Atlanta Falcons: 6 Observations vs New York Jets


The Atlanta Falcons travelled to New Jersey after a strong display from the 1st string against the Tennessee Titans. They hoped to build upon their performance against the Jets and that was certainly what they showed.

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The Falcons started off fast, jumping out to a 14-0 lead which was facilitated by a 59-yard punt return from Devin Hester.

The reserves were unable to hold that lead however, and were eventually bested 30-22.

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Despite the result, it was still a very encouraging display from the starters.

The true litmus test will be next week against the Miami Dolphins, who are a more complete team than the Titans and Jets.

They are primed to make the AFC playoffs and could even push the New England Patriots for the AFC East crown, especially if Tom Brady misses any games.

With the game a week away, the Falcons will be able to properly reflect on their performance the last 2 weeks, including:

Matt Ryan: He’s attained a perfect 158.3 passer rating in both games so far, completing 10 of his 11 pass attempts for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s looked very much in control of the offense and has shown he’s comfortable playing on the move. His delicate off-platform pass to Colin Mooney was exquisite.

Kyle Shanahan: The players so far have responded well to his scheme. He still hasn’t been able to use the top-2 running backs who are out due to injury, but the passing game concepts are excellent. Colin Mooney was an unlikely recipient for an explosive play but his 60-yard reception highlighted Shanahan’s ability to create 1-on-1 matchups in space.

Jake Matthews: Rock solid. He suffered a Lisfranc injury late last season but doesn’t seem to be bothered by it and has kept his man quiet through 2 games. It will get harder next week when he heads to Miami and faces one of the toughest defensive lines in the league.

Vic Beasley and Adrian Clayborn: They could form a frightening tandem together as the following sack shows. O’Brien Schofield did his bit preventing a scramble by collapsing the pocket from his side also.

"Clayborn x Vic"

Jonathan Babineaux: The old dog still has life and a reduced role will allow him to stay fresher. He has continuously played a very high number of snaps each year due to lack of quality depth.

Paul Worrilow: Have to give credit where it’s due and I think Worrilow had a very good day against the Jets. He was alert and his burst to the ball was noticeable. He almost came away with an interception on a good all-around day.

The Falcons performance is made even more remarkable by the numbers to starters who didn’t suit up. Their top-3 running backs sat out due to injury, Ra’Shede Hageman is currently in the concussion protocol and they are waiting on the return of their shutdown cornerback Desmond Trufant and the leader of the secondary, William Moore.

So far, so good but all the hype generated could be dashed just as quickly. The real test will be in sunny Miami next Saturday.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: If... And... But for 2015

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