The Falcons will square off with the Jaguars in London, and the matchup I will be watching is Atlanta’s offensive line against Jacksonville’s defensive line — a movable object vs. a stoppable force.
The Falcons offensive line was dominated by the Lions front seven. They couldn’t get anything going on the ground nor protect Desmond Ridder when he dropped back to pass. Detroit ended up with seven sacks and probably should’ve had a few more. Ridder had no time to throw, and the running backs had nowhere to run.
The offensive line, which was regarded among the league’s best units coming into the season, has been the biggest disappointment of the season. Jake Matthews‘ run blocking has regressed. Matthew Bergeron is experiencing typical early-season struggles as a rookie; Drew Dalman hasn’t improved in pass sets, and Kaleb McGary has reverted to his pre-2022 levels of play in pass protection.
It’s the perfect storm for a letdown. Fortunately, they’re facing a unit that leaves a lot to be desired. The Jaguars’ pass rush has been anemic through three games.
Coming into the offseason, Jacksonville’s pass rush, much like Atlanta’s, was the biggest issue the club was facing. The only thing they did was draft Tasir Abdullah in the fifth round. Don’t look at the sack totals.
Three of the Jags’ four total sacks came against the Colts; two of which came from Josh Allen chasing Anthony Richardson out of bounds. Despite facing four backup offensive linemen last week against the Texans, the Jaguars only hit C.J. Stroud four times without recording a sack. That’s all with two first-round picks in Josh Allen and Travon Walker along the defensive front.
The Falcons pass protection has been suspect, at best. The Jaguars pass rush has been pedestrian. What gives? Your guess is as good as mine.
Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire