ATL-JAX Grades: Much-improved performance from QB Matt Ryan
Here are the most noteworthy performances and top grades as the Atlanta Falcons halted their losing streak with a 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
– A much better day for Matt Ryan (+2.1), who reversed his personal slide with a solid outing. It wasn’t the most spectacular effort you’ll ever see, but it was devoid of major mistakes, with his only pick coming on a batted pass after a poor attempt at cut blocking by Jake Matthews (-0.6). As has become his norm, he did his best work over the middle with no completions beyond 20 yards in the air (just two attempts), but going a healthy six-of-nine on intermediate throws.
– Not a great day for star cornerback Desmond Trufant (-2.0). He had his hands full with Allen Robinson, who beat him for three catches, 57 yards, and a touchdown, while he was also flagged for two penalties. Trufant has been impressive this year, but his work in the second half of the season hasn’t matched what he did when the Falcons were soaring.
– Back in the end zone, and remaining in the top two of our seasonal grades at the wide receiver position, the season Julio Jones is having is all the more impressive because you know Atlanta is going to keep feeding him the ball. He was targeted 13 times, catching passes against five different defensive players as Atlanta tried to catch Jacksonville off guard.
Top Graded Players:
DL Adrian Clayborn (+2.8)
C Mike Person (+2.7)
QB Matt Ryan (+2.1)
S Kemal Ishmael (+2.1)
CB Robert Alford (+2.0)
– How differently things could have been for Blake Bortles (+1.9). Despite playing with a nonexistent running game, he was able to move the ball downfield, but it was his point swinging pick at the end of the second half that ultimately put the Jaguars in the kind of hole they just couldn’t recover from. The good news? As he has most of the year, he challenged the defense downfield with 10 completions over 10 yards in the air. The bad news? He struggled when pressured, completing just one pass on the nine plays he was pressured.
– A good day for Jared Odrick (+4.7). The big-money free agent signing had a sack, three hurries, and a batted pass that led to an interception. But more than that was his work in the run game, where he was constantly disruptive. It’s been a spotty first year in Jacksonville for the former Dolphin, but there have been flashes like this that suggest he could be a building block of a defense that must improve.
– A rough outing for Luke Joeckel (-1.9), who continues to struggle to live up to the tag of being a former second overall pick. His four hurries allowed was his worst output since Week 10, but given the struggles Atlanta has had generating pressure, you’d have thought this would be a game for him to make a statement. Joeckel is far from a bad player, and has taken a leap forward this year. But “far from a bad player” isn’t enough when you invest as much in a guy as Jacksonville did.
Top Graded Players
DL Jared Odrick (+4.7)
DE Chris Clemons (+2.9)
S John Cyprien (+2.0)
QB Blake Bortles (+1.9)
TE Julius Thomas (+1.2)
C Stefen Wisniewski (+1.2)