Falcons vs. Panthers: Is Atlanta for real?
Guys welcome to the PUCK. Alex Post Game Podcast for the two thousand eighteen season week. Eleven the Atlanta Falcons Skins in Charlotte taken up division rivals the Carolina Panthers Join me always as my co host Phil Writer Colic. Evan Burchfield Evan arguing. I'm doing great how you doing. I'm good It was a great weekend. We're going to jump straight into it because for the second week in the road. The Falcons have dominated a division of obviously last week. They went into New Orleans. They pulled off the major upset for a seven seven one the Orleans team that many people thought was one of the best teams in the C.. Maybe in the NFL. They beat them in their home. And they repeated the performance on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers beating them twenty nine to three in Charlotte in the division game and it has a lot of people people wondering if this now three and seven. The Falcons team can actually finish out the season really strong and maybe even statistically make the playoffs play offs. Oh do I think the odds of that are low. Start Evan with the offense because twenty nine points is a little bit of a Misnomer Snow Mer they actually scored twenty two points offensively. There was a punt return touchdown from Kenya Barner so they they did put on twenty two points on the board not exactly a dominant performance from the offense that I felt like there are a lot of positive things so real quick Matt Brian. twenty-one for thirty three hundred eleven yards passing touchdown he broke a record that we'll talk about later. The running game was little bit underwhelming. Coming Calvin Ridley was arguably the best player of the game on offense eight receptions one hundred forty three yards touchdown. What were your what were some of your takeaways? From the offense. The Falcons offense did against this of a panthers. Defense Yeah I think the big big elephant in the room was not having Austin Hooper how the team would be affected because he's been playing this whole season at basically an elite level among tight ends Every statistic he's basically been in the top three like him and Travis Kelsey so this was going to be a big test coming into this game and the offense seemed you know for the most part fine Calvin Ridley obviously as you mentioned being the big benefactor from hooper being out A reception two hundred forty three yards a touchdown light. That's an incredible day for Calvin Ridley any look good. Julio had you know Typical Julio Day six receptions ninety one yards Russell gauge got a little more action. Looking good at the tight end spot. I mean Jaden Graham in Luke stocker where the ones stepping up luke. Stalker occur. I believe didn't even have a target Jane. Graham only had two catches for twenty three yards. So it's pretty much you know they shied away from the tight end position with superbeing out. I was looking forward to seeing Jason. Gram more in you know. Having a law is longest catch twelve yards. Like he did get us there. It's just a a weren't going through the tight end position as they were in the past So Basically Ryan had to focus on his receivers and he did that in they they offer the most part played. Well the big thing I was looking at going in this game was the running back position because obviously devante Freeman being out for probably multiple weeks. Who knows at this point but Brian Hill looked good in the action. He's received this year so is going to be interested in seeing him. Go up against the panthers who I mean looking at just overall at the year. They've been one of the worst run I think they were twenty ninth ranked against the run. which is terrible? I know you know in terms of fantasy football over the last four weeks they've allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing running back so they've been dreadful full so it seemed like a big Brian Hill game In it really wasn't a he had fifteen carries for thirty yards his longest being eleven yard. So you can pretty any much. Tell how Brian Hillsdale in obviously no touchdowns actually one he did score but it was called back to Italy holding in Quadri not all of a sudden ended up scoring had four carries for eleven yards in pretty decent. NECE I action You know I mean I was expecting becky more from Brian Hill. I think that was the biggest takeaway on like leaving. This game was like Brian Hill. Should have had a much better day on fifteen carries like if before this game you told me he had fifteen carries. I would've said he had maybe seventy yards or more I've mentioned on twitter before the game. You know as a prediction I was like I thought it was pretty much a slam dunk. Almost I was like Oh Brian Hill. He'll probably go for over one hundred. Because the last falcons running back to rush rush for one hundred yards was Brian Hill. Act Carolina I think is like we What fourteen or something? Like that. Of the twenty eighteen season he had like a hundred and fifteen yards But yeah he fell way short of that But aside from that everybody looked fine Ryan I mean he had a nice day Yeah I mean that's pretty much my offensive takeaways. Oh did you see anything else. That I didn't mention felt like to your point coming in the panthers defense was one of the best against the past they were one of the best in getting to the QB you know as far as sacks were concerned. I think they were top of the League. And and one of the worst at stopping the run so it it is somewhat funny. That the Falcons best success was through the passing game and they couldn't get the run going again. I mean you know. Division Games tend to go sideways anyways but this one definitely went off script a the the panthers did