The Falcons haven’t done much when it comes to red zone efficiency. Sure, the offense is getting better in this area with two passing touchdowns to Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst a week ago, but the ground game has fallen short. During the first half when the Falcons took their initial 20-3 lead, they had only rushed the ball on three occasions in the red zone, totaling just one yard.
Below is the lone rushing attempt that gained any yards in the red zone.
The Falcons first red zone rush attempt fell short by Jalen Mayfield and Chris Lindstrom not getting to the second level quick enough. Lindstrom’s assignment was to go engage Jets middle linebacker Quincy Williams. Mayfield seemingly had to first help double-team Jets defensive lineman, Quinnen Williams, along with center Matt Hennessey. After engaging for a short time, Mayfield breaks free to advance to block with slot corner Jarrod Wilson, for the Jets.
This delay took away Davis’ running lane on the edge and forced him to cut back inside where he runs into obvious traffic immediately.
img loading="lazy" src="https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg?w=100&h=56" alt width="1000" height="565" data-lazy-src="https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg" data-lazy-srcset="https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg 1799w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg?resize=300,169 300w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg?resize=768,434 768w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg?resize=1024,578 1024w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg?resize=1536,867 1536w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0173.jpg?resize=480,271 480w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px"">
On the next possession, the Falcons had a good opportunity for a large rushing gain to possibly turn into a score for Patterson. However, Jake Matthews was unable to push back on the defender and was forced close enough to Patterson that it eliminated his rushing lane and ended in a gain of zero yards.
Had Matthews been able to hold onto his block just a bit longer, it’s likely that Patterson and his speed breaks into the gap and scores six points. Nonetheless, the Falcons scored a touchdown on the next play via a 17-yard pass to Hayden Hurst. img loading="lazy" src="https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg?w=100&h=61" alt width="1000" height="615" data-lazy-src="https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg" data-lazy-srcset="https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg 1713w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg?resize=300,185 300w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg?resize=768,473 768w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg?resize=1024,630 1024w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg?resize=1536,945 1536w, https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/56/2021/10/IMG_0175.jpg?resize=480,295 480w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px"">
After their bleak attempts in the first half, the Falcons wouldn’t run the ball in the red zone until their final offensive drive. However, this is also due to their lack of red zone appearances as their first three possession resulted in two punts and a fumble.
Another area that was lacking early on, but evolved over the last two weeks is the ability to stretch the field. Atlanta’s offense has been hamstrung by its reliance on the short passing game designed to get the ball out as quickly and mitigate poor pass protection. So naturally, as pass protection improves a bit each week, so does the ability to push the ball downfield.
Below, tight end Kyle Pitts, third tight end from the strong side in a heavy set, runs a 15-yard route from right to left to extend the drive on third and one.
As a defense on third and one against and offense in a heavy set, your first thought is to stop the run. As the play developed, only three Jets defenders remained in coverage. Both corners were assigned to man coverage with the safety helping up top. Olamide Zaccheaus’ vertical route on the left side was able to draw the safety to him and free up Pitts once he got past his man.
Had Ryan and Pitts’ chemistry developed more, it’s likely that Ryan could’ve thrown the ball and anticipated Pitts being open rather than waiting until he’s actually open. Throwing the ball sooner would’ve allowed for a better opportunity for Pitts to gain yards after the catch. Instead, Pitts’ route carried him out of bounds.
The anticipation factor could later be seen on the Falcons final offensive drive on the opening play when Ryan connected with Pitts for a 39-yard gain.
When you have a 39-yard chunk play like this, there’s not a lot to complain about, and at this point I’m really just knit-picking. However, had Ryan started to throw to Pitts as he got to the 37-yard line (where he was level with the furthest defensive back), the opportunity for yards after the catch would have been much greater.
Instead, Ryan waited an additional eight yards, and while Pitts was running free at this point, Ryan’s arm strength isn’t enough to keep Pitts in stride, thus the tight end had to slow down at the top of his route. When Ryan threw the pass, there was 7.6 yards of separation between Pitts and the closest defender. At the point of reception, the distance had closed to 0.8 yards of separation.
Had Ryan hit him eight yards sooner, and it’s likely Pitts catches it and runs for a massive gain, if not a touchdown.
Source : https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/lists/falcons-all-22-week-5-jets-game-breakdown/1374