The Falcons lost 43-37 at Green Bay on Monday Night Football. MNF analyst Jon Gruden had some things to say about the Falcons as they fell behind 31-7 at halftime before rallying to within a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Here are Gruden's 10 best takes on the Falcons.
1. With the score tied 7-7: "Watch for Mike Nolan to dial up some exotic blitzes. That might be Atlanta’s only chance on defense.
2. In first half, after noting that the Falcons signed linemen Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson during the off season to improve the run defense: "Spent $25 million on defensive tackles and I haven’t seen any improvement tonight."
3. After one of the many times Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stood in the pocket unhurried: "This is like backyard football where you’ve got to count to 'five Mississippi' before you can rush. Atlanta has to find some pass rushers in next year’s draft. That has been the Achilles heel of this football team."
4. After Packers scored to go up 31-7 just before halftime: "Mike Nolan, the defensive coordinator, can’t do any more than he just did. He rushed three and used Kroy Biermann as a spy on Aaron Rodgers. He’s spying on Rodgers and Rodgers says, 'Not tonight you aren't'. . . . The rout is on."
5. At halftime: "They’ve got to find a pass rush. It’s almost been ridiculous. Aaron Rodgers deserves credit but the offensive line has dominated the front four of Atlanta. It’s not even been close."
6. After safety Kemal Ishmael left game with injury in third quarter: "When you lose two safeties, your Pro Bowl, all-pro linebacker, you don’t have a pass rush--it's hard for Mike Nolan to call the defenses he called when they were in the final four against the 49ers a couple of years ago."
7. After Julio Jones scored a touchdown in the third quarter with Sam Shields in coverage: "I have no idea what Sam Shields is doing. (Jones is) 6-4, no re-route, no help over the top, no chance. I asked Matt Ryan, 'Do you target Patrick Peterson? Do you target Sam Shields.' He said, 'I target Julio Jones I could care less who’s covering him.' I can see why."
8. Before the Falcons scored a TD to pull within 40-30 in fourth quarter: "These are the situations that are confusing. They just don’t have enough tight ends to run the ball in these short-yardage, goal-line situations. They stay with the open sets. Almost forces you in certain situations to throw the ball. You don’t have enough blockers"
9. After Falcons scored to cut lead to 43-37 with 2:22 left: "Says a lot about Mike Smith and the fight in this Atlanta Falcons football team. You are on the road; it’s 31-7; you are a dome team; it’s cold out. Now it’s 43-37 and they are going to go for an onside kick here again."
10. After the Packers gained a first down to secure the victory: "The Green bay defense took a step back today. They didn’t play well at all in the second half. They are lucky to dodge a bullet tonight. Matt Ryan and this Falcons team came storming back. They just don’t have enough firepower on defense."
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