not seem seem to be able to get to Ryan consistently. He was pressured. He was sacked one or two times but for the most part for a team that has been leading the league in Saks. The Panthers did not get home to Ryan as much as I thought they would. And you know he had thirty attempts in still managed to put up three hundred yards touchdown down the interceptions so this game again did not go to script. I think that's one of the things to pay attention to is that the Falcons are sort of defying saying what the matchups look like the past couple of weeks last week against the saints Certainly you thought the saints offense could. Score insists Falcons defense and that did not go the script in. We saw that again. This week with Falcons defense holding the panthers to one measly feel they scored in the fourth quarter This falcons offense. At least right now I think is still still has some problems. Matt Ryan had his best game of the year Barnum. I think his accuracy. Accuracy was much much better in this game that has been in recent games he dropped to fantastic bombs into the hands of Julio Jones a In Calvin Ridley in this game with pressure his face. So if that continues the Falcons could be in for a really nice Finish to the season. And as you mentioned Calvin Ridley a thought was absolutely dominant in this game. He was taking advantage of some of the cover. One looks at the panthers. We're using throughout the game. He had eight targets eight receptions so everything that with his way was caught and turned into yardage fantastic from him. I will say I do think Austin Hooper was missed. Even you know we look at the points we see. Twenty nine is mentioned seven from special teams. You see twenty the two points I you know. I don't let it. Hooper was ever going to be a big factor in this game because the panthers do have some good linebackers but I feel like he is missed in. I don't I'm I WANNA make sure that fans don't write off hooper as being not essential to this offense offense after just one game because I don't think that is a fair sample size you know. Yes the Falcons succeeded but it for me. I'd I'd rather rather Matt Ryan have that reliable target in the middle in in between the seams that he's used to as opposed to not having him but overall we're all felt like the offense did what they needed to do in this game again I'll be honest. I'm still not entirely inspired by Dirk cutter or is doing offense. I think dave covered this at the alcohol. Dot Com in his recap is incredibly frustrating. To see the Falcons calkins run on first second down in gained one two yards and set up third and five thousand six long repeatedly. This is you become a trend this season in frankly. It was a trend in the dirt cutter years where we needed Matt Ryan to bail out. Even the two thousand twelve to two thousand fourteen Matt Ryan Bell from Third Long Situation's a little bit more frequently than we would like to see so I want to see this offense play better but clearly they did enough to win this game so any final thoughts no obviously with twenty twenty two points. There were several field goals that you know factored into that. There were two two touchdowns in several field goals. Anything you want to add before we move onto defense. No I mean I think we've pretty much summed it up a young way too. He's looked pretty good You know the one thing as a map Ryan lover and and Fan I've wanted to see him like further than fifty. It seems like he's he's got. I mean he missed one yesterday. which you know wasn't a good look? Look but he's looked at outside of that he's look good within like the forty range. You know which is something you WanNa see but I wanna see when he's back in the fifties range you know 'cause that's arguably where you're winning games at least the close ones But he the Falcons offense has actually been in pretty good over the last two weeks So they've been you know well enough to get him into field goal range where it's like. He's knocking down. I think he had like to to to a thirty eight yard. Field Goal attempts was missed. I think one was like Twenty Twenty Nine Yard Field Goal Twenty three yard field goal. Like those are great. I I WANNA see you know before I'm all aboard the coup train I WanNa see what he can do like in the fifty range. If that makes accents by I mean so far he's I mean he's looked better than the options. We had initially with Blair Walsh in two Vecchio. So Yeah Yeah. And so far in the Games from the by he seven for eight but as as you mentioned nothing above fifty point it remains to be seen what he can do from that distance. And as you mentioned I think it is That yardage the fifty plus yard field goals is really wear kickers. Make their money. Anything below below forty it should be. He's somewhat automatic and yet that's something where We took a lot for granted with Brian. Being the kicker Atlanta so But with that we're you know we will see young way has a i. I doubt we'll see in their kicker changed the season. I think he's GonNa be given until the end of the season. He is younger player. He's someone that I think the Falcons and moved on from just don't see them going back at this point it. It would be ridiculous if they try to anyways tempering Ryan back still unless coup comes out in completely as like taking thirty percent percent. There's no way he I mean at this point they just need to you know. Ride the ship out in you know. Then they can have that discussion in the off season. He hasn't is it done anything. I'll put it this way. He hasn't done anything to sabotage his job. It's just has he done anything to cement it as next next year going forward. Because that's how we all looked at Vecchio. We saw the field goals he was making last year. You know the team did to enough to where they were getting rid of the franchise leading scored to keep him So he's going to over the next few games in. That's not his fault. He hasn't had a fifty plus attempt. It's not like he's missing hasn't been in a position to do that in a game But I think if he does and he makes them on looks good. You know they're going to have a you. Know they might have had a bright spot here and have the kicker for the next few years or whatever so but to be determined now to be determined. Ah so before we jump into how the defense did in this dominant performance. We're GONNA take a quick break. We'll be right back. 