ReFo: Falcons @ Buccaneers, Week 10
The NFC South is a division that doesn’t have a dominant team yet. This was a day where the New Orleans Saints fell at home in overtime and the Atlanta Falcons went on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and picked up an important victory to stay in the hunt for the division crown.
It certainly wasn’t as easy for the Falcons as their big win over their division rival on Thursday Night Football early in the year, but as the game wore on they were able to avoid making mistakes and forced the Buccaneers into some of their own as they chased the game.
Divisional matchups are always interesting, and this was no different, so let’s dig into the key performances from Sunday.
Atlanta Falcons – Performances of Note
Kroy Biermann, DE: +8.5
Breakdown: Taking advantage of a depleted and struggling offensive tackle situation in Tampa Bay, Biermann went to work on O’Neil Cousins and Kevin Pamphile, finishing the game with three sacks, a hit and a batted pass as a pass rusher.
Signature Play: Q4, 00:56 remaining. There’s plenty to choose from but here, late in the game, he got round Pamphile with ease to sack Josh McCown.
Robert Alford, CB: -4.8
Breakdown: It was a rough day in coverage for Alford, where he gave up 11 receptions from the 13 passes thrown into his coverage. They went for a total of 181 yards and a touchdown as the Bucs went after his all game long.
Signature Play: Gave up 3.69 Yards Per Coverage Snap from 49 snaps in coverage.
Levine Toilolo, TE and Gabe Carimi, OT: +8.8 Run Blocking Grade Combined
Breakdown: In a game where Atlanta handled the Tampa Bay front seven with relative ease, the work of Toilolo and Carimi as blockers stood out. Playing 19 snaps as an extra offensive lineman, Carmini frequently turned defensive ends and linebackers inside. Likewise for Toilolo, who didn’t see a single pass thrown his way all game, but did his job as a blocker.
Signature Plays: Q4, 1:49 remaining. The tandem of Toilolo and Carimi played well throughout the game, but both had solid blocks on this play as the Falcons tried to run down the clock.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Performances of Note
Mike Evans, WR: +2.2
Breakdown: Another big game for the seventh overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Most of his work came against Alford, with 112 of his 125 receiving yards, including the touchdown, coming against him. He’s now tallied career highs in receiving yards each of the past three weeks, growing as his rookie season rolls on.
Signature Play: Q2, 00:53 remaining. Evans simply defeats Alford for a 22-yard touchdown on the go route, beating him clean off the line of scrimmage.
Gerald McCoy, DT: -5.9
Breakdown: Certainly a surprise to see McCoy grade so poorly, but then his grade took a dip thanks to a lack of discipline with four penalties. In truth though it was a disappointing performance even when you ignore those four penalties. Failing to make an impact against the run, he registered just two hurries as a pass rusher.
Signature Stat: Was offsides three times on the opening Atlanta drive.
Lavonte David, LB: +3.1
Breakdown: There weren’t many bright spots for Tampa Bay, but the play of David was once again something to enjoy. Finishing the game with a seven tackles which resulted in a defensive stop, he graded positively both against the run and in coverage.
Signature Play: Q4, 1:41 remaining. With the Bucs trying to stop the Falcons running out the clock, David beat rookie Jake Matthews on the pull block on the edge to record the tackle and force a punt.
PFF Game Ball
He took advantage of the competition he was up against, but it’s impossible to ignore the impact Kroy Biermann had in this one. Too much to handle for the struggling Bucs offensive tackles, his impact grew as the game went on.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon