Inside Tori’s notebook: The Fun Falcons consistently win against the San Francisco 49ers

Inside Tori’s Notebook is a weekly series where Tori reopens her game notebook to look back at her notes, questions and observations from the Falcons’ most recent games. Tori breaks down her thoughts and gives her analysis of what happened and why it’s noteworthy. Inside Tori’s Notebook is sponsored by Microsoft Surface.

REV COFFEE ROASTERS; Smyrna, Ga. — As I sit in a busy corner of one of my favorite coffee shops drinking my s’mores latte with almond milk, to be honest with you and myself, I can’t get a single thought out of my head. off my head. That thought is this:

The Atlanta Falcons are fun again.

I said this on our Falcons Final Whistle podcast after the game and I’ll say it again here. I have been covering the Falcons since 2020. I have been a consumer of Falcons football for much, much longer as I was born and raised in the state of Georgia and attended the University of Georgia not too far down the road in Athens. I can’t claim to be an expert on the history of the Falcons organization, but I can claim to know a thing or two about the organization in the modern era. And what I will say is, this 2022 team could be stacked with rookies brand new to the league and veteran players on cheap, short-term contracts, and they could also have a dead cap of over $70 million, but damn if they are not interesting to watch.

The Falcons win over the San Francisco 49ers was just the manifestation of the fun in winning form.

So, without further preamble, let’s take one last look back at it.

Supplement. Supplement. Supplement.

Supplement. Supplement. Supplement.

Sometimes my brain gets stuck on a word and I can’t let it go. I use it in every other sentence. See the article : Home Pumpkin Patch helps cheer up the team | Free Content | chaffeecountytimes.com. Well, over the past week, that word is the word that appeared not once, not twice, but three times in my notebook. And yes, that is the word written three times above.

The Falcons struggled to produce positive yardage on first and second downs against Tampa Bay last Sunday. It was something I wrote about and asked about (a lot) all week. I did that because I felt that was one of the main problems the Falcons had offensively in the loss. They didn’t stay on track. They gave up too many negative plays. It kept them in far too many third-and-long situations, which they struggled in, partly because they became too one-dimensional. That’s not who the Falcons are.

Atlanta is a team that thrives when they pick up three or four yards and pound the ball on the ground. They are a team that has a foundation in its physicality as an offense. They have become a team that relies on using the run game to supplement its ability to stay on track and keep the chains moving.

Asked about this post game, Arthur Smith said when the Falcons did what they did Sunday (running the ball 40 times for an average of 4.2 yards a carry), he noted that they will be a team with “a lot of defense.” That worked especially in Marcus Mariota’s favor, who finished the game with 50 rushing yards on top of a very efficient 13-of-14 day through the air. Smith and Mariota both said it was a layer of the game the 49ers opened up for the Falcons.

“Some of them were designed quarterback runs, some of them where he was able to extend games – (with that) huge third-down conversion (before the half) – because of the way they like to attack the pocket , and if they drop out of there, there’s a lot of room for him,” Smith said.

And that play at the end of the half Smith is referring to? When Mariota struggled for a 15-yard pick-up on third-and-long? It’s a play that Kyle Shanahan said changed the game.

“I thought the biggest play of that game was in the second quarter, 3rd-and-13,” Shanahan said. “We finally had them on third down and long. I don’t know what happened, but we got clear up the middle and Mariota was allowed to scramble for first down and ended up getting a seven-point lead to go in. at halftime.”

Mariota’s ability to extend plays and escape the pocket is another layer to the Falcons’ offensive success.

Whether it’s Mariota, Tyler Allgeier or Caleb Huntley (more on the young backs later), their production is something that — yes — complements the Falcons passing game and overall ability to move the ball downfield.

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Well, that was wild

I’m talking about the sequence of events early in Sunday’s game where Rashaan Evans knocked the ball out of Jeff Wilson’s arms on a 1-yard run. A.J. Terrell picked up the fumble and returned it 20 yards. On the same subject : O-Zone: Mixing it up. As he reached for the touchdown, he was pushed by George Kittle and the ball fell from his hands. Jaylinn Hawkins fell on it and was rewarded with the touchdown.

After the game, there were jokes about the moment.

Smith said he will have to get the defensive backs in the ball-handling drills that assistant coach Michael Pitre does with the running backs.

Hawkins was asked if he stole Terrell’s touchdown from him. He grinned.

“I was like, ‘Bro, that’s your touchdown!'” Hawkins said. “You know what I’m saying? Like it was your turn. I mean, at the end of the day though, I always got my dawg back, so it’s all good.”

It wasn’t the only time Hawkins had someone’s back, either. At the start of the fourth quarter, Darren Hall tipped a pass and Hawkins was right there behind him to come down with the interception. This was the second consecutive pass break-up in which Hall started the final quarter. Hall played well in relief of Terrell, who missed most of the second half with a thigh injury.

In all, the Falcons accumulated three takeaways against the 49ers, and that doesn’t even include a key turnover on downs in the redzone in the fourth quarter.

When you break down the 49ers second half drive resume, it’s actually a very impressive look for this defense. Don’t you believe me? I want to show you. Here’s the breakdown of every finish on every drive to San Francisco in the second half:

Third quarter begins: Punt… Punt…

Fourth quarter begins: Interception… Turnover on downs… Game ends

Evans said after the game that the Falcons played their most complete game of the season. This defensive performance was a big reason why.

