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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Atlanta Falcons: Assessing The Loss To The Bears

Antone Smith did it again. Another huge play that resulted in a touchdown was one of the few shining moments for the Falcons on Sunday, but little else was positive in the 27-13 loss at home to the Bears.

Chicago’s passing game proved to be too much for the Atlanta secondary as Jay Cutler and his cast of receivers lit the secondary and defense up most of the game.

Last time I checked, the Falcons had an explosive passing attack that was supposed to do the same thing.

The Falcons have now lost three games in a row, causing some concern with the coaching staff and front office. The ship needs to be leveled off. The NFC South is not a juggernaut with each team having a chance to make some noise (including Tampa Bay) this year.

Here are some observances of the Falcons in the loss on Sunday, according to the team’s website.

  • Runningback Antone Smith scored his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season on a 41-yard catch and run on Atlanta’s opening drive of the second half. He is averaging 51 yards per scoring play and 56.3 yards per touchdown reception this season.
  • Smith has scored twice on the ground and three times through the air this season and has totaled 346 yards on 23 touches. The fifth-year player from Florida State is averaging 15 yards per touch and 57.6 yards per game.
  • For his career, Smith has scored receiving touchdowns of 74, 54, and 41 yards while adding rushing scores of 50, 48, 38, and 38 yards. He is averaging 49 yards per scoring play during his career.
  • Smith is the only player with six scrimmage touchdowns of 35-plus yards in his first 25 career touches since 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
  • Smith and Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch are the only players in the NFL to record multiple touchdowns both rushing and receiving this season. Smith’s five total touchdowns rank tied for the sixth most in the NFL.
  • Quarterback Matt Ryan threw his 12th touchdown pass of the season when he connected with Smith. Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown in 11 straight games dating back to 2013.
  • Ryan’s 41-yard touchdown pass to Smith was the Falcons NFL leading sixth touchdown pass of 25-or-more yards this season. The score was Atlanta’s ninth overall big-play touchdown, a mark that also leads the NFL.
  • Wide Receiver Julio Jones caught four passes for 68 yards in Sunday’s loss. His 44 receptions this season are the second-most in the NFL while his 620 yards rank third.
  • Kicker Matt Bryant connected on a pair of 50-yard field goals, including a season-long 54 yarder in the third quarter. Sunday marked the second time this season and the second time in his career that Bryant has hit two field goals of 50 yards-or-longer.
  • Bryant has hit 15 field goals of 50 yards or longer since joining the Falcons in 2009. Prior to arriving in Atlanta, Bryant had connected on just two kicks of 50-or-more yards. Bryant’s 78.9 field goal percentage on kicks of 50 yards-or-longer is the third best in the NFL since 2009.
  • Bryant’s 54-yard field goal was his longest kick since booting a 55 yarder against New Orleans in 2012 (11/29/12).
  • Atlanta’s defense notched its second game with multiple sacks as DE Jonathan Massaquoi and CB Robert McClain each registered one sack while DE Kroy Biermann and DT Paul Soliai combined for a third sack.
  • Massaquoi dragged down Bears QB Jay Cutler for a five-yard loss on a second-down play in the first quarter. Massaquoi has posted two sacks this season and six sacks in his career. He notched a career-high four sacks last season.
  • McClain logged his second career sack, hitting Cutler one-yard behind the line of scrimmage. Biermann and Soliai combined to sack Cutler for a seven-yard loss in the fourth quarter.
  • The Falcons had four players with six tackles, including S Kemal Ishmael (six solo) and LB Paul Worrilow (five solo).



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