ATL-TB grades: Matt Ryan excellent in Falcons win

Falcons QB continues his excellent start to the season in Atlanta's big Week 9 win.

| 8 months ago
(Brian Blanco, Getty Images)

(Brian Blanco, Getty Images)

ATL-TB grades: Matt Ryan excellent in Falcons win

Atlanta Falcons 43, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Atlanta’s 43-28 victory over Tampa Bay:

Atlanta Falcons

Quarterback grade: Matt Ryan, 89.7

Matt Ryan produces a lights-out performance

From a pure passing standpoint, that was easily the cleanest game any quarterback has had all season long. Ryan was close to flawless, and on his 29 unpressured dropbacks, Matty Ice was 24-of-29 for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Not a bad day at the office.

Top offensive grades:

WR Julio Jones 86.6

RT Ryan Schrader 83.7

C Alex Mack 81.1

WR Taylor Gabriel 80.9

TE Austin Hooper 80.5

All-around dominance on offense

When the Falcons offensive staff reviews the film on Monday for areas to improve upon they are going to have to look long and hard. The lone concerning takeaway from the Falcons offensive performance were two botched snaps between Alex Mack and Matt Ryan. Outside of that, nearly every player graded well. The offensive line allowed only seven total pressures on 39 pass-blocking snaps, while the receivers dropped one lone pass all day.

Top defensive grades:

LB DeVondre Campbell 84.8

LB Deion Jones 84.7

DE Adrian Clayborn 80.9

CB Jalen Collins 79.5

OLB Vic Beasley 79.2

Front-seven finds success stopping run and getting to the quarterback

Eight of the 10 defenders in the front seven who played at least 20 snaps finished with above-average overall grades. LB Deion Jones played well against the run and in coverage for the second straight week, while DeVondre Campbell had his best game of the year. Four different players had at least four total pressures, led by Vic Beasley with five hurries. The defense only missed two tackles all game, both of which game at cornerback. Starting corners Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford both had their worst games of the year. Before leaving the game, Trufant allowed six catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on seven targets, with the lone incompletion being a dropped pass that would have went for a first down. Alford fared worse, giving up 120 yards and a touchdown.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quarterback grade: Jameis Winston 69.0

An average night for Jameis Winston

Outside of a fumble on a quarterback sneak, Jameis Winston did a good job of taking care of the ball. Winston was pressured on 43 percent of his dropbacks, and he generally handled it pretty well. He completed 9 of 14 targeted throws, including two touchdowns, for a 121.1 passer rating. Unfortunately he and the rest of the offense just could not do enough to keep up with Atlanta’s high-scoring offense. Mike Glennon came in late for garbage time after Winston was injured, but Glennon still finished the game with a perfect adjusted completion percentage on 11 dropbacks.

Top offensive grades:

WR Mike Evans 84.9

RT Demar Dotson 79.9

RG Ali Marpet 76.7

C Evan Smith 74.0

RB Peyton Barber 70.8

Evans leads passing attack

Mike Evans had one of his best games of the year as he set or matched season-highs in nearly every category. Two drops and an offensive pass interference penalty kept him from grading higher, but his 84.9 overall grade was still his second-highest grade of the season. Along the offensive line, Tampa Bay had two good performances on the right side from Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson, but they were more than balanced out by three below-average performances from the other starters. For the second-straight week and third time this season, LT Donovan Smith allowed at least eight total pressures in pass protection, and ranks second-to-last in overall grade among 76 qualifying tackles this season. 

Top defensive grades:

S Bradley McDougald 83.6

DT Gerald McCoy 81.1

LB Adarius Glanton 79.9

LB Kwon Alexander 76.7

DT Akeem Spence 76.3

Who is covering the seams?

It was a recurring theme Thursday night: Falcons receivers left uncovered running wild in the seams of the defense. Whether it was a pure seam route or a dig route, Tampa Bay’s Cover-3 zone had absolutely no answer. On those two routes, the Bucs allowed 8-of-10 catches for 154 yards with one of those incompletions being an easy dropped touchdown from Joshua Perkins. We understand not wanting to challenge Julio Jones in man coverage, but they were giving the Falcons free yards with their zones.

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • Mike J.

    OLT Smith needs to drop at least 20 pounds. He is fatter than Donald Penn now; can’t move his feet. How much do you have to eat just to maintain 300 lbs.??
    The Bucs’ secondary couldn’t cover the seam last year either. We fans were hoping for some improvement in that area, but we are not seeing it.