ReFo: Seahawks @ Falcons, Week 10
John Breitenbach highlights the Falcons' struggles against a Seahawks team that looks increasingly like the #1 seed in the NFC.
ReFo: Seahawks @ Falcons, Week 10
This season has been an absolute nightmare for the Falcons and the Seahawks compounded their misery Sunday. When the normally excellent Matt Ryan (-1.5) grades in the red three times in a row you know something isn’t right. Ryan amassed a +15.5 grade in the first six games but has seen his form nosedive grading at -8.2 overall in the last three. Without Julio Jones and with Roddy White only just returning from injury, Atlanta is struggling to stretch the field. Replacing an ageing plodder (Michael Turner) with an aging injury-prone back (Steven Jackson) has obviously not provided the spark they expected. Despite solid play from their rookie linebackers the loss of Sean Weatherspoon to injury and Jonathan Abraham to the free agent market loom large. After years of competing it looks like back to the drawing board for Mike Smith (if he’s kept around) and the Falcons.
On the other side Seattle looks as good as ever. The Seahawks are a great example of the fact that games aren’t just won in the trenches. Despite getting very little help from his offensive line, Marshawn Lynch (+4.9) is racking up the yardage. Imagine what he could do with a good unit in front of him that allowed the former Bill to get up a full head of steam more often. It’s amazing what the Seahawks’ passing game has done despite the fact that both Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice are out. Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are as tough a trio to cover as there is at the moment and Russell Wilson is giving them chances to make plays after the catch. Here are some individual performances…
Seattle – Three Performances of Note
Feed the Beast
Lynch has been on an absolute tear the past seven games grading in the green in every one of them. On Sunday he had the best-graded game of his career showing not only his trademark power but also excellent vision. Overall he gained 145 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Lynch had 81 yards after contact and forced seven missed tackles in the run game. He added three catches for 16 yards and another forced missed tackle as a receiver (+0.3). Lynch displayed his absurd lower body strength throughout the game, the most obvious example coming with 14.45 left to play in the fourth. On a stretch run off left tackle, Lynch ran through the first arm tackle without being slowed down, sent William Moore into the sideline with a vicious stiff arm and then proceeded to carry a crowd of players for an extra 5 yards and a first down.
The standout play in the passing game came with 10.50 to go in the first. Facing third and four, Lynch lined up in the slot and ran a quick out. Moore came up and contacted him 2 yards shy of the markers but the beast was not to be denied. He once again held off Moore with a stiff arm then spun away to get the first down. It took five Falcons to end the play and even then they could only combine to push him out of bounds. This was power running at its finest.
More for McQuistan
Paul McQuistan (-6.0) continues to prove he can’t handle a starting role in the league. The seventh year veteran consistently looks overmatched, although this time it was his run blocking that stood out in a negative way (-5.4). Overall, he allowed three tackles around the line of scrimmage, including one play where was absurdly slow off the snap and moved left on a run to the right allowing Jonathan Babineaux to get through untouched and tackle Robert Turbin for a 5-yard loss.
While it would be a stretch to say McQuistan was good in pass protection (-1.0) he was at least better than he has been in the past. He allowed a hit and two hurries on 29 drop-backs, the most egregious being the pressure he allowed at 2.02 in Q1 where (lined up at left guard) he was especially slow getting off the snap, allowing Babineaux to get to Wilson in around two seconds. Although the sample size was small, Alvin Bailey (+1.4) passed the eye test and certainly looked more comfortable than McQuistan ever has. Things can’t really get much worse so the Seahawks may as well give him a shot.
Low Reps, High Production
Tony McDaniel (+4.2) had a simply amazing game considering he played just 11 snaps. Despite appearing in just six run snaps, McDaniel graded positively on four of them. He showed a particular ability to get off double teams and disrupt plays, although his most impressive snap came when he was single blocked. The Falcons tried to run outside to the right with a pitch to Jackson but McDaniel was having none of it, driving Garrett Reynolds three yards into the backfield before shedding the block and making a tackle after a one yard gain. McDaniel also had a hurry in only five pass rushes (+0.8) driving Reynolds 6 yards into Ryan’s lap on a bullrush. With Clinton McDonald (-2.5) suffering a dip in form, is it long before McDaniel starts to see an increase in playing time?
Atlanta – Three Performances of Note
There was a lot of bad and very little good for the Falcons, but Peter Konz (-3.5) was perhaps the worst of the lot. He really struggled in pass protection as a rookie but looked to have improved this year. Konz’s performance against the Seahawks undid a lot of that good work, however, as he looked completely overmatched (-3.9). Overall he allowed three hurries on 44 drop-backs, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Konz was also partly responsible for a sack and would have given up another pressure but for Ryan scrambling out. Although Reynolds was primarily responsible, Konz could have done more to help on a double team on Michael Bennett with 2.30 to play in the third quarter where he split the duo and brought Ryan down. Brandon Mebane made the center look silly on a pressure with 11.11 to play in Q2 where he made an excellent swim move and forced Ryan to check it down. On the other hand, it was a mixed day for Konz in the run game (+0.2) as he allowed a tackle for a loss but made a couple of nice seal blocks apart from that.
One-man Wrecking Crew
With everyone else struggling around him Jonathan Babineaux (+6.4) stood out. Overall he made six stops in the run game on just 31 snaps and it could have been even better as he missed a tackle after exploding into the backfield. The aforementioned tackle for a loss was one highlight, but this was a game littered with them. James Carpenter, in particular, couldn’t handle Babineaux’s quickness and power. He showed great strength on one run aimed off left guard with 3.20 to play in Q1 where he used one arm to drive Carpenter inside, got off the block, and made the tackle after a 2-yard gain.
There were also more positives than negatives in the run game where Babineaux had four hurries. He had the aforementioned pressure on McQuistan but also beat Carpenter almost immediately off the snap with a quality inside move early in the first quarter. Babineaux did miss an opportunity for a gift sack, however, as Wilson’s stiff arm kept him at bay as he scrambled out. The Falcon may have had an easy matchup but there’s no doubt he took full advantage.
More Required from Moore
William Moore (-3.5) had a tough game against the Seahawks. Normally reliable, he couldn’t handle the Seahawks’ running game and made the kind of errors you don’t normally see from him. He’s now missed eight tackles in the past six games after making all those attempted in the first three. Moore nearly missed as many (2) against the Seahawks as he made (3). He had missed tackles on Lynch in the run and pass game but also made a crucial mistake in coverage. Although it doesn’t show up in the statistics, his poor angle on a wide receiver screen at 3.53 in the second quarter allowed a big play.
Moore started lined up at slot corner between Asante Samuel at LCB and Joplu Bartu at LB covering the inside slot. Wilson threw wide to Golden Tate and for some reason Moore went inside Bartu opening a big lane where he had initially been and taking his pursuing teammates completely out of the play. Tate would end up with 46 yards on the play due to Moore’s mental error. The coverage numbers (one completion on two targets for 9 yards) don’t show it but this was a bad game for the Falcons’ safety in that area. He also graded negatively in the run game (-0.6) as Michael Robinson proved particularly effective against him at the second level. Shut out on four pass rushes and committing a personal foul on Tate culminated in the –3.5 grade.
– Matt Ryan was under pressure (21 times), more plays than he was kept clean (19 times)
– Jacquizz Rodgers forced three missed tackles on his three rushes
– Every Seahawks’ defensive lineman recorded at least one pressure with the exception of O’Brien Schofield who only had four rushes
In many ways I feel like this should go to Golden Tate for, in my opinion, the catch of the year so far, but in the end for grading positively on 16 of 24 rushes earns Marshawn Lynch the honors.
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