The last time we saw the Atlanta Falcons in a game that counted, they lost a nail bitter on the last play of the game to the Philadelphia Eagles. On opening night we saw almost the exact same thing.
The Falcons lost to the Eagles 18-12, after Julio Jones landed out of bounds on the last play of the game. Jones had a monster game with 10 catches for 169 yards, showing no rust after not playing in preseason.
The problem was he was targeted 19 times while the rest of the Falcons had a total of 20 targets. The team ran it 18 times for 74 yards and outside of Jones’ production Ryan was 11-24 for 84 yards with one interception.
Ryan seemed shaky during the game. Even with the excessive targets he missed Jones on a few passes as well as other teammates. The Eagles defense sacked him four times and were in his face at almost every turn. The Falcons scored one time in five trips to the red zone. Their lone touchdown came on a Tevin Coleman nine yard run in the fourth but they couldn’t get a score through the air.
The Falcons defense played great and they kept the team in the game. They only allowed 232 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers. They looked fast and free flowing, much more fluid than the offense. They put constant pressure on Nick Foles, sacking him twice and forcing him into numerous bad passes.
They did allow 113 rushing yards which was somewhat of a concern. The Eagles were able to convert a few first downs by just simply handing it off to its stable of running backs.
The Falcons will need to shore up their run defense and figure out their scoring offensive inefficiencies. The play calling, especially in the red zone must change to find other targets. The defense can’t let teams just load up and run right at them.
Deion Jones finished with nine tackles and one interception for the defense. He was in mid season form, showing up all over the field.
There was a bit of controversy on an incomplete pass early in the third quarter. Julio Jones appeared to secure a 52 yard pass after initially juggling the ball. It was ruled incomplete and then later upheld by video replay. The NFL’s policy on what a catch is is still very unclear.
Safety Keanu Neal left the game twice and never came back after leaving the field in the second quarter. Neal tore his ACL and is done for the season, a major blow for Atlanta going forward.
The Falcons next game is at home on September 16th, where they will host the Carolina Panthers.