The Falcons’ protection has improved since Morris took over as head coach. Coming into Sunday’s sport, the Falcons had simply performed their greatest defensive sport of the season towards the Raiders, forcing 5 turnovers and 5 sacks. In opposition to Hill and the Saints, they seemed like a very totally different and far worse unit.
Sunday was the second time in three weeks the Falcons performed the Saints, who received one of the best of Atlanta 24-9 in Week 11. Within the first half, Atlanta had bother stopping the Saints, whether or not in a zone or man-to-man. New Orleans was particularly good with the intermediate passing sport and run within the first half.
The Falcons’ protection performed higher within the second half, however by way of an entire physique of labor, it’s precisely the type of efficiency you wouldn’t wish to see out of your protection towards an inexperienced quarterback.
Atlanta’s protection gave legitimacy to Hill being a candidate to be the Saints full-time starter of the longer term. That’s not a dig on Hill or his expertise — he went out and carried out nicely.
However from a protection’s perspective, the Falcons let a participant with an NFL profession that had principally consisted of being a punt gunner and gadget participant appear like a superb quarterback. That’s a troublesome capsule to swallow and can pressure the Falcons to take a more in-depth look within the mirror as we enter the ultimate month of the season.
When it got here right down to forcing the Saints to get a cease, it was almost unimaginable for Atlanta. Taysom Hill accomplished 8-of-9 passes for 92 yards and a TD on third downs within the first half. Getting into immediately, probably the most such completions in a 1st half this season was seven.
The lone vivid spot offensively: The Saints had not allowed a landing in 14 quarters, the longest streak of their franchise’s historical past. The Falcons broke that within the fourth quarter with Matt Ryan’s 10-yard landing go to Russell Gage halfway by way of the fourth quarter. The final staff to go that lengthy inside a single season was the 2000 Steelers, who went 21 straight.
A silver lining: Younghoe Koo is the long-term reply at kicker. Koo had already established this with the season he’s had, constructing off a stable 2019 marketing campaign. However in a sport that left the Falcons in search of any kind of positives, Koo remained the one fixed that Atlanta doesn’t want to repair.
Koo completed the sport 3-for-3 on kicks, one among which got here from 53 yards out. He’s made 50-plus yard FGs in 4 straight video games, one of many explanation why he shared NFC Participant of the Month honors for November with the Saints’ Cam Jordan.
Matt Bryant was computerized for the Falcons for years, and so they’ll hope the 26-year-old Koo can do the identical.
Pivotal play: The Falcons seemed to be having a drive that was going to result in a comeback, however a Todd Gurley rush for minus-7 yards on third-and-2 with 1:49 left set the Falcons again. The following play, Matt Ryan threw an incomplete go to Julio Jones ultimately zone.