ATL-SF Grades: Gabbert solid in defensive battle

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the 49ers’ 17-16 victory over the Falcons.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

ATL-SF Grades: Gabbert solid in defensive battle

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the 49ers’ 17-16 victory over the Falcons:

Atlanta Falcons

– The Falcons had trouble creating anything on the ground with C Mike Person (-2.4) and RG Chris Chester (-3.2) getting bullied by San Francisco’s interior d-line. It made positive gains hard to come by for running back Devonta Freeman (+1.6), who gained more yards after contact (20) than total yards (12). His work as a receiver was a good supplement, though, as he caught eight of nine targets for 67 yards while making LB NaVarro Bowman whiff on several plays. Just another solid day for Freeman, who maintained his spot as the third-highest graded RB this season.

– It was surprising Matt Ryan didn’t look deep more often against a thin secondary. Just three of his 43 attempts traveled more than 20 yards downfield and 35 were aimed either behind or within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He did target Julio Jones 16 times, gaining 137 yards out of it, but otherwise favored the checkdown while facing moderate pressure (43% of dropbacks).

– Despite the loss, the Falcons defense had a strong performance, especially DT Paul Soliai, who helped keep the 49ers under four yards per carry on the ground. Soliai compiled a season-high overall grade with two pressures and three defensive stops in 32 snaps while making life difficult for center Marcus Martin (-4.0) at the point of attack. That was evident at 14:02 of the fourth quarter, when he beat Martin to take down the rusher for no gain.

Top performers:

DT Paul Soliai (+4.1)
LB Kroy Biermann (+3.2)
RT Ryan Schraeder (+2.5)
CB Desmond Trufant (+2.0)
RB Devonta Freeman (+1.6)

San Francisco 49ers

– Unsurprisingly, Blaine Gabbert fared much better from a clean pocket (+2.5) than when he was pressured (-2.0). His second interception (4Q, 7:20) was an example of the latter, as the Falcons brought extra rushers on the play and Gabbert reacted by back-footing an extremely poor line drive right to Vic Beasley. Otherwise, he played a solid game with a couple of big-time throws, though ended up grading slightly better as a rusher after picking up several first downs on scrambles throughout the game.

– This was the third-straight game above +1.0 for the 49ers’ first-round draft pick, DE Arik Armstead, who managed five combined pressures in 22 snaps. Armstead did most of his work in the first half against Atlanta’s interior line with his play at 1:09 of the second quarter standing out. He also drew a holding penalty in the third quarter which nullified a significant first down conversion for the Falcons.

– CB Marcus Cromartie (+1.8) had just 25 career regular season snaps coming into the game, and none this season, but held up well at the LCB spot on Sunday. He was targeted four times in primary coverage against Julio Jones, which resulted in just three catches and 33 yards. Cromartie’s best play of the game came at 0:12 of the third quarter when he got his hand on the ball to deny Roddy White a third-down reception.

Top performers:

DE Arik Armstead (+2.0)
QB Blaine Gabbert (+2.0)
CB Marcus Cromartie (+1.8)
LB Michael Wilhoite (+1.7)
LG Alex Boone (+1.7)

  • crosseyedlemon

    Atlanta seems to be in a free fall and look more like Pigeons than Falcons with each passing week.

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  • Greg Long

    What do you tell the players in Atlanta that lost to an opponent that started their 4th and 5th string cornerback, backup quarterback, 4th string running back, the league’s worst offensive line, and devastating offseason?

    • Hekthore Warro

      I was surprised too. Niners deserve some credit or at least what they did on offense on fiest half then defense “sealed” game on 2nd half but for me it was Falcons did less as a team to win specially not trying a TD on that 4th & goal.We’ll see if Niners are for real or just a mirage when they face Seahawks on their turf.

    • ccix

      If you look at the PFF season grades, we do NOT have the worst O-line.

      • Al

        Only culmulatively graded. It’s a flaw in their ranking. The right side is definitively the worst. They changed it up this game somewhat though so I suspect it helped. Doesn’t matter if the left side can give you 5 seconds if the right side might as well not be there. And they are the worst run blocking.

  • Tim Edell

    For all those handing Dan Quinn the Coach of the Year award after 6 games…how can you justify to your players kicking a FG from the 1 yard line down 4 with 3 minutes to p!ay?!!?

  • etyb

    There are three things certain in life–death, taxes, and the Atlanta Falcons playing down to their competition every single year.

  • Backinmd

    Don’t know what it is with the Falcons ? .. When they start the season with three, four wins in a row something happens — then they lose the next say two out of three, or three out of four to lesser opponents …Remember this happening before a few years ago ..