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I really don’t wanna hear it

I started seeing the same thing over and over again in the final minutes of Sunday’s win: This win for the Falcons wasn’t a big deal because of the injuries to the 49ers, not just in the last week, but throughout this year. And look, I get it. San Francisco is the most injury-plagued team in the league right now. Read also : Best Workout Week 6 | 10.14.22. And I hate it for them because I like what they do holistically as an organization. You hate it for the players too.

But even saying this, I don’t agree with the sentiment that this win wasn’t a big deal for the Falcons or that it “didn’t count” because the 49ers were without some of their best defensive playmakers. I saw that a lot during the game and after the game and I’m just not into it.

Were the 49ers without a significant number of players on Sunday? Yes. They were, and no one is apologizing for that fact. But I will say this is the reality of the NFL. We just finished week 6 of the season. Injuries happen every year at this time and this year is no different. Teams must figure out the best way to contend not only with their weekly opponents, but the injuries that will accumulate. Some teams are hit harder by the injury bug than others, and it changes the way they operate.

Again, that’s the reality of the league. But it is also a reality that the Falcons played well on Sunday. And they did so without any of their own weapons. Their names may not carry as much national media attention as Nick Bosa’s, but that doesn’t make them any less important to the Falcons operation.

One of my Twitter followers (and I apologize because I forget which one) replied to a tweet of mine saying the same thing. They said something like you can only play the team in front of you. I liked that because the Falcons did it and came out with a win. It’s that simple.

At the end of the year, no one cares how many starters a team was without when they won or lost a game. It’s just the truth.

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Returning to their roots

I wrote this at the beginning of the third quarter, in the middle of the Falcons’ first drive of the half. It was the drive that ended with Kyle Pitts scoring his first touchdown on American soil. In said drive, the Falcons handed the ball to Allgeier and Huntley six times almost in a row. In the middle of those six carries was a 20-yard scramble by Mariota.

At the moment, the drive – for me – was for the Falcons to return to their roots.

Can you believe it? These “roots” that I refer to take hold of the running game. I don’t think I’m overstating this by saying it’s been a decade since the Falcons’ so-called “roots” were in the running.

It’s also interesting that they’re doing it with Allgeier (a rookie) and Huntley (a former practice squad player). And speaking of fun? They are fun to watch when the ball is in their hands because they run hard and hard in the physical sense.

When Cordarrelle Patterson was placed on IR a few weeks ago, I’m not going to lie, I thought the Falcons run game could potentially take a hit. However, that does not seem to be the case at all.

After the game, Mariota was asked about replacing Patterson’s production, and I thought his answer was very telling of 1) how much this offense values ​​Patterson, but also 2) how solid a job Allgeier and Huntley are currently doing to make up for his loss .

“When you have a guy like CP, he does so many different things for you, doesn’t he?” Mariota said. “He’s a great receiver out of the backfield. He’s a great runner. And it really takes a good group of guys to be able to fill that position when he’s down, and our young backs have done an incredible job of finding ways to get hard yardage on..”

The Falcons have a top-5 rushing offense at the moment. It’s part of who they are, and they don’t shy away from it.

“I really believe when we’re able to run the ball the way we do and make some plays in the passing game, we’re tough to defend,” Mariota said. “The more we can do that, the more we can show our versatility, I think will be beneficial for the rest of the year.”

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 scores a touchdown during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Brandon Magnus/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Lorenzo Carter #9 goes back to the locker room during halftime during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders perform during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts #8 against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

A combined game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo: Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Brandon Magnus/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

A close-up of Atlanta Falcons linebacker Lorenzo Carter #9 during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Brandon Magnus/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Detail view of the reflection in the eye of the Atlanta Falcon statue before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

Fans enter the stadium before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons line up for a play before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Brandon Magnus/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder #4 arrives prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Overhead view of the field before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

The Dirty Birds Nest cheer before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Rashaan Evans #54 makes a tackle during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Brandon Magnus/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans cheer during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier #25 rushes in the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Kyle Hess/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Ceelo Green pulls the train horn before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans cheer during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans cheer during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver #26 reacts after a turnover in the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Kyle Hess/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell #24 fumbles and runs to the end zone in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Kyle Hess/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Fans cheer inside the Dirty Birds Nest during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/Atlanta Falcons)

Chamberlain Smith/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tight end MyCole Pruitt #85 catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Kyle Hess/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Freddie Falcon swings across the stadium before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo: Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge #12 arrives prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett #97 during the anthem prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins #32 recovers a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons )

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons guard Justin Shaffer #75 arrives prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

Mitchell Martin/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tight end Feleipe Franks #15 warms up prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 carries the ball for a touchdown during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts #8 arrives prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

Mitchell Martin/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts #8 celebrates with teammates after a touchdown in the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta Falcons)

Mitchell Martin/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts #8 celebrates after a touchdown in the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota #1 carries the ball for a touchdown during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Matthew Grimes/Atlanta Falcons)

Matthew Grimes/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons safety Erik Harris #23 arrives prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, October 16, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Shanna Lockwood/© 2022 Atlanta Falcons

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