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For for the Falcons Victory Twenty nine to three over the Carolina Panthers in week eleven two thousand eighteen season. This is Dave Walker. Joined by Evan Burchfield. Of course my Co Host for these post game. PODCAST you're talking about the Falcons defense because of all of the changes. That have happened since the bye week. I think it is it's completely non debatable. That the biggest surprise has been the turnaround in the Falcons defense. Last week in the Orleans. They held the saints to nine points no touchdowns through four quarters. They had six sacks on drew brees they a followed it up with this performance Carolina which included five sacks of Carl Allen. Four freaking interceptions. Like where is this been. The they allow three point so they have now it since the bye week. They've allowed twelve points in the past two games they have eleven sacks sacks four interceptions this arguably is even better than I think what fans hoped. The defense would be at the beginning of the season. So Evan whether some of your quick takeaways about this defense since the bye week because I feel like this is the big talking point in Atlanta right now. Yeah I I mean first off the sacks are coming out of nowhere We have a pass rush in. It's look it's very good As you mentioned the interceptions like the one one Kyle Allen through in in the end zone to to find like you're taking points off the board in that sort of thing Um which were not used to seeing because you know it just it usually? That's why we ended up losing because our defense just kind of folds in the red zone in that say they've been stepping up to the plate In you have to look like Christian McCaffrey are arguably at the running back position. He's probably the best right now in terms of what he can bring to the table also aside from running the ball you know. He's he's dangerous in the passing game. he he had fourteen so even split. He had fourteen targets in the passing game. He had fourteen carries in the Russian game. He went for seventy yards rushing which which is fine by he had eleven catches for one hundred twenty one yards. He still had a Christian. McCaffrey day if you play fantasy football. You're well aware of that. The big thing though no touchdowns allowed across the board That was something. Because I don't think the saints scored either right. They scored wet nine point. So so yeah They're not allowing allowing anybody to score. That's the biggest thing with this team in. You know you look at it. And it'd it'd be different if they were playing kyle back-back weeks but they play. Drew Brees in Collin Collin for while the panthers fans and I'm sure their attitudes change now they were Kinda like wait a second. We you know we don't eat cam new and we have Alan the future Four interceptions he threw the ball fifty times like this panthers. Thirteen was getting beat in the only put up three points. That's I mean that's amazing. Especially considering the Falcons defense you know we were ready to throw away pretty much the first half of the season. They've really stepped up to the plate. In you know if you listen to last week show. You're probably going to hear me in. Dwi basically saying Oh okay this was you know. We'll see if this was a one hit wonder sort of thing We me and you basically weren't very like Oh yeah. This is the new defense that will it. Definitely CENEX We had our concerns. But I mean like are you still concerned because they've done it backpack weeks in arguably if you look at our schedule going into regular season these two were probably our toughest opponents. It's usually that at Carolina at saints or at New Orleans that's usually losses in. They didn't only be done. They beat their ass. Basically so I mean what do you think do you think this is. We can't ignore the Elephant Room that Dan Quayle apparently like a made some staffing changes and stuff like that in right away. This defense is all of the sudden. Wanted a best out there so do you. I think there's you know like this isn't going forward. This defense has basically changed face in. You know. This is what we've got now. Or what do you think's is going on. I mean you know you mentioned the coaching changes with the Jeff. elbrick calling the defensive plays on first and second down he Morris Who I think arguably is the big name to pay attention to hear where he morris who took over the secondary after the bye in this calling the third down plays for the for the defense has has been looking at the secondary is a night and day difference from the first eight games to these last two games? Let's talk about some of the stats in secondary You've got doesn't true fought with interception Ricardo Allen with interception in three pass breakups Z.. Interception in the past break-up is Oliver no interceptions but the two pass breakups disc defensive secondary is playing at the level. We thought the capable of and they're they did it suddenly now the nowhere. I had mentioned at the bye week when I when I had