Defense is an Embarrassing Joke, Overall a Terrible Loss
Smith Continues Atrocious Road Record
The fact that Smith is now 24-26 on the road in his career as head coach is bad enough just on the surface, but looking at this one really drives home how awful Smith has been on the road: 1 – 10 in last 11 games on the road. That’s unacceptable any way you slice it and many of those have even been blowouts. What a damn joke.
Rookie QB’s LOVE the Falcons Defense
I believe the Falcons defense are doing the best job they can to help rookie quarterbacks find their footing in the NFL. It’s been pretty pathetic seeing rookie QB after QB having no issues whatsoever manhandling the Falcons defense. Last year saw Geno Smith coming in and doing his best Joe Namath impression that led his Jets to a win and actually being the first rookie QB to win on the road in their first year in the history of Monday Night Football. Mike Glennon had a career day vs. the Falcons D last year as well. This time it was rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater’s turn for excellence. In fact, he didn’t even have an incompletion until the 2nd quarter. Through the first half, he engineered 4 scoring drives and all this without Adrian Peterson. Over 300 yards passing barely into the 4th quarter including a touchdown run. And a few more feathers in this defenses cap: Bridgewater was first rookie in Vikings franchise history to pass for 300+ yards. McKinnon averaged 8 yards on the day. Also, this was the first time the Vikings had a 300 yard passer, 100 yard rusher, and 100 passer since 2009. Two of those are fresh NFL rookies. Just pathetic
The Falcons had only 2 drops coming into this game and had 3 to 4 in the first half alone. Roddy White, Levine Toilolo, and Devin Hester all had drops and at least one killed a drive and another one could have been caught for a TD (although it was a tough catch). With their defense being absolutely atrocious, they can ill afford to drop any balls or miss any chances to score. Desmond Trufant even dropped an easy interception that could have been a huge for the Falcons momentum.
Decent RB Rotation
It has to be a tough job trying to spread the wealth to all the talented offensive players, but Dirk Koetter has done good with it. A rejuvenated Steven Jackson, a speedy Antone Smith, all-around RB Devonta Freeman, and versatile Jacquizz Rodgers has helped keep the offense balanced and all played a nice part. Fans probably would like to see Freeman start getting some of Rodgers carries, but overall it’s been a nice mix in the backfield. Jackson should get a few carries in spots, but he should no longer be the starter.
RE: Defense, What’s Left to Say?
There’s simply nothing else left to say regarding this pitiful and pathetic excuse for a defense. Over 7 years, this defense has juggled between bad, terrible, and worse. Even at it’s best, this D has been mediocre and average. 2 coordinators and a complete overhaul of players has seen it do no better than before Mike Smith arrived. They can’t rush the passer and can’t even stop the run anymore. A rookie QB and rookie running back (Jerick McKinnon) lit up the Falcons to the tune of 450+ yards, and all of that was done through 3 quarters. If things go south this year and Mike Smith finds himself out of a job, he has no one to blame but himself and the failure of skills that got him the job in the first place.
Devin Hester is The Man
Many questioned the sizeable contract that Thomas Dimitroff awarded 31 year old Devin Hester a big contract, but he’s looking like one of the smartest men in the NFL right about now. Not only has Hester added a new spark to the return game, but he’s also been fantastic in the passing game. In fact, through this first part of the season, it’s harder to find a free agent that has made more of an impact than Hester.
Antone Smith has to Start
With all due respect to Steven Jackson and him doing well in his own right, but Smith has got to start getting the bulk of carries in the backfield. Every time he touches the ball, he makes something special happen. He has the same homerun ability that Hester possesses and he can turn the speed on in a blink. Most would like to see Jackson and Smith swap places in terms of carries. While he may not be the best inside runner, he has to be on the field more often.
Major Injury Concerns
The Falcons really got bit by the injury bug in this one. William Moore, Kemal Ishmael, Lamar Holmes, Joe Hawley, and Justin Blalock all headed to the locker room with injuries and none returned. It even got so bad that Peter Konz had to move to center and TE Levine Toilolo to right tackle. The Falcons have been really lucky so far up until this game, but they got it and then some vs. the Vikings. And to really top it off, they left two of their offensive linemen as inactives.