Bates, however, was the MVP of Sunday’s contest. The gem of Atlanta’s free agent class notched two takeaways on New Orleans’ drives that would’ve likely ended in points. If the Saints had scored on the pair of possessions, Bates’ forced fumble and pick-six netted a 21-point swing. Check out the 92-yard interception returned for a touchdown from the sky cam that the Falcons have popularized.
Bates took it to the estate
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 27, 2023
You could even consider it a 28-point swing if you count the Falcons touchdown drive following the Taysom Hill fumble.
The pick-six was Bates’ fourth interception of the year, which ranks third in the NFL. He is the only play in the NFL to be top 10 in both forced fumbles and interceptions. To say the signing has been a home run for Atlanta doesn’t even do it justice.
Bates finished with a game-high 12 tackles, a pass breakup, two quarterback pressures, a forced fumble, and an interception returned for a touchdown. He’s been a revelation on the backend of Ryan Nielsen’s defense. He’s the reason the Falcons sit atop the division, and somehow, his Week 12 performance isn’t indicative of just how important he’s been to this team.