A terrible effort all around from Atlanta in its 31-28 loss to Minnesota. They were shredded on the ground by quarterback Josh Dobbs, making his first start for the Vikings since being traded last week.
Read on for Hat tips & head-scratchers from the Falcons’ loss to the Vikes.
Calais Campbell gets home
Calais Campbell has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career, and on Sunday he showed he’s still got a decent bit left in the tank.
After wide receiver Van Jefferson botched yet another play on offense and forced the Falcons to punt, Campbell came up with a clutch sack-safety of quarterback Josh Dobbs.
With the Falcons’ offense struggling mightily in the first half, Campbell tossed a couple of points on the scoreboard and denied the Vikings a potential scoring drive.
Arnold Ebiketie forces the fumble
Midway through the second quarter, defender Arnold Ebiketie sacked Josh Dobbs and knocked the football loose, leading to a recovery and return by linebacker Lorenzo Carter. Carter would almost take it to the house, but was stopped a couple of yards shy of the goal line.
For the offense’s anemic performance to that point, Atlanta’s defense completely kept them in the game with timely plays.
A perfect day for Koo
Kicker Younghoe Koo was Atlanta’s entire scoring offense through the first half, hitting three field goals — the longest from 52 yards in the first quarter.
Koo would finish 4/4, including a 54-yarder and an extra point from distance due to yet another Van Jefferson miscue.
As suffering Atlanta Falcons fans, Younghoe Koo is our constant.
Since coming over in a trade from Los Angeles two weeks ago, Van Jefferson has done nothing but contribute negative yards. Last week he dropped a would-be fourth-down conversion to end the game, and this week he was responsible for two penalties in key situations to put the Falcons in a bad position.
His OPI negated a fourth-down conversion by Cordarrelle Patterson early on, and his unnecessary roughness penalty after a touchdown forced Younghoo Koo to kick an extra point from another zip code.
Instead of adding extra options in the receiving game, Jefferson has had a net negative impact in Atlanta.
Coach Arthur Smith needs to be held to the fire for his decision-making, because with an offense that features three top-10 picks at skill positions, Atlanta has only scored 166 points through nine games. There’s no excuse for running back Bijan Robinson not to see the field in goal-to-go situations and instead opt for jet sweeps to tight end Jonnu Smith.
Tyler Allgeier had more carries in the loss than Robinson, and that seems to have become more of a feature in this offense than a bug.
Coupled with the continued offensive absence of Kyle Pitts, Smith’s game management is bordering on inexcusable.
Sunday featured some of the worst situational tackling that this team has put on tape all year. Cornerback Dee Alford’s missed sack on quarterback Josh Dobbs allowed him to shake free and scramble for a score. Dobbs would repeat that feat later in the third quarter, with two would-be tacklers flailing in his wake.
The most consequential missed tackle came from defender Bud Dupree in the waning seconds of the game, missing a clear sack on Dobbs to allow him to rush for 22 yards to complete the fourth-down conversion and set up the win.