ReFo: Falcons @ Giants, Week 5
For one half they looked to have done that.
Unfortunately the wheels came off the Falcons push for victory in a disastrous second half where the Giants adjusted to their offense, steamrolled their defense and in the end cruised to an impressive victory that serves to further underline this as a team heading in the right direction.
Let’s take a look at the performances of note.
Atlanta Falcons – Performances of Note
Julio Jones, WR: +1.1
Breakdown: Jones looked on his way to a monster grade with a huge first half as the Giants really failed to account for just how athletic a mismatch he is. His grade though was tempered by a quiet second half that saw him pick up a penalty and drop a very tough catch down the sideline. Still a 100-yard game and he’ll leave thinking he should have had more. That’s the talent of Jones.
Signature Stat: Was targeted 11 more times than Roddy White.
Jake Matthews, LT: -8.9
Breakdown: Yuck. What else can you say? Jason Pierre-Paul doesn’t always bring finesse to the table, but he does bring power and that was simply too much for Matthews. The first half he was just about doing enough, but come the second half it became tough to watch as the rookie clearly wasn’t ready for the test of such an explosive player.
Signature Stat: Beaten for three hits and flagged for two penalties. Matthews had never graded below a -1.0 before this game.
Robert Alford, CB: -3.9
Breakdown: Alford is the kind of feisty corner you enjoy to watch. He tends to be aggressive with recievers and isn’t afraid of making plays on the ball. But for some reason in this one there was a fear, perhaps of the unknown, as Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. seemed to scare the pants off him. Four penalties (including two on the same play) is never ideal.
Signature Play: Q3, 4.36. The rare flag for defensive holding and defensive pass interference. Alford showed no desire to play the ball on his way to drawing two flags, sustaining a Giants drive that was crucial in momentum being changed.
New York Giants – Performances of Note
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE: +8.1
Breakdown: It feels like nobody ever talks about JPP anymore. Perhaps it’s that sophomore season where his inflated sack numbers created unrealistic expectations. Perhaps it’s the Giants struggles since their Super Bowl win. In any case he remains one of the most well rounded defensive linemen in the league and is capable of games like this where he embarrassing a tackle big things are expected out of him.
Signature Play: With 8.41 to go in the game and a crucial third down play happening, Pierre-Paul breezes past the left tackle to knock Matt Ryan off balance. Forcing him to stumble and throw the ball away, unable to pick up the first down.
Odell Beckham Jr, WR: +1.6
Breakdown: As debuts go, this was pretty great. On the surface of it four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown don’t jump off the page at you, but it was his ownership of Robert Alford that drew four penalties and kick started the Giants recovery. There’s more tape on him now so expect future opponents about to be a little more ready for what he can do.
Signature Stat: Played 38 snaps, running 24 routes of which he was targeted five times (second most on the team.).
Johnathan Hankins, DT: +6.0
Breakdown: Bye-bye Linval Joseph, hello Johnathan Hankins. Last years second-round pick impressed in flashes as a rookie, but even we’re a little surprised by the degree of his positive impact this year. Lining up against Harland Gunn, Hankins decided today was a day to grab some attention as a pass rusher, regularly walking Gunn backwards or knocking him to the side in his efforts to bring down Matt Ryan.
Signature Play: It has to be the sack that effectively ended the game with 4.40 left. 4th-and-1 with the Falcons desperate for a conversion, he breezed past Gunn without giving the quarterback a chance to even throw the ball up for grabs somewhere. Game over.
PFF Game Ball
It could have been Hankins. It could have collectively gone to a strong offensive line display that I feel guilty I haven’t given any ink to. But performances like Jason Pierre-Paul’s do not come along often in a season, and as such you have to reward them.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled