STAT CORNER: Falcons got blitz-happy seeking sacks

It’s no secret the Falcons are going to attack Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer.

He has thrown 13 interceptions, which ranks as the second-most in the NFL behind New York Giant Eli Manning’s 15. Palmer also has been sacked 20 times, which is tied for ninth-most in the league.

The Falcons unveiled a new blitz-happy strategy against Tampa Bay last week and received some favorable results.

“No matter who you are playing, you always want to put pressure on the quarterback,” cornerback Desmond Trufant said. “That makes everything easier. We just have to hold it down on the back end and be tight in coverage.”

On 11 of Tampa Bay’s 17 third-down plays, the Falcons sent at least one extra rusher. They blitzed 18 times on 47 drop-backs.

They sent five rushers eight times, six nine times and seven on the first third down of the game. The seven-man rush resulted in safety William Moore’s sack and forced fumble that led to safety Thomas DeCoud’s 30-yard touchdown.

In total, the Falcons’ 18 blitzes produced seven quarterback pressures and two sacks. Under relentless pressure, Tampa Bay was 5-for-17 on third down.

After the three-sack performance, the Falcons have 14, which is tied for 25th in the league. Kansas City leads the league with 35. Baltimore is second with 25.

The Cardinals gave up seven sacks in their previous outing, against Seattle. The Falcons expect to face a revamped offensive line.

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