After the Falcons’ first season under Arthur Smith, there were glimpses of the highly regarded Titans offense the first-time head coach coordinated prior to coming to Atlanta. However, the personnel differences were far too great, and the Falcons’ offense was one of the worst units in the league.
In Smith’s first season, the Falcons offense averaged 18.4 points per game (26th), averaged 85.4 rushing yards per game (31st), averaged 303.8 total yards per game (29th), averaged 18 first downs per game (20th), 38.8% third-down conversions (19th), and averaged 28:10 time of possession (29th). Those figures look much different through three games in 2022.
Atlanta is averaging 26.7 points per game (9th), 156.7 rushing yards per game (5th), 354.3 total yards per game (14th), 22 first downs per game (9th), 40% third-down conversion rate (T-12th), and 30:31 time of possession (11th) through three weeks of the 2022 season.
It’s not just the numbers either; the eye test suggests a different Falcons offense this year too. Atlanta has consistently moved the ball on the ground, totaling over 200 rushing yards in the season opener against the Saints as Cordarrelle Patterson notched a career-high 141 yards against the Seahawks this past week.
The offense is beginning to mimic those Tennessee offenses that were so successful under Smith. The Falcons are establishing the run and deploying plenty of play action passes off of it, which helps a struggling passer in Marcus Mariota. Atlanta looks tough up front as Falcons runners average 3.7 yards before contact, which is the 5th-best mark in the league. They’re also running a lot more RPOs this year with a more mobile quarterback, totaling 24 plays through three weeks. It looks like a completely different offense, and the Falcons are actually exciting to watch every Sunday now.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire