Atlanta’s first primetime game did not disappoint.
Even through the drama of Julio Jones running 54 yards into the endzone on 4th down, Nelson Agholor dropping a game-winning touchdown then converting a 4th & 14, and Zach Ertz’s final stretch on the last play of the game, this one was packed full of action and a statement win for Atlanta.
After the Panthers were embarrassed at home and the Saints got drubbed by LA, Atlanta had a chance to move into a tie for first in this division, and they capitalized. In classic Falcons fashion, this one came down to the wire, but Vic Beasley, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and especially Isaiah Oliver stepped up when it mattered. This defense had a lot to prove after getting gashed by Dalvin Cook, and they proved themselves today.
One problem spot was the play of Matt Ryan. I will defend Matt Ryan until the ends of the earth, but he played pretty terrible for the 2nd week in a row. He threw 3 interceptions (2 were very bad), but otherwise didn’t play that bad. He’s gonna have to clean that up; the defense and opposing team wont bail him out like this every week. He’s up to 5 INTs, he only threw 7 all of 2018. On the bright side, this was Matt’s 37th game-winning drive since 2008, most in the NFL.
Dan Quinn’s defense once again was questionable at times, for example, rushing three on 4th and goal to allow a Philly touchdown in the 2nd half and the aforementioned 4th and 14 that Nelson Agholor converted. Dirk Koetter was better, but this coaching staff has got to improve, especially on the road.
Finally, let’s talk about the man of the hour. Quintorris Lopez Jones stepped up again and proved he’s worth his new contract. His first touchdown was an easy 1 on 1, but the screen pass that was busted open by Jake Matthews was all hustle. Julio finished with five catches, 106 yards and 2 TDs (and a tackle). Not only did he save the game; he moved into 1st all-time in Falcons’ history for receiving yards with 10,868.
Big props to Isaiah Oliver, Devonta Freeman, and Vic Beasley. Three guys with a lot of question marks coming into this game, and they all played a lot better. This team looked like an actual Super Bowl contender this week, but they have a long way to go. Philly did not play a great game, and it’s hard to win making that many mistakes on the road. Don’t worry Eagles fans, at least you have the Phillies.