The Falcons have a lot to clean up after the drubbing in Detroit. One area that doesn’t need any addressing is the pass rush, and the Jaguars pass protection is something Atlanta can exploit.
Per ESPN, Jacksonville ranks 26th in pass block win rate and 29th in run block win rate. Rookie right tackle Anton Harrison has the third-worst PBWR (70%) at the position, while Walker Little, Ben Bartch, and Luke Fortner have well below average PBWR at their respective positions.
The Falcons interior defensive line is one of the most menacing in football. David Onyemata and Grady Jarrett each rank among the league’s best against the run and rushing the passer; this is something that should give Atlanta an edge.
Atlanta only has three sacks through three weeks, putting them on pace for 17 this season, but as I have pointed out, the underlying metrics in regard to pressure tell an entirely different story.
Atlanta ranks tied for 9th in quarterback hurry rate, forcing opposing signal callers to get rid of the ball early 11.7% of the time. The Falcons are tied with the Saints in that metric, which is a defense heralded for their pass rush presence. Even more impressive, the Falcons defense ranks 2nd, behind only the Bills, in quarterback knockdown rate (15.6%).
Pressures account for hurries, knockdowns, and sacks. Atlanta ranks tied for 4th in pressure rate, producing one of those three results on 29.1% of dropbacks. So while the sacks are among the fewest in the league, it’s not because of a lack of pressure. The Falcons just haven’t converted those hurries and knockdowns into sacks.
This is a week where the Falcons can take advantage of the Jaguars offensive line. I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta matches their season sack total in London this week.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire