Falcons Versus Bengals: 3 Takeaways


There are still more questions than answers on the Falcons defense

Week by week, Atlanta will be working on trying to patch the holes left on their defense from the multitude of injuries they have suffered. This week, the Falcons went through a major shake up due to the loss of Ricardo Allen. Dan Quinn opted to give rookie Isaiah Oliver his first shot at starting on the outside. Robert Alford spent most of his time on the opposite side of the field, while Desmond Trufant played a lot of nickel corner guarding Tyler Boyd (poorly I might add). This allowed Brian Poole to occupy the strong safety spot.

What did all the changes add up to? Well, how about 37 points once again in regulation, except this time the Falcons didn’t score enough to push the game into overtime. For the majority of the game, guys were out of position or unable to handle one-on-one matchups. It makes sense for Oliver, who was a second-round pick, to receive increased reps, but he has to improve and fast. The final touchdown to A.J Green was a clear case of a player who simply has not been there before. Eventually, Dan Quinn is going to find a makeshift lineup that can prevent teams from scoring 40 every game, but right now, there are certainly more questions than answers.

Matt Ryan is a legitimate MVP candidate

Let’s be clear about something: If you have ever, at any point over Matt Ryan’s 11-year career, thought the Falcons should move on from him at QB, you belong in the looney bin. The Boston College product is, without a doubt, the most valuable draft pick in Falcons’ franchise history.

But it is ok, even though it is a little claustrophobic on here, it is not too late to hop on the Matt Ryan bandwagon. Once again, he is putting himself in position to capture another MVP trophy, which would put him where he belongs on a short-list of elite quarterbacks. Since his lackluster showing in week one, Ryan has 12 total touchdowns compared to just a single turnover.

What makes an MVP run even more likely is a poor Atlanta defense. The only way the Falcons are going to dig themselves out of this 1-3 hole is if Ryan keeps putting up video-game numbers. With the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers getting off to slow starts, the MVP race is as open as ever, and you can bet Matty Ice will be in the conversation until season’s end.

It’s Takka Time!

Can we get this started please, Atlanta? Takkarist McKinley has hands down the best name on the Falcons, and if you follow him on social media, he has quite the personality as well. He also has a nose for getting after the quarterback and came up with a critical three-sack performance on Sunday.

McKinley missed last week’s contest with a groin injury. It’s no coincidence as to why Atlanta was able to apply zero pressure to Drew Brees. Obviously, Vic Beasley’s NFL sack-leading campaign in his second season was a bit of a fluke. There is no way he is near the top pass rushers in the NFL. However, the Falcons do have somebody that might be, and that’s Tak.

The second year is usually a monster one for pass rushers. Last year, McKinley was able to come up with six sacks and two more in the postseason, some pretty impressive stats for a rookie. Numbers that he is already about to surpass this year. In just three games this season, McKinley has racked up five sacks, tying him with Khalil Mack and J.J Watt for second in the league. DeMarcus Lawrence leads all players with 5.5 sacks. Oh, and those three guys have all played in four games compared to McKinley’s three.

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