WAS-ATL Grades: Devonta Freeman powers sloppy Falcons
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Falcons’ 25-19 overtime victory over Washington.
– An up-and-down day from Kirk Cousins (-0.5). He was solid, but struggled with accuracy and ball placement which resulted in two interceptions. His biggest issue was downfield accuracy. He only completed four passes that traveled more than 10 yards in the air.
– While he allowed three quarterback disruptions, this was the most assured first-round pick Brandon Scherff (+2.3) has looked, earning a career-best grade for his efforts. The fifth overall selection has looked every bit the rookie initially, but this was a sign that perhaps he’s adjusting to life in the NFL.
– Much was made of the Falcons matchup with the lowly Washington secondary, but they more than held their own in this regard. Bashaud Breeland (+2.9) led the way and only allowed four receptions for 39 yards on 12 targets. He also hauled in an interception and had two passes defensed.
RT Morgan Moses (+3.0)
CB Bashaud Breeland (+2.9)
DE Jason Hatcher (+2.7)
OLB Preston Smith (+2.5)
RG Brandon Scherff (+2.3)
– Highlighting the Falcons’ struggles was the performance of Matt Ryan (-2.8). He was mediocre the entire game and was careless with the football, which resulted in three turnovers. With Julio Jones not looking fully healthy, it’s becoming clear the team lacks a real second option and it’s impacting the intermediate and deep passing attacks where Ryan completed only five of 18 attempts.
– A very quiet day for Vic Beasley (-1.2). He ended up with just two hurries and one truly impressive play where he beat Morgan Moses inside with a spin move. It can’t be stressed enough that Beasley is a rookie facing a monumental task with a revolving door of top tackles on his plate; Trent Williams the latest to give him little room rushing the passer.
– A strong performance from Devonta Freeman (+1.6) with the only blight being a poor fourth quarter fumble that could have cost his team dearly. It didn’t, but it’s a worry that he’s fumbled in consecutive weeks. Outside of that, he’s been a perfect fit for the running game, with decisive cutting a key component in a dominating rushing attack.
RT Ryan Schraeder (+5.2)
LG Andy Levitre (+2.2)
LB Nathan Stupar (+2.1)
SLB Kroy Biermann (+1.8)
DLT Jonathan Babineaux (+1.8)