The Falcons wanted to prevent a three-game slide before going into the bye week with the Saints waiting for them at the other end of it. Taylor Heinicke described the Week 10 contest as Atlanta’s Super Bowl.
The Cardinals were 1-8 as Kyler Murray made his 2023 debut after tearing his ACL last year, and he went out and embarrassed the Falcons. Arthur Smith’s team looked underprepared and outmatched by a 1-8 (???) football team.
In the waning minutes of the game, the Cardinals had the ball with a chance for Kyler Murray to lead a game-winning drive to set up the go-ahead field goal. Murray did it with his legs and arms, capping it off with a 33-yard completion to Trey McBride, who had a historic afternoon.
On Sunday, McBride became the first Arizona tight end to record a 100-yard receiving game since 1989. For much of the contest, he was covered by Richie Grant, whose struggles continued. After the game, McBride told members of the media that he wanted the ball if Grant was going to cover him.
“If this guy gets me man-to-man, I’ve been killing him all game, just give me a chance.”
Arizona Cardinals TE Trey McBride says he called for the ball from Kyler Murray before a big 33 yard reception to setup the game winning field goal.@PHNX_Cardinals | #BirdGang pic.twitter.com/wnxHTNkaJG
— Bo Brack (@BoBrack) November 13, 2023
It’s pretty embarrassing for the Falcons and Grant to have this said, but he’s not wrong. Atlanta’s 2021 second-round pick has struggled mightily this season. Grant has had lapses in coverage that have immediately resulted in touchdowns, missed tackles that would have prevented explosive plays, and just not developed as many had hoped.
It’s far too early to completely write him off, but if trends continue, the Falcons will have to eventually replace his starting snaps because he’s clearly a weak link on Ryan Nielsen’s defense.
I did want to add that Grant’s poor play isn’t the reason the Falcons lost. The primary catalyst is the quarterback position. Regardless of who is under center, Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder are holding this Ferrari of a skill group back.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire