PHI-ATL Grades: Falcons WR Julio Jones impresses
Here are the top takeaways and highest graded players from the Eagles-Falcons game:
– It seemed unlikely that QB Sam Bradford (-1.4) would score a positive grade after a poor first half, and so it proved. He completed just four passes over 10 yards in the air all night, as the Eagles took advantage of their up-tempo style, coupled with the Falcons’ confusion, to pick up big yards after the catch (204 out of 336).
– Where was the pass rush? The defense managed a sack, two hits and three hurries all night (as well as a sack on a play called back) with only DE Fletcher Cox (+1.8) making his presence felt. Given the struggles of the Atlanta line in preseason, it’s disappointing that OLB Connor Barwin (-2.5) and OLB Brandon Graham (-0.8) turned a combined 54 pass rushes into just one disruption.
– ILB Kiko Alonso (-3.6) did produce a highlight-reel play, but that didn’t overshadow his rough return to action. He had some trouble meeting Falcons FB Patrick DiMarco (+1.4) in the hole, and was far from on point with his tackling. It may take awhile for him to get back to his best, though the 49 snaps suggest he’ll be a big part of the Eagles plans this year (RILB DeMeco Ryans, -2.0, managed 28).
NT Bennie Logan (+3.1)
SS Malcolm Jenkins (+2.9)
RT Lane Johnson (+2.8)
HB Darren Sproles (+2.2)
ILB Mychal Kendricks (+2.1)
– Not the usual outing you’d expect from QB Matt Ryan (-1.1). He threw two bad picks and nearly gave up one more (the dropped interception was more the result of a wide receiver slipping). It wasn’t all bad, however, as he hit three-of-four balls over 20 yards in the air, and looked comfortable with an offensive line doing a stellar job.
– First rounder DE Vic Beasley (-1.9) had a largely quiet day, save for two moments. His first was a heads up batted pass, but the truly exciting play (from the Falcons’ perspective) was his hit on Eagles QB Sam Bradford (-1.4). He turned the corner on one of the best LTs in the game, Jason Peters (0.2), and delivered a crunching hit within 2.5 seconds of the ball being snapped. More plays like that will soon justify his 2015 top-10 draft selection.
– It would be rude and foolish not to comment on the excellence of WR Julio Jones (+5.7). The standout player in this game, his 141 yards receiving and two touchdowns didn’t tell the whole story, as he had a further three first downs called back. Overall, it was a monster game for Jones.
WR Julio Jones (+5.7)
RG Chris Chester (+2.8)
WR Roddy White (+2.6)
DT Ra’Shede Hageman (+1.8)
FB Patrick DiMarco (+1.4)