ReFo: Falcons @ Saints, Week 16
The Atlanta Falcons won a game where (outside of one run by Devonta Freeman) neither running game helped out the passing game. Both Matt Ryan and Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards, however, Brees threw two costly interceptions that gave the Falcons the chance to win this game and create an NFC South division title showdown against the Carolina Panthers next week.
In the funky NFC South the New Orleans Saints went from possible hosts in the first round of the playoffs to a Top-10 pick in next years draft.
Now is the time to look at the Performances of Note
Atlanta Falcons – Performances of Note
Matt Ryan, QB: +3.9
Breakdown: Matt Ryan continued his strong season as he put on a clinical display against the Saints. Everything Ryan threw was accurate and never gave the Saints a chance to make a play on the ball, while still taking chances on some deep shots.
Signature Stat: Ryan had the second-highest Accuracy Percentage of the week at 86.8%, with only five incompletions that he was at fault for.
Osi Umenyiora, DE: +2.7
Breakdown: Lined up against Bryce Harris all day, Osi Umenyiora was able to turn the back the clock and look like the defensive end that wreaked havoc in his prime. While Umenyiora might be remembered for his fumble recovery for a touchdown on the final play from scrimmage, he completely overmatched Harris with his array for passing moves in the second half.
Signature Play: 4Q 2:35. Umenyiora beats Harris inside with a quick swim move and hit Brees as he released the ball resulting in an interception that basically ends the game.
Corey Peters, DT: +3.1
Breakdown: With the Falcons somehow finding a pass rush for the first time this season, Corey Peters was a large part of the Falcons’ ability to get after Brees. Peters recorded four total pressures with a sack and three hurries.
Signature Play: 1Q 4:09. Peters is lined up against right tackle Zach Strief and beats him to the outside for a pressure.
New Orleans Saints– Performances of Note
Akiem Hicks, DT: +2.7
Breakdown: Akiem Hicks is not known for his pass rushing skills, but against the Falcons he generated the only consistent pass rush the Saints had. Hicks recorded the third-highest pass rushing grade of his career.
Signature Play: 2Q 00:18. Hicks swims between left guard Justin Blalock and center James Stone to record the hit as Matt Ryan throws the ball into the ground close to his running back who was in protection.
Bryce Harris, LT: -7.3
Breakdown: With Bryce Harris coming into the starting lineup with Terron Armstead out, Harris will want to forget this game as quickly as possible. Once the Saints got behind by two scores in the second half and had to throw to catch up, Harris become like an open gate. He was unable to match the speed of Umenyiora and overcompensated, allowing the Falcon to beat him with inside moves.
Signature Stat: Harris allowed 10 total pressures on 53 pass snaps giving him the second-lowest Pass Blocking Efficiency of the week at 85.8.
Keenan Lewis, CB: -2.6
Breakdown: In what has become a season to forget for Keenan Lewis this week was no different as he was unable to prevent any pass his way being caught. The only positive for Lewis was that he was able to prevent any big gain in the passing game; however, he was beaten very consistently and by an array of different players.
Signature Stat: Allowed a catch every 3.6 snaps tied worse (for those who qualified) and had the second-highest yards per coverage snap at 3.79.
PFF Game Ball
Matt Ryan was able to move the Falcons up the field with a controlled passing game without taking any unnecessary risks.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @PFF_MikeM