ReFo: Buccaneers @ Falcons, Week 7
Sam Monson looks at how the depleted Falcons managed to keep the Bucs at bay and earn themselves a much-need win at home.
ReFo: Buccaneers @ Falcons, Week 7
It speaks volumes about the gulf between these two sides at the moment that Atlanta could come away with a victory despite missing so many of their starting skill-position players. Tony Gonzalez was still there, as ever, but aside from him Matt Ryan was down to backups across the board, and of those only Jacquizz Rodgers is used to any serious time as a starter.
Harry Douglas led a receiving corps that was made up of rookies and relatives of the coaching staff signed off the street (Brian Robiskie), but in the end it was still good enough to put up points against the Bucs, who don’t seem to be getting any further from disarray since the departure of Josh Freeman.
Tampa made it relatively close at the end, closing to within a score by kicking a field goal late and attempting an onside kick — the Falcons easily recovered it however, and kneeled out the game.
Tampa Bay – Three Performances of Note
Making Some use of the Ferrari?
I tweeted last week that sticking Darrelle Revis in a zone scheme was akin to buying a brand new Ferrari only to use it for nothing more than trips down to the local shops. The Bucs seemed to take their new toy out for a bit more of a spin this week, leaving Revis in man coverage more than I have noticed in previous games. Revis responded as Revis does, earning a +2.3 grade and not allowing a single catch. When he was stuck back in zones he again looked a little more vulnerable, passing off receivers to the Tampa Bay safeties who are far less capable of preventing receptions than he is. Johnthan Banks on the other side struggled more — allowing only three catches for 30 yards, he also missed two tackles in coverage after the catch to earn his -3.2 grade.
Lavonte David was Everywhere
That line gets thrown out all the time about players that rack up a bunch of tackles — He was all over the field! But most of the time those tackles are made well after the offense has already gained successful yardage on the play and do little more than pad the stats. This time, however, David was legitimately making plays pretty much every time he was involved. He made 10 solo tackles, and earned 10 stops. Each one of his tackles was an offensive failure on the play. He also registered a hurry from the five times he blitzed, and about the only negative on his day was allowing some run after the catch plays from Jacquizz Rodgers, but those came on screen plays where the offense blocked him well.
Vincent Jackson’s Curious Grade
This is a good example of a grade (-2.2) diverging pretty significantly from the box score stats — 10 catches for 138 yards and two TD’s. So what gives? Jackson recorded a couple of penalties, one of which (false start) was just bush-league lack of concentration, but the majority of the negative comes in the hidden poor plays that don’t show up in the box score. He dropped three passes, only one of which was a particularly tough catch, and one of them was in the end zone. He also fumbled a ball trying to fight for extra yardage and extending carelessly in the path of danger. He was also relentlessly targeted to get those receptions. He caught the ball 10 times, but was thrown at a massive 22, or 50% of Mike Glennon’s attempts. It may have been an impressive fantasy day, but Jackson’s real-world performance didn’t quite live up to the numbers.
Atlanta – Three Performances of Note
Douglas Steps Up
Before this game Harry Douglas had started 10 games in his career, and those 10 games averaged an output of three receptions for 43 yards. Over the 10 games he scored just a single touchdown. There wasn’t much to be excited about before the game, except that never before had the Falcons been plunged so deep into their depth chart. With teams still intent on taking away Tony Gonzalez, Douglas became the primary target in the Atlanta offense – a first – and he responded with a big day. He more than doubled his average starting reception tally to seven, and almost quadrupled his average yardage by notching 149. He also got himself on the scoresheet with a touchdown to mark a career day. This is a good example of the fact that sometimes players just need an opportunity to shine. For once, Douglas wasn’t playing second fiddle to Roddy White or Julio Jones — he was the man the Falcons had to rely on, and he responded.
Good Showing From Goodman
This wasn’t a dominant performance from the Atlanta D-line, but each member of the front chipped in with plays all through the game to make it look perhaps better than it played overall. Though he didn’t earn a massive amount of pressure, DE Malliciah Goodman had a fine day against the run, earning a +3.8 grade overall. To make it more impressive, he was going against arguably Tampa Bay’s best lineman so far this year in the form of RT Demar Dotson. Goodson repeatedly managed to get around Dotson to affect the run game, either squeezing the point of attack or flat out forcing cuts by being in the middle of the intended hole. All of that good play against the run unfortunately resulted in just a pair of tackles and stops, but Goodman’s performance went far beyond those numbers.
The Falcons seem to be developing quite the stable of young cornerbacks. While Asante Samuel remains a starter, Robert Alford saw 56 snaps as the third corner and Robert McClain even got on the field for nine snaps himself as the fourth corner. Unfortunately for McClain, he isn’t replicating the impressive season he had a year ago, but both Desmond Trufant (+2.1) and Alford (+2.1) had fine days and are impressing regularly in this defense. Alford was targeted only three times and allowed just a single reception for 11 yards. He was also flagged for pass interference on a call that seemed pretty harsh with both players hand fighting. Trufant, on the other hand, was thrown at a dozen times and allowed only six catches for 45 yards while breaking one up himself.
– Against the blitz, Mike Glennon’s passer rating was 130.7, but under pressure it was just 44.9
– Atlanta’s rushing game averaged 1 yard per carry, but that goes up to a heady 2 yards per carry if you remove the kneel-downs to end the game.
– Vincent Jackson saw 22 targets from Mike Glennon, the next highest was Mike Williams with just five.
PFF Game Ball
In a losing effort, Lavonte David deserves a game ball for his performance.
Follow Sam on Twitter: @PFF_Sam