done with my podcasts analyzing the PF scores for the Falcons defense that the one thing that stood out was that the entire secondary had regressed across the board. Every a single player had gotten worse all at the same time in one season and that is just not statistically likely that pointed to an issue hugh either with the scheme or with the coaches or with both. It is highly unlikely that every single player on your defensive secondary gets worse in same season. Usually that's assign again of coaching or what. You're asking to do what we have seen. The past. Two weeks is a secondary that is playing incredibly a Better than what they were in the first eight games as we mentioned True Font Allan Casey I is a all Kendall Sheffield all these guys are playing eh much better performance level than what they had in the first eight games and then on top of that the eleven sacks holy cow You know we had six against Saint Adrian clayborn had to against the Panthers Vic Beasley has back to back games with a sack. You Watch out healthy making twenty million dollars contract tack. McKinley had another sack in I WANNA point out something about tax even though the numbers don't appear to be there. I would argue that. He has been one of our most disruptive pass rushers over the past couple of weeks he is not you know he. He does have the sack he I think. He has sacked last week but he is generating pressure on a very consistent basis. Now over the past several weeks including going back to into the game against the seahawks before the bye week tack. I think has begun to turn it around around these young player. He's in your three. I'm kind of excited to see what he can do to finish off the season But yeah it just seems like everything they were wrong. They're suddenly getting right. Eleven sacks in two games coming into the the by week they had seven sacks in eight games in the last two games I have an eleven sacks so they literally have four more sacks in six less I mean that is. That's my boy right now. How much of that is Allen versus? You know again you know you mentioned that it's not like last week. They were playing the scrub. They were playing drew brees in his home home and they sacked him six times. They held him Two touchdowns this week they may kyle. Alan look like somebody who needed to be benched. Legitimately four interceptions five sacks he. What the Falcons did this weekend may single handedly make sure that Cam Newton stays and Carolina? Yeah Exterior of all the things that happened that may be one of the big takeaways and as you mentioned I mean. It's such a great point. Both with these winds have been on the road. The Falcons have I think three of their next four games are at home. And those include games against Tampa against the panthers and against the saints in. I think the next one where they go on the road to believe is the forty niners which a tough game obviously one of the best teams in see this year. We won't talk about who the head coach is there. But we're this falcons defense is concerned. I think you asked me. Am I buying in. Yeah Yeah I kind of am. I know which is always being here. Couple weeks ago I think the the a big thing is if it just came out of nowhere it will be one thing but it came after the bye. It came with as you mentioned substantial coaching. Changes with Morris Jeff sort of taking over in a combined defensive coordinator role to me the fact that they've done on the road they've done back to back weeks the fact. They've looked good for four quarters in each game it. It wasn't like they look good for two quarters. They've looked for a straight quarters in both games. That feels like more of a real turnaround than maybe a false false positives so any. I know I realize I've gone off on this defense because it's been really exciting but any last thoughts about what you've seen from from the defense the sax the coverage just the opponents doing on the road and the anything you WANNA add. No I mean you pretty much. Covered summed summed. It up there in you know as I mentioned earlier. They're just not allowing the opponents to score. You're definitely GONNA WIN Games do not allowing touchdowns in this isn't just on the defense. But I noticed over the last two games. They've been having less penalties than their opponents. So they're they're finally playing discipline football all because there was plenty games in the first half of the season where they lost games because they had so many penalties against Carolina only had three penalties which was worth at twenty yards but the panthers had eight which was sixty eight yards and you know shoot? They were basically shooting themselves in the foot multiple times the panther so their point. I mean. It's like you don't want to say here in Brag too much because next week anything can happen but the teams turned it around and you know the proof in put in basically because we talked about this you know even around the bye week. How as the Where Julio apparently had like a big speech in players they wanNA play for Dan? Quinn and Arthur blank was in the room and since that point somebody mentioned on twitter. That tack was in the room and apparently like look someone who was really affected by it. Like okay we need to do something here. and He's played the phenomenal ever. Since like I mean I don't want to you know usually we can't ignore that kind of stuff but this team is turned it around. We knew they were talented. Even while they were losing like games they shouldn't have We knew they were talented. The staffing changes all of that. Something's happened but this this team is is all of a sudden you know even people around the League or like what we're has this team been you know