X-factor: Can Falcons continue to manufacture a pass rush?

The Falcons have tried to manufacture a pass rush this season.

Getting pressure on Denver’s second-year quarterback, Drew Lock, will be the X-factor in this game, set for 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

On 143 pass attempts, he’s been blitzed 47 times and hurried, hit or sacked 31 times. He has a times-pressured-per-drop-back rate of 19.9% and is completing only 58% of his passes.

The Falcons were hoping that free-agent signee Dante Fowler and Takk McKinley would develop into a pass-rushing tandem from their defensive end positions.

However, Fowler has played through a high ankle sprain and now has a hamstring injury. McKinley looked good for the first five quarters of the season before he injured his groin. After his outburst on social media, he likely has played his last game with the team.

To create a pass rush, the Falcons have been blitzing this season. Over the first five weeks under Dan Quinn, the Falcons blitzed on 27% of pass plays, which ranked 18th in the NFL.

In the three games under interim coach Raheem Morris, the Falcons have blitzed on 30% of pass plays, which still ranks 18th.

The Falcons were able to get three sacks, six quarterback hits and several errant throws against Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in their most recent outing, a 25-17 win over the Panthers on Oct. 29.

The Falcons have sent players on blitzes 135 times this season, according to profootballreference.com.

Here’s the breakdown: Foye Oluokun (31 times), Deion Jones (28), Mykal Walker (22), Dante Fowler (12), strong safety Keanu Neal (11), Isaiah Oliver (seven), Damontae Kazee (four), Edmond Robinson (four), Jamal Carter (three), A.J. Terrell (two), Darqueze Dennard (two), Ricardo Allen (two), Jaylinn Hawkins (two), LaRoy Reynolds (one) and John Cominsky (one).

Over 526 defensive snaps, the Falcons have 13 sacks, 29 hurries and 32 knockdowns.

Jones and Jarrett are tied for the team lead in sacks, with 2.5. Charles Harris and Fowler have two each, while cornerback Isaiah Oliver, defensive end Allen Bailey, safety Keanu Neal and McKinley have one each.

Here are the defensive snap counts for each game: Seattle (62), Dallas (82), Chicago (82), Green Bay (63), Carolina (65), Minnesota (56), Detroit (62) and Carolina (54).

Falcons' next four games

Broncos at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

Bye Week

Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22

Raiders at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29

Saints at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6

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