KC-ATL grades: Chiefs defense disrupts Matt Ryan in win over Falcons

Chiefs defense fuels close victory, while QB Alex Smith and offense are efficient overall.

| 7 months ago
(Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

(Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

KC-ATL grades: Chiefs defense disrupts Matt Ryan in win over Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs 29, Atlanta Falcons 28

Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Kansas City’s stunning Week 13 win over Atlanta.

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback grade: Alex Smith, 77.6

Smith had an extremely efficient day, as he connected on 21 of 25 throws, with one of the incompletions being a drop by wideout Chris Conley. Atlanta generally chose to rush just its front four, which led to a relatively clean day for Smith. He was pressured just three times, and while he took one sack, he completed throws on the other two plays. The Falcons blitzed just six times, and Smith completed all six throws against the extra rusher for 95 yards and a touchdown, good for a QB rating of 158.3.


Top offensive grades:

TE Travis Kelce, 94.0

C Mitch Morse, 78.4

QB Alex Smith, 77.6

WR Tyreek Hill, 74.7

WR Albert Wilson, 71.6

Chiefs receiving weapons take advantage of under-manned secondary

With star CB Desmond Trufant being placed on injured reserve this week, it was no surprise to see Kansas City’s skill players have significant success. TE Travis Kelce had an outstanding day, as he caught all eight passes thrown his way for 140 yards, and all but one of his grabs went for a first down. WRs Tyreek Hill and Albert Wilson also played well, as they combined to snare nine of 10 targets for 101 yards. 

Top defensive grades:

ED Tamba Hali, 87.2

LB Derrick Johnson, 77.9

S Eric Berry, 77.6

NT Dontari Poe, 76.6

DE Chris Jones, 75.7

Eric Berry and Chiefs’ pass-rusher make life miserable for Matt Ryan

While 10 Chiefs defenders graded below 50 in run support, the unit did a solid job against a difficult aerial matchup. The rush was led by OLB Tamba Hali, who racked up a sack, a hit and three hurries, and rookie Chris Jones notched five hurries. The star of the game was without question S Eric Berry, who scored on a pick-six and the game-deciding two-point conversion return off his second interception of the game.

Atlanta Falcons

Quarterback grade: Matt Ryan, 48.6

Technically Ryan threw just one interception, but obviously the pick on the two-point conversion was a back-breaker, and he had two other throws that could have been intercepted. He only had one deep attempt on the day (passes that travel at least 20 yards through the air), and completed just six of 12 attempts in the 10- to 19-yard range for 119 yards, a touchdown and the Berry pick-six.


Top offensive grades:

WR Julio Jones, 89.3

C Alex Mack, 85.4

FB Patrick DiMarco, 81.6

WR Taylor Gabriel, 76.7

RB Devonta Freeman, 73.3

Poor pass-blocking limits Atlanta’s ability to stretch the field

LT Jake Matthews exited the game due to injury after just 33 snaps, and his backup, Tom Compton, had significant struggles in pass protection. On 26 pass blocks, he gave up five total pressures. RG Chris Chester also had significant issues protecting Ryan, as he gave up two hits and four hurries. While neither connected on the big play, WRs Julio Jones and Taylor Gabriel were both effective. They combined to catch 12 of 14 targets for 157 yards, but were limited to 42 yards after the catch. 

Top defensive grades:

Grady Jarrett, 81.8

CB Jalen Collins, 75.0

DE Jonathan Babineaux, 74.9

OLB Dwight Freeney, 74.2

OLB Vic Beasley, 73.6

Strong performances by Atlanta’s three second-year starters

OLB Vic Beasley notched another sack, bringing his total for the year to 11. While he posted just one run stop and one QB pressure, DT Grady Jarrett still put forth a strong effort by controlling the line of scrimmage and changing the point of attack on runs at him. The Falcons’ rookie linebackers did not fare as well, as they combined to give up receptions on eight of nine targets for 95 yards and a score.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Chiefs S Eric Berry

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Josh joined PFF as an analyst in 2015. During the season, his primary focus is college football (mainly the Big Ten). He is also heavily involved in PFF's NFL draft coverage. Prior to joining the team, he worked for six years with GM Jr. Scouting, an independent draft scouting service.

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