More Film Study: Falcons vs. Panthers (Home/Away)

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  • So yesterday I watched the tape of the Falcons game against the Saints, one of the Falcons 3 losses on the season. Tonight I watched both match-ups Atlanta had against another division rival, Carolina.

    Carolina and Atlanta split the season series - though the Panthers came very close and arguably should have swept the Falcons .. they kind of self destructed the last 1:45 or so in their first meeting at the Georgia Dome.

    I figured the Panthers would be a decent gauge to see how the Falcons handle two big strengths the Seahawks have..
    - Carolina runs the read option
    - Carolina has a strong running game.. with a big back (Tolbert), and two other backs (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.. who only played 1 of 2 games)

    In watching both games.. a lot of the same things I noticed in their game against New Orleans, came up again. We're all very well aware that the Falcons are a dangerous team offensively, that much was seen in their first matchup against Carolina and the 2nd half against the Panthers in their Week 14 rematch. Their Week 4 game against the Panthers had something that was rarely seen for the Falcons in 2012.. a running game. Michael Turner had a fantastic outing in this one.. as he gashed the Panthers for 103 yards on only 13 carries and had another 68 yards receiving (though 60 of those came on one play). Either way.. Turner was a force to be reckoned with in their first match-up.. the second match-up though? Not even remotely. Turner had just 14 yards on 7 carries, his back-up Jacquizz Rodgers actually did more on the ground with 21 yards.. but did pitch in 6 receptions (more on this later).

    The first meeting against the Panthers was a back and forth affair throughout the first half.. as the Panthers started off strong on D and put together a beautiful scoring drive with their first possession. Once again, LB Stephen Nicholas was picked on throughout by a tight end (more on this later).. and when the Panthers ran the read option, about 80% of the time it gained at least 4 yards. Of course, having Cam Newton definitely doesn't hurt.

    The Falcons meanwhile had a field day picking on safety Haruki Nakamura in this one.. as Roddy White routinely beat him like a drum.. White had 169 yards receiving on 8 receptions.. two of those were for scores, and the most notable came when the Falcons trailed 28-27 late and were pinned back at their own 1.. White beat Nakamura clean on a go route for a 59 yard gain.. a couple plays later, Matt Bryant is kicking the GW 40 yard field goal.

    In this meeting and their second one, the Panthers were able to generate pressure on Matt Ryan.. more often than not, by just rushing 4 guys. Charles Johnson had a monster outing against the Falcons in the first meeting, as he had 3.5 of the Panthers 7 sacks that day. In round 2, the Panthers were only able to sack Ryan 2 times.. but had steady pressure on him throughout.. again.. the majority of the pressure came on the interior of the Falcons line. I think Brandon Mebane could be quite disruptive come Sunday.. enough to where it may open up rush lanes for Bruce Irvin, and whoever else we plan on shooting off the right side of the Falcons line.

    I've said all along the key to winning this isn't going to be slowing down Matt Ryan. Case in point against the Panthers.. Ryan did this:

    Week 4 vs CAR - 25/40, 363, 3 TD, INT
    Week 14 AT CAR - 34/49, 342, 2 TD, INT

    Really not a lot of discrepancy in either game.. and Week 4 actually saw the Falcons blowing a 10 point 2nd half lead at home.. whereas in round two, Atlanta fell behind 23-0 before finally losing 30-20.

    The key to winning will unquestionably be.. how well Seattle runs the football. Here are the Panthers team rushing totals in each game:

    Week 4 AT ATL - 35 carries, 199 yards, 2 TD
    Week 14 vs ATL - 32 carries, 195 yards, 2 TD

    On tape.. the Falcons defense is going to give up a lot of yards.. where they tighten up is inside their own 30.

    This is a defense that FEASTS off turnovers as well. Mike Nolan also seems to play it pretty conservative until obvious passing downs, and then he turns into Dick LeBeau Jr. Nolan's Falcons showed all kinds of exotic blitzes on 3rd and long.. sometimes sending as much as 7 guys against Cam Newton.

    I also noticed, in each game.. the Falcons as a whole are a very suspect tackling team.. this could play a huge role in the outcome Sunday as we all know.. the Seahawks stable of RB's aren't exactly easy to bring down..

    For the Seahawks defense.. Atlanta is going to throw a whole different variety of formations at them. In the 3 games I watched, I've seen a good 25 formations. They range from stance, to motion, to which WR's are where.. it's really a fun offense to watch and Gus Bradley is going to have his hands full. The one thing I saw on tape that concerns me is the Falcons ability to throw screen passes. I don't think we faced many teams this season that run the screen as effectively as the Falcons do. They loved running screens with the aforementioned Jacquizz Rodgers.. and Ryan beat the Panthers on a blitz with a screen to Michael Turner to the tune of a 60 yard touchdown.

