The Falcons offensive shortcomings have come from every direction, and even when it was running on all cylinders, the defense faltered, like against the Vikings.
Still, most of Atlanta’s frustrations and losses stem from Arthur Smith’s baby — the offense. The head coach is to blame partly. There’s no arguing that, but this game is far too complex to put it on one person. Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder are far too careless with the ball, but the offensive line also deserves a portion of culpability.
It’s been very good at times and also very bad. There have been frustrating penalties in the red zone and terrible pass protection at times, but PFF still has the Falcons starting five as the third-ranked offensive line in football.
• Rookie left guard Matthew Bergeron had the best game of his young career against the Vikings, as he did not allow a single pressure on 43 dropbacks. He led all guards in pass-blocking grade (89.8) in Week 9.
• Left tackle Jake Matthews also kept a perfect slate in pass protection against Minnesota. His 91.0 pass-blocking grade led all offensive linemen in Week 9.
Best player: Chris Lindstrom
• Lindstrom has earned a positive grade on 55 run plays this season, more than any other offensive lineman in the NFL.
I don’t know if offensive line play is just down across the league or if PFF’s grading system is flawed, maybe both. There’s no way the Falcons’ offensive line has been a top 3 unit in the league.
Jake Matthews’ run blocking and Kaleb McGary’s pass blocking have seemingly regressed. Drew Dalman’s run blocking is elite but he leaves something to be desired in pass sets. Matthew Bergeron has actually impressed me but has taken his rookie lumps.
I do think the Falcons offensive line has been good overall, but to say they’ve been the third best group in football seems a bit overzealous.
Photographer: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire