Falcons Three-And-Out: Week 5 vs. Broncos
The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Denver Broncos on Sunday, 23-16, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. There is a lot of good to take away from the game, so let's jump right to it.
1. Falcons pass rush ignited
The Falcons came into today's game with four total sacks through four games. Last season, the team finished 32nd in the NFL with 19 sacks and have struggled to pressure the passer since former Pro-Bowler John Abraham left the team in 2012.
The defense came up with six sacks in today's game, led by 2015 first-round pick Vic Beasley Jr. Beasley routinely beat Denver's offensive line with speed and pursuit. With only five sacks in two NFL campaigns, the second-year defensive end badly needed a breakout game and got one today. It is clear future Hall-of-Famer Dwight Freeney's presence is helping Beasley both on and off of the field. Falcons fans have been asking for this type of effort for four years, and they got it today.
2. No Julio? No Problem
Wide receiver Julio Jones only caught two passes for 29 yards against the Broncos after catching 12 passes for 300 yards last week against the Carolina Panthers. Even so, the Falcons offense was able to move the ball on the best defense in the league by staying balanced on offense with a strong running game.
Atlanta ran the ball for 122 yards and took advantage of Denver's 22nd-ranked rushing defense. The offensive line, led by offseason acquisition Alex Mack, dominated the line of scrimmage and even controlled Denver's dangerous pass rush.
3. Sickle-Cell No Concern for Coleman
There was a lot of talk about whether or not running back Tevin Coleman could play in the thin air in Denver because he has sickle-cell Trait. Head coach Dan Quinn assured he had no concerns and he was right. Coleman had the best day of the deep group of Atlanta's playmakers, posting 163 total yards and one touchdown. Coleman was a matchup nightmare for Denver's linebackers, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan called his number for a lot of critical plays today.
The Falcons have now beaten both of the NFL's Super Bowl teams from last season in back-to-back weeks. The offense is deep, talented, and dangerous while the defense has improved each week. They also now have a strong hold on the NFC South with a 4-1 record, as they travel to Seattle next week to face the 3-1 Seahawks. Quinn has arranged for the team to spend the week out in Seattle instead of flying back to the East Coast.