The Atlanta Falcons defense did a fantastic job against their Baltimore Ravens counterparts for three quarters of the football game, but seemed to lose a bit of focus down the stretch. But all is well that ends well for the Falcons and their defense, which will go into their Week 11 matchup against the St. Louis Rams with the best record in the league at 7-2.
The special teams redeemed itself in Atlanta’s 26-21 win over the Ravens. Kudos to coach Mike Smith and the rest of the Falcons staff for making the necessary adjustments to put the special back in special teams.
The coaching staff also made the necessary adjustments to their game plan to lead the team to victory in a short week.
Defensive Line: John Abraham had two sacks but was lamenting afterward that he should have had more. They also held the Baltimore rushing attack to 116 yards on the ground and held Ray Rice to just 59 rushing yards.
Linebackers: Curtis Lofton lead the team with eight tackles and a pair of assists as Baltimore was limited to 331 yards of total offense.
Secondary: That “short guy” was picked on all night by Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense. Brent Grimes responded with yet INT and was second on the team with six tackles. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to pick on the short kid.
The secondary was solid as a unit until those final two drives in the fourth quarter where they forgot how to tackle and went into a kind of prevent defense. As we all know, all the prevent defense does at times is prevent you from winning. Luckily, the Falcons had Matt Ryan and Roddy White to bail the D out.
Special Teams: Atlanta’s special teams played one of their best games of the year, forcing a fumble that lead to an Atlanta field goal and otherwise contained the Ravens kickoff and punt return units.
Matt Bryant nailed a pair of field goals, and Michael Koenen averaged 35 yards per punt. Weems was big on both sides of the ball, returning a kick for 33 yards and a punt for 16 yards.
Coaching: Give credit to the coaching staff, they devised a game plan to contain what was arguably the best team in the NFL entering this prime time matchup of the Birds. Knowing that it would be difficult to contain the Baltimore rush defense, they designed a lot of short pass plays to keep the pressure off of Ryan. That allowed the Falcons to control the line of scrimmage and keep the Atlanta defense off of the field for most of the first half.
They quickly went back to work in this short week and devised a game plan that vaulted the Falcons into the conversation as one of the league’s elite teams. Nicely done coach Smith.
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