The Falcons became the first team to start the year 3-0 with three straight fourth quarter comebacks. It has been a wild ride the first three weeks, but every Atlanta fan has to be ecstatic with the the hot start against very formidable opponents. With the Texans, Redskins, Saints, Buccaneers and Titans coming up on the schedule, the Falcons have a great chance to start the first half of the season with at least 6 wins, something Dan Quinn deserves a lot of credit for. This team has embodied a never give up attitude and it showed once again on Sunday. After a first half that saw the Atlanta defense get shredded by Brandon Weeden and company, the Falcons defense came out with life in the second half. The defense shut out the Cowboys in the second half and the Falcons as a whole outscored Dallas 22-0 in the second half on their way to a 39-28 victory.
Matt Ryan (+6.0)
Julio Jones (+3.9)
Jonathan Babineaux (+3.4)
Patrick DiMarco (+3.1)
Jake Mathews (+2.8)
Andy Levitre (+2.7)
There was a lot of good on Sunday, but it all started with the man under center. Matt Ryan put another brilliant performance together against a good Cowboys defense, and showed why he is one of the top quarterbacks in the game. After struggling in the first half, Ryan orchestrated the offense up and down the field in the second half leading to 22 second half points. He finished 285 yards and 2 touchdowns.
There does not need to be much more said about #11 in the red and black. Coming into the season, there was no doubt Jones was a top 5 NFL receiver, but after the first three weeks of the season, Jones has established himself as the best receiver in the league. Give credit Kyle Shanahan for finding creating ways to get the ball in the hands of the best player. Jones finished the game with a season-high 164 yard and 2 touchdowns. He has over 130 yards receiving in each game this season.
Jonathan Babineaux was the lone bright spot for the defense over the entirety of the game. He had multiple quarterback hurries and was a run-stopper in the middle of the defensive line. However, in the second half, the whole Falcons defense completely dominatef the football game.
Jake Mathews battled injuries and struggled throughout his rookie campaign. He did not exactly live up to his #6 over pick, but Atlanta still believed he had the tools to become an elite tackle in the NFL. Mathews has graded out positively in all three of the Falcons games this season. If health permits, Mathews looks to be on his way to becoming a great tackle in the league.
Andy Levitre struggled in his first couple starts in an Atlanta uniform. He has been able to be a solid pass blocker, but has really struggled in Kyle Shanahan’s Zone Blocking Scheme. On Sunday, Levitre graded out positively in both pass and run blocking. If the line as a whole can continue to hold up for Matt Ryan, it is going to be a long year for opposing defenses.
Paul Worrilow (-8.1)
Vic Beasley (-2.3)
Leonard Hankerson (-2.2)
Yes, you read that correctly. Paul Worrilow was absolutely dreadful on Sunday, especially in the first half. The Cowboys had a very conservative game plan with backup quarterback Brandon Weeden under center, and it worked to perfection in the first half. They ran right down the middle on the Falcons, and Worrilow was constantly out of position. And when they passed, it was usually to a back out of the backfield or short in the middle of the field. The Falcons were able to make the necessary adjustments at half, but it was a long day for Warrilow, who has been one of the leaders on the defense so far this season.
After his terrific week 2 performance, Beasley struggled throughout most of the game against the Cowboys. He has a tough task going against one of the best offensive tackles in the league, Tyron Smith. Smith got the best of battle for most of the afternoon, but Beasley was able to get his second sack of the season on a huge third down play in the fourth quarter.
Leanord Hankerson rated poorly for the third consecutive game. He has not had the best start in a Falcons uniform, and it will be interesting to see if Atlanta continues to keep giving him #3 receiver reps. Devin Hester has yet to play due to injury and Justin Hardy does not seem to be a factor in the offense at the moment. Hankerson has the job for now, but do not be surprised if he starts losing reps if he continues to play poorly.