    Either way, I can see the Seahawks offense replicating a lot of what the Panthers were able to do on offense come Sunday. The more I see from the Falcons defense, the less I believe they will be able to hold the team under 200 yards rushing. Which bodes extremely well for us come kickoff.
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    Hasselbeck
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  • I think the running game is the key to this whole game, run the ball, control the clock, limit turn overs.

    The Falcons run D is not the best. Remember WA had the #5 rushing D at 95 yards a game, and we walked out of there with 224 yards rushing and we put up those numbers mostly in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th quarter.

    so key to the game "feed the beast" no matter how cliche that sounds, its what works and its the strength of this team.
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  • How are they using Jacquizz Rodgers and how do you think they'll use him to exploit us? I've heard a few pretty respectable analysts say that he will be an x-factor along with T. Gonzalez against us this Sunday.
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  • kmedic wrote:How are they using Jacquizz Rodgers and how do you think they'll use him to exploit us? I've heard a few pretty respectable analysts say that he will be an x-factor along with T. Gonzalez against us this Sunday.

    I can put together a highlight vid if you want. We mainly use him in the passing/screen game and on sweeps, but he runs really well between the tackles. Much better than Turner imho...just needs to be fed. It's a shame how underused he is. Turner freaking stinks this year.
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  • Good stuff, Hass.

    I pointed out a couple times in other threads my honest "major" concern actually comes out of the backfield, with Quizz taking dumpoffs and screens. However...our D is incredibly disciplined to the scheme and I wouldn't be all that surprised if ET hones in on Quizz when he's in the game, looking to sniff out those screen plays to blow them up.

    It'll be a huge game of chess on when our front 4 need to pin their ears back and get after Ryan, and when they need to be cautious about not being overly aggressive, when the screen play situations come up.

    Offensively, I think it'll be time to open it up all the way, while still resting on #24 to establish the tone.
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  • Falcan Moore wrote:
    kmedic wrote:How are they using Jacquizz Rodgers and how do you think they'll use him to exploit us? I've heard a few pretty respectable analysts say that he will be an x-factor along with T. Gonzalez against us this Sunday.

    I can put together a highlight vid if you want. We mainly use him in the passing/screen game and on sweeps, but he runs really well between the tackles. Much better than Turner imho...just needs to be fed. It's a shame how underused he is. Turner freaking stinks this year.


    Well if they do what they did against the Panthers.. they're going to primarily utilize him in the screen game. The Falcons run the screen exceptionally well, and our young LB's are going to have to be on alert for it.. you can tell though when you see him run and watch Turner run, just how different the two backs are. Turner really is a shell of his old self, and you saw that more later in the season than you did in the Week 4 game where quite frankly - he played great.

    My concern if I'm Gus Bradley though is limiting the damage done on screens. I think when Rodgers is in there and its a gun formation or the Falcons come out in their 2 WR/TE form or 3 WR form.. that should sort of tip them off to pay attention to the screen.

    Agree with Falcan Moore though - Rodgers is pretty dangerous between the tackles.. he gives me some shades of Maurice Jones-Drew back there, just in a smaller frame.
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  • Forget trying to run at Irvin, I think they are more intent on testing him with screens
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    Scottemojo
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  • Quizz was a nightmare against USC. He's hard to spot until he's right on top of you because of his height. That height, and lower center of gravity, can make him hard to bring down, and he's a pretty strong runner as it is. Guys will need to form tackle around his waist or he will run right through them.
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  • I've watched around 5 of Atlanta's games this week.

    They are a very suspect tackling team. For Seattle it seems like we have a quarter or a half here and there and us fans go nuts. With the Falcons (in the games I've watched), it seems to be present most of the time.

    Quizz is the real deal, imo. I don't know why they are so stubborn with Turner. Quizz has tree trunks for legs and he can start and stop in the blink of an eye. He can run in between the tackles, bounce it outside, and can catch the ball out of the backfield. I guess Atlanta is just being loyal.

    All the backs seem to do a good job of catching the ball (including Snelling).

    Ryan will try to squeeze the ball in to tight spots. He really trusts his receivers to either catch it or knock it away from the defender (which they do). Sometimes the ball comes out quick, but Ryan likes to hold on to it because he has so many weapons. It is giving me hope that we can get to him a few times.
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