Tha Sports Junkies 101

Toothless Falcons Denied In Overtime – Week 7 Recap

Atlanta Falcons players etrainer via


The Atlanta Falcons hosted the San Diego Chargers on Sunday in an attempt to return to winning ways. The Falcons gave the Seattle Seahawks all they could handle in week six. Sitting at 4-2, the Falcons welcomed a 2-4 Chargers team who had been finding numerous ways to lose for most of the season. However, the Chargers looked very impressive defeating the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football.

After storming to a 27-17 lead at halftime, the Falcons were only able to score three points in the second half. With the score tied at 30-30, the game went to overtime. During the crucial period San Diego defense made a big stop on a gutsy fourth down play on midfield. The Falcons knew that they needed to force a turnover and were unable to do so with Josh Lambo kicking a field goal to make it 33-30 and win the game.


The passing offense looked very similar to 2015. While the box score shows that Matt Ryan completed passes to eight different receivers, the reality was that he looked for Julio Jones and sprinkled in the occasional checkdown to Devonta Freeman out of the backfield.

The Falcons are at their best as a “pick your poison” offense and too often on Sunday that wasn’t the case. Mohamed Sanu and Justin Hardy were the only other receivers to catch more than one pass. Jones caught 9 passes for 174 yards and could have had much more if not for defensive pass interference not being called for the second consecutive week when replays showed that it should have been.

The right side of the offensive line struggled for the second week in a row. Veteran right guard Chris Chester looks to have regressed in the offseason and it will be interesting to see whether sixth round rookie Wes Schweitzer, who has been inactive so far this season, is given the opportunity to compete for playing time. Right tackle Ryan Schraeder, who was among the best right tackles in the league in 2015, has struggled against top pass rushers and doesn’t appear to be getting the same leverage in the running game that he did last season. As has been a theme so far this season, the offensive line continued to struggle with penalties. False start penalties are expected when traveling to a hostile ground, but they shouldn’t be an issue when playing at home with the crowd trying to limit distractions.

Particularly concerning for the Falcons will be the injury status of running back Tevin Coleman, who left the game with a hamstring injury in the third quarter. Devonta Freeman is certainly capable of shouldering a heavy workload, as he showed last season,

Freeman and Coleman have formed one of the most dangerous running back duos in the league this year. Coleman’s speed and explosiveness added another aspect to the running game and the offense stagnated without his big play threat.


Dan Quinn and Defensive Coordinator Richard Smith will be disappointed with the ease that Philip Rivers was able to convert third downs. Using a soft zone coverage scheme, Antonio Gates was too often given the opportunity to get to the first down marker, turn and catch the ball uncontested. The duo of Gates and Rivers looked reminiscent of Matt Ryan Tony Gonzalez in the twilight of his career.

Gates is a future Hall of Famer, but he was given too much space. Robert Alford showed the formula for stopping him late in the game as he attacked the ball, but the physicality was few and far between.

Philip Rivers is a master at finding players in space and he looked to exploit the Falcons’ linebackers whenever he could with crossing routes to receivers Tyrell Wiliams and Travis Benjamin, who were able to use their speed to turn short passes into first downs.

Deion Jones has been everything the Falcons had hoped for since they drafted him in the second round in April. They’ll be disappointed that he wasn’t able to wrap Melvin Gordon up on a third down play late in the game that would have forced a Chargers field goal.

De’Vondre Campbell has struggled since returning from injury, looking a step slower than he did at the beginning of the year, and found himself trailing players more often than the Falcons would like.

The Falcons’ pass rush, looks improved compared to last year. The team has 15 sacks through the first seven weeks of the season. While they’re still not a unit to be feared, it’s a huge upgrade on last year when the team only managed 19 sacks through 16 games.

Vic Beasley already has 6.5 sacks on the season and is starting to look like the player that the Falcons thought they had drafted, using his speed and agility to evade blockers and take the quarterback to the ground.


Although the San Diego Chargers are a better team than their record suggests, there’s no doubt that the Falcons gave the game away. With 27 points on the board and a 10 point lead at half-time, the offense was unable to get anything going in the second half.

The fact that they would have only needed an extra field goal to win the game will hurt the pride of a team who rely so heavily on their offense to score points.

Up next for the Falcons is a home game against the Green Bay Packers, who have struggled this season despite their 4-2 record. A victory will help in the NFC South after two defeats see the team just one game ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who host a tough Raiders team in week seven.