ReFo: Falcons @ Vikings, Week 4
After following up a dominant Week 1 victory with two straight losses, the Vikings managed to get back to .500, beating the Falcons in a high scoring game at home. Led by rookie Teddy Bridgewater making his first regular-season start, Minnesota took an early lead and, after trading scores for most of the game, pulled away in the fourth quarter, aided by the defense holding the high-powered Atlanta offense scoreless in the final 15 minutes.
The Vikings now head into a short week with a big divisional matchup against Green Bay coming on Thursday, while Atlanta heads to New York in Week 5 tied atop the NFC South at 2-2.
Atlanta Falcons – Performances of Note
Tyson Jackson, DL: +3.4
Breakdown: After a quiet start to the season and a seven-snap performance in Week 3, Jackson logged 41 snaps against the Vikings. He picked up a pressure and batted pass rushing the passer, while in run defense he managed a stop and several assists, in addition to being a general nuisance for the Minnesota interior line.
Signature Play: 3Q, 4:14. Jackson stood up and shed LG Charlie Johnson inside to stop the runner for a short gain on first down.
Robert Alford, CB: -1.9
Breakdown: Unfortunately following up his +4.3 a week ago, he missed a tackle in run defense, allowed three first downs, and was beaten badly by a double move at 0:45 of the third, with an overthrow saving a likely touchdown. He did get his hand on the ball at 3:30 of the third quarter to force an incompletion and 3rd-and-long, though.
Signature Stat: Spent 66 of his 75 snaps lined up at the right cornerback spot.
Joe Hawley, C: -2.5
Breakdown: One of several Falcons to leave the game with an injury, Hawley negated his nice day in pass protection with rough outing against DT Linval Joseph, who was able to consistently both move and shed Hawley in the run game.
Signature Play: 1Q, 0:19. Made an ineffective cut block, allowing Joseph a chance at a tackle for loss, though Stephen Jackson was able to get away on the play.
Minnesota Vikings – Performances of Note
Teddy Bridgewater, QB: +1.1
Breakdown: Bridgewater eased into the game throwing screens on his first three passes, but eventually opened up and made several impressive throws downfield (examples are at 1Q, 2:45 and 4Q, 14:17), though nothing spectacular. Made great use of play action (close to 40% of his drop backs) and option fakes to freeze defenders and hit passes behind them. He did have a couple of misfires, but his only glaring negative play was missing a wide open Jarius Wright downfield at 0:45 of the third quarter.
Signature Play: 2Q, 2:08. Primarily a pocket passer, Bridgewater showed off his mobility leaving the pocket to take the ball in for a 13 yard touchdown to give the Vikings the lead.
Jarius Wright, WR: +2.7
Breakdown: Logging his highest snap count yet this season, Wright provided a great target for his rookie quarterback, catching 8-of-9 passes for 132 yards, six of them going for first downs. He also drew a defensive holding penalty on a crossing route to again move the chains for the Viking offense.
Signature Play: 1Q, 12:44. Bobbled the ball initially, but with a good cut and a broken tackle, took a screen pass 52 yards inside the Atlanta 20.
Xavier Rhodes, CB: +3.8
Breakdown: After a rough outing in his last two games, bounced back in this one to get his hands on four balls for pass defenses, making nice recoveries on two of them after being beaten initially (and maybe benefitting from slightly poor throws). Also picked up a stop in run defense with a tackle for loss.
Signature Play: 3Q, 0:25. One-on-one with Julio Jones downfield, Rhodes contested and prevented the completion.
PFF Game Ball
Though he didn’t have the team’s highest grade, Teddy Bridgewater played about as well as you can expect from a rookie making his first start, leading his team to 41 points and a win.
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