It wasn’t all bad in Falcons loss to Chargers

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The Falcons and Chargers met in a Week 9 contest at Mercedes Benz Stadium, and the game went exactly how you’d expect with these two teams. A microcosm of the history of these franchises occurred in the final minutes of regulation as the Chargers were driving to kick the game-winning field goal. Austin Ekler ended up fumbling inside the 20-yard line, which was picked up by Ta’Quon Graham and returned around midfield, then subsequently fumbled and recovered by Los Angeles. The Chargers would then respond by getting back into field goal range and winning as time expired. It was a disappointing end to a hard fought game, but it wasn’t all bad for the Falcons.

Tyler Allgeier looked unbelievable and even posted a 44-yard run in the first quarter, the longest from scrimmage this season. The rookie finished just one yard shy of 100 yards on the ground, adding another 24 yards through the air. As Cordarrelle Patterson returned from injured reserve, there was some speculation about how the touches in the backfield would be distributed. The first-year running back out of BYU has certainly made it difficult for Arthur Smith and the coaching staff. Allgeier looked patient, balanced, powerful, and even a little shifty on his carries Sunday.

Speaking of Cordarrelle Patterson, the 31-year-old veteran didn’t miss a beat. He didn’t have the several explosive plays we’ve become accustomed to, but when it mattered most, Patterson punched it into the endzone twice for the Falcons, one being an absolute mauling of a Chargers defender on his way to the promise land.

Staying with the running back theme, the Falcons’ ground game continued its success. Atlanta totaled over 200 rushing yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. The Falcons managed just 114 passing yards too. It really is astounding this offense continually out-rushes the passing facet of the offense. On the season, the unit has posted 1,415 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. Compare that to 1,466 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

Moving to the other side of the ball, the defense looked abysmal for the most part, outside of the first two drives of the game. However, Rashaan Evans turned in the best performance of the season. He had several pass breakups, run stops and hurries that resulted in failed third-down conversions. He even poked the ball out of Ekler’s hands at the end of the game, which should have at least forced overtime. Evans has been an excellent free agent signing, and he just turned in the best performance of the season.

Sticking with the defensive theme, Troy Andersen and Richie Grant also had impressive games. The rookie is slowly acclimating to the NFL, earning more playing time. He had a near sack and batted a pass at the beginning of the second half, showcasing his athleticism. Grant had several impressive open-field tackles and even hauled in an interception, which probably should’ve given the Falcons the win.

There were multiple instances — Arthur Smith’s decision-making, Marcus Mariota‘s overthrows, Drake London‘s fumble, etc. — were the Falcons came up short. But there were still silver linings.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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