wise decision. Kaleb McGary, Matt Hennessy, and Jalen Mayfield make it nearly impossible for any deep routes to develop without max protection. So much so, 19 of Ryan’s 46 attempts against the Bucs were thrown in less than 2 seconds. Smith’s offense isn’t heavy in deep shots anyway, but it might be even less with this offensive line in 2021.

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