Re-Focused – Falcons @ Seahawks, Week 4

| October 6, 2011

The Seahawks were coming off a big divisional game against the Cardinals where they showed a ton of improvement on offense – an area that looked hopeless with out Sidney Rice. Tarvaris Jackson continued to develop and he put together a game where he graded out higher than the three previous, but it wasn’t enough to knock off the high-flying Falcons.
.
Atlanta got a much-needed cross-country victory that helped them stay alive in the always competitive NFC South. The Falcons needed key players on both sides of the ball to step up and right the ship before their season headed south even more. They answered the challenge and came together after getting beat a week earlier in ugly fashion by Tampa Bay.
.

.

Atlanta – Three Performances of Note
.

1) Containing the edge
.
The first three weeks of the season have been anything but a joy ride for the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line. Protecting Matt Ryan like they have done so well in years past may prove to be the downfall of this team if things don’t start to click, fast. Coming into this game Ryan had been sacked a total of 10 times, but a trip to the great Northwest seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. As a unit they finished with an overall PFF grade of +3.6 and didn’t allow a sack or hit on Matty Ice and the stand out performer on the line was Tyson Clabo. Clabo’s play wasn’t highlight reel material, but he did bounce back after two poor pass blocking performances against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. On the 47 snaps he spent pass blocking on Sunday, he only allowed one quarterback pressure.
.

2) Only up from here
.
It seems to be a reoccurring theme that a trip to Seattle is all a player needs to get things turned around. Ray Edwards can attest to that. Struggling mightily coming into this game, some were wondering if Edwards was worth all the offseason hype. While he had a decent day at getting after the quarterback with a couple of pressures and a quarterback hit, Edwards earned his money in the run game (+1.6), an area where he excelled last year, but this year has been up and down through the first three weeks. He ended up with two defensive stops on the day and won a couple of nice head-to-head matchups with Seahawks big-money free agent Zach Miller in the second half.
.

3) Idle feet
.
As much as I praised the Falcons for keeping Matt Ryan clean I can’t do the same for the lack of holes they opened up for Michael Turner. Yes, I know Turner had the nice 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but if you take away that long run he averaged 1.96 yards per carry (25 carries for 49 yards). Seattle is a very good team at stopping the run, in fact they are our top team against the run at +33.7 – Atlanta is our fourth-worst team in terms of run blocking with a putrid -24.6 grade. While I didn’t really expect them to get worse from a year ago, because that would be hard to do, they indeed did. Turner isn’t getting any younger, but the man needs holes to run through if he’s going to prove his worth.
.
.

Seattle – Three Performances of Note
.

1) Solidifying the middle
.
With the tackles having an off day it was time for the Seahawks interior to pick up the slack. Paul McQuistan who was only making his second start of his career, coincidentally pulled in the best game of his career. McQuistan, who was beat up pretty badly last week by Calais Campbell, did a nice job of holding his blocks and even getting to the second level on some; he earned a +1.6 grade overall. John Moffitt, the other guard has had a disastrous start to his career, but he showed a nice ability to bounce back and hold his own in the trenches. On separate occasions he made two key blocks on screen passes in the third quarter. One was at the 7:02 mark and the other one was at 5:38. His pass blocking skills weren’t as on point as the run and screen game, but he did show the ability to hold his own at times against one of the best pass rushers in the game, John Abraham.
.

2) On the rebound
.
It’s so easy to talk about Chris Clemons every week because he is so consistently good, but this week it was Raheem Brock’s turn to shine. Brock was absolutely outstanding last year as a rotational player registering 11 sacks and 45 quarterback pressures. He hasn’t really picked up right where he left off, but, in fairness, he has always kind of been a slow starter. Brock easily turned in his finest performance of the season on Sunday in every phase of the game. Out of Seattle’s 82 defensive snaps he only played 39, but when given the opportunity, he didn’t disappoint. Managing two defensive stops, two pressures and a quarterback hit can only help Brock’s cause for garnering more opportunities.
.

3) Not Revis island
.
Turning in another poor performance this week was cornerback Marcus Trufant. As well as the Seahawks do against the run they always struggle in coverage and surprisingly this week it wasn’t he and Brandon Browner both because both have had some rough games early on. Trufant was targeted 15 times total; he only allowed about half of the targets to be completed, but they were big gainers (eight catches for 97 yards). Granted, Trufant had a tough cover most of the day against Roddy White, but it was the second week in a row where he gave up big yardage. Last week he let the Cardinals’ receivers have their way with him.
.
.

Game Notes
.
Tarvaris Jackson’s +6.6 grade is the highest we’ve ever given him.

● When the Falcons ran behind left tackle Sam Baker they averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

● Every Falcons defensive lineman that played at least one snap registered a hit or a pressure.
.
.

PFF Game Ball:

Ray Edwards, DE, Atlanta Falcons

Hats off to Ray Edwards on registering his first positive performance of the year after getting off to a slow start.
.
.

Follow Tyson on Twitter: @PFF_Tyson … and give our main Twitter feed a follow too: @ProFootbalFocus

.

.

.

.

.

  • radical

    “…didn’t allow a sack or hit on Matty Ice…” – From “Containing the Edge.

    “…a quarterback hit can only help Brock’s cause for garnering more opportunities.” – From On the Rebound

    How does that work?

    • Rick Drummond

      Hey radical, Brock’s hit on the QB was ‘unblocked’ – not credited to a particular offensive player.