in the fans are definitely asking But you know we'll see going forward but I have to agree with you the defense on buying into it Next week will be an interesting test. will be at home playing the Tampa. Bay buccaneers who Jameis Winston has looked. Pretty good against Falcons in the past But you know so as drew brees. And he didn't score a touchdown against the New Orleans. So it's going to be interesting. You know if the Falcons defense is GonNa step up again Because you mentioned at the top of the show so in maybe you WanNa talk about it a little bit. But we're still not out of the playoff race somehow statistically Leeann you and I talked about this briefly in our writers chat it seems like the Falcons best path to play. Offs is to win the Division in hope that the saints fall apart in their last the six or seven games which seems unlikely because right. Now you know the Falcons best possible who records nine and seven and you've got several teams already. Have Eight wins. Like forty forty nine hundred nine wins. Seattle has eight wins. The Vikings have eight Wayne Wins the packers. Have Eight wins so they would literally need one of you. Know the the SEATTLE MINNESOTA A or the packers to literally. Just lose out for them to get a wild card and the focus would still have to win out so statistically really really really low chances can happen you know their best bet mathematically saints sort of fall apart finish the season and they win out in win and the see south. I mean I think if you were going to bet money won't take any was GONNA put money down to the Falcons win. See South this year but you know you mentioned mentioned it. I think the big thing here is a lot of fans questioning. Hey this is is the talent actually or I. I had a lot of people. Ask Me. Is this actually a talented team. Or we can have to blow up this roster get rid of these players and I think the one thing we've seen over the past couple of games is yeah if they're coached Reid if they're putting in the right position the talent is there you know you don't Hold a saints team in their home tonight points without having talent. You don't hold a panthers team with Christian McCaffrey to three points in their home job so for me. Even if they don't make the playoffs the one of the big takeaways were seeing from this. Last couple of games is that it is somewhat correa formation. That the Falcons do have the talent to be successful. Is it too little too late for two thousand eighteen more than likely but but for twenty twenty. I think does foretell a little bit. That maybe you don't have to blow up the entire roster that there are enough good pieces that you go into twenty twenty you put you know you fix some of the issues on this roster you get some guys healthy again. This could be a very very competitive team again in twenty twenty without now having to revamp from top to bottom the minus the three or four stars. You've got so for me. That's the most reassuring thing I feel like the the talent on. This team has ruined over the past couple of weeks that they deserve a chance to prove that they compete can compete and be good players players at this level so playoffs or no playoffs. The performance of the individual players is what is highly encouraging for me. Yeah certainly so with that. We're going to wrap up this week's post game podcast. Everyone wants you tell our listeners where they can find you what you've got going on you can find me Ryan at Alchoholic on twitter at Burchfield I JUST WANNA shameless plug here. I do have probably by the time. You're listening to this. It's probably probably posted but a playoff chances article Dwi basically summed up a lot of it And I don't want to give too much away because then you won't read it But basically the Falcons have read it yet go Rita. They'll have like they win out you know. There's still a pretty good chance. They could you know they need help as the governor said but go read that Let's see what else I got my tweet recap which is probably out by time. You're reading this author listening to this also And then on Fridays. I do fantasy preview for that week's game which this week it'll be Mentioned league-wide stuff in in Yeah so hopefully by time you hear me in. Dwi Voice again. It's because we beat the buccaneers. where foreign seven or knows? What else is is going to happen after that but Yeah it's good to see a team that finally wants to win games. It seems like yeah absolutely one blessing WANNA add. Because I know a lot of fans are out there frustrated. By the fact that you know arguably the Falcons are blowing their chance quote unquote at Drafting Chase Chase. Young one of the top pass rusher is coming out Arguably in the last five ten years in here's the thing Just enjoy the games you know when you get lost in the minutia of Dra- position in salary cap in it is is hard as passionate fans. We we dive into all that stuff wants to your team succeed but oftentimes I think we overdo it in myself included. Just enjoy joy. The Games yesterday's game was fun. It was fun to watch the Falcons win it was fun to watch the defense dominate. Just enjoy this game. Enjoy the game for whether it is Fans of this team. We are fans of these player. So enjoy it you know. I think we get way too wrapped up in when the minutia of the management of team and Right now you two straight wins. This is making the season fun again so for me it as a fan even though we cover the site fell colic this this has been enjoyable experience as free guys. You can find me of course here here weekly on alcohol at Podcast at the Alcoholic Dot Com and you can follow me on twitter at Gw so forever Burchfield Walker that you guys ascertaining and we'll catch up with you.