Falcons center Alex Mack (51) tries to block for quarterback Matt Ryan. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Falcons’ offensive line wins weekly toughness award 

The Falcons won the Built Ford Tough offensive line of the week award with their 38-14 victory over the Washington Redskins Sunday. The campaign recognizes the NFL's toughest players who are in the trenches.

Every Tuesday, the top five offensive lines are ranked by Pro Football Focus and NFL Network’s Shaun O' Hara, a former All-Pro offensive lineman. 

"Atlanta claims this week's offensive line of the week award after recording a season-high 38 points while converting 10 of 13 third-down tries, going 8 of 8 on third downs in the first half alone," O'Hara said. "The Falcons were Pro Football Focus' second-ranked run-blocking and pass-blocking unit of Week 9. The group gave up two sacks -- one by Jake Matthews against Ryan Kerrigan -- and two other pressures. Left guard Wes Schweitzer had his best game of the season, while right tackle Ryan Schraeder and center Alex Mack didn't give up a single pressure. Mack was PFF's highest-graded center of the week."

The Falcons took control of the game with a strong run-heavy drive at the start of the third quarter. 

Running back Tevin Coleman ripped off runs of 9, 16 and 7 yards to get the drive started. After two passes for 10 and 11 yards, the Falcons went back to the run game and hammered out 3 and 9 yards. It was a gut-check drive to take over the game and the Falcons amassed 44 of 65 yards on the ground before Coleman scored on a 10-yard swing pass.

Overall, the Falcons rushed 24 times for 154 yards, the second-highest output of the season. The Falcons rushed 32 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers and were also named the offensive line of the week for that game.

“Yeah, we talked about that at halftime,” Schraeder said. “We had to come back out strong and make sure they weren’t going to come back in the game. I felt that was a great way to do that.”

The Falcons’ offensive linemen, who are coached by Chris Morgan, appreciated the recognition.

“It was very rewarding, obviously, at the same time we know what we can do,” Schraeder said. “It’s expected every week and we’ve got to work toward that same goal. You can’t be satisfied.”

The Falcons were playing with Ben Garland and Schweitzer in different spots from how they finished last season. 

“We had this same kind of crew last year,” Mack said. “We had a good last game and it’s time to build on that. Coach (offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian) did a good job of mixing it up and putting us in good positions. We had a good game plan and it worked well.”

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