The Falcons have been underdogs in every game this season but sit at .500 through six weeks. Atlanta has quietly become one of the most fun teams to watch, and they’re doing it all while punching above their weight class. With the talent level on the roster, the Falcons were never supposed to be in the playoff picture, but they’ve completely surpassed all expectations.
They’ve done it without dealing with many injuries. Cordarrelle Patterson has missed the last two games as he rehabs on the IR, and Atlanta did miss Kyle Pitts last week; however, for the most part, the core of this team has stayed healthy. That could all change this week. Several players went down with injury against the 49ers. The Falcons are hopeful most of them are not serious, but one they are concerned with is Casey Hayward. Arthur Smith even told reporters he was concerned about it too.
Falcons HC Arthur Smith said of the injuries in the secondary Sunday, Casey Hayward is the one they are concerned about long-term.
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) October 17, 2022
A.J. Terrell also left the game with what looked like a hamstring injury. He didn’t return, but from the team’s comments, the Falcons don’t seem to concerned. Isaiah Oliver, in his first game back from an ACL injury, also went down with an injury after notching an interception. Ta’Quon Graham left the game as well with a knee injury but would return in the fourth quarter.
If Hayward is indeed out for an extended period of time, the Falcons will likely turn to second-year corner Darren Hall to start opposite Terrell in Week 7. The defense will rely on a combination of Dee Alford and Mike Ford if Oliver cannot suit up come Sunday. The Falcons must dig deep if they want to slow down the potent passing attack of the Bengals. Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are as formidable as any receiving core in football, and the Falcons will likely be shorthanded in the secondary. Atlanta will once again be underdogs, but somehow, the Falcons always remain competitive.