Hot seat: Falcons must rush the passer better vs. Bengals

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The Falcons’ pass rush has generated eight sacks and 30 quarterback hits through six games.

Against the pass-happy Bengals, the Falcons’ pass rush, which is led by defensive end Grady Jarrett, will be on the hot seat.

“Every game is a new moment; you try to take it week by week,” Jarrett said. “Every team is doing their best to try to get to the quarterback.”

The Falcons and the Bengals meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at Paycor Stadium.

“Whether we sack him or if we don’t, we have to get in his vison,” Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. “Get our hands up. Get some tipped balls. Pass rush is always going to be important, especially with a quarterback like this. He’s very talented, and he’s got a very talented set of receivers.”

Jarrett has 3.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits to lead the team. Lorenzo Carter has 1.5 sacks and five quarterback hits. Defensive end Ta’Quon Graham has seven quarterback hits, and rookie Arnold Ebiketie has a sack and six quarterbacks hits

The eight sacks rank 31st in the NFL.

The Bengals have given up 22 sacks, but 13 of those came in the first two games against the Steelers and Cowboys.

Overall, the Bengals have allowed Burrow to be sacked 21 times, hit 24 times and hurried eight times. He’s been pressured on 20.2% of his drop-backs.

“Every week we have a good rush plan, so I know those guys are going to be dialed in,” linebacker Mykal Walker said. “Coach is going to get them guys going. Even though you don’t see the sack numbers, what you don’t see is the quarterback hits. We are affecting the quarterback every play. These guys up front are getting after it, and it’s helping us out on the back end.”

The Falcons have blitzed 53 times and have 20 quarterback knockdowns. They also had one sack against Tampa Bay ruled unnecessary roughness.

Burrow has been scrambling more. He has 27 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a mobile guy,” Jarrett said. “But his arm talent is definitely what makes him special. I don’t know if that’s the main thing they want to do. But he definitely can evade the rush and make some plays with his legs when it’s there.”

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule

Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27

Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20

Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15

Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14

Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.

Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.

Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.

Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.

Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.


Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD