Here are the grades, after reviewing the film on gamepass.nfl.com, for the Falcons from their 38-14 shellacking of the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Run offense: With a 21-7 lead, the Falcons came out in the third quarter determined to run the ball down the Redskins’ throats. 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 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. Coleman rushed 13 times for 88 yards. Ito Smith rushed 10 times for 60 yards and had a 12-yard rushing touchdown. Calvin Ridley had one run for 6 yards. Averaging 6.4 yards per carry will pretty much make the offense unstoppable. Receiver Julio Jones had the key block on Smith’s touchdown run. Grade: A-plus
Pass offense: Quarterback Matt Ryan continued his pinpoint passing. The Falcons worked the ball off play-action fakes and several read-pass-option plays. On the RPOs, Ryan pulled the ball back from the running back and hit Ridley or Jones on slants. Two screens went for long touchdowns because of outstanding blocking. On Coleman’s 39-yard touchdown, Justin Hardy, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper and Wes Schweitzer all had key blocks. Schweitzer’s downfield block of D.J. Swearinger was classic. The talkative Swearinger didn’t want any part of Schweitzer. On Jones’ 35-yard touchdown, left tackle Jake Matthews blocked cornerback Josh Norman to the ground. Schweitzer walled off Swearinger to create the tunnel for Jones. Ryan was sacked twice and hit four times. Ben Garland gave up a sack to Matthew Ioannidis. On Ryan’s interception, Ridley appeared to run the wrong route. Grade: A
Run defense: The Falcons swarmed Redskins running back Adrian Peterson and held him to 17 yards on nine carries. Early in the first quarter, Foye Oluokun turned Peterson inside to the waiting arms of Grady Jarrett and Duke Riley. Peterson’s longest run of the day was an 11-yarder where Oluokun got pushed a little too far down inside. The Redskins rushed 15 times for 79 yards for an average of 5.3, but most of the gains were meaningless yards. Grade: B-plus
Pass defense: Cornerback Desmond Trufant dropped two potential interceptions and rookie Isaiah Oliver, who started for Robert Alford at cornerback, was beaten on a fade route for a touchdown. The Falcons had trouble with Redskins tight end Vernon Davis, who caught five passes for 62 yards. Washington’s Maurice Harris, who was undrafted after coming out of California in 2016, had 10 catches for 124 yards. Backup cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson broke up a pass that was intended for Davis and free safety Damontae Kazee made his fourth interception of the season. The Falcons sacked Alex Smith three times and had five quarterback hits. Grade B-minus
Special teams: Justin Bethel had two tackles and has 10 for the season, which leads the league in special-teams tackles. Giorgio Tavecchio made a 27-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 31-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Matt Bosher averaged 51.5 yards on two punts and placed one down inside the 20. Grade B-minus
Coaching: The Falcons were tight all last week. Some players were hiding out from the media and others who are normally real talkative didn’t have much to say. When that happens in the NFL locker room, the players have normally been berated for their shoddy play in multiple film sessions. The Falcons coaches put their collective foot down after the bye week and demanded better. No excuses. The Falcons players went out and blocked and tackled like they hadn’t done all season. The defense opened the game with three stops and allowed the offense to build a lead. The offense had the Redskins’ defensive brain trust off balance and the players were off-kilter, too as the penalties started to mount. The determined approach led to the Falcons’ most convincing win of the season and elevated them back to .500. Grade A-plus
Next up: The Falcons (4-4) face the Cleveland Browns (2-6-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. It will be the 15th regular-season meeting between the teams. The Browns lead the series 11-3 and have won three of the past four games.
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