What We Saw: Week 12

Is Cordarrelle Patterson the best waiver wire find of the year? Probably.

Falcons @ Jaguars

Final Score: Falcons 21, Jaguars 14

Writer: Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)

 

A nice break from some of the cold-weather games today, this game kicked off with a temperature around 61 degrees and the broadcast even showed some fans in the stadium’s swimming pool. Both offenses decided to play like it was a bad-weather game though, with neither passing attack doing much of anything for most of the game. The Falcons were unable to get Kyle Pitts going as the Jaguars kept sending multiple defenders at him, which left them with Cordarrelle Patterson as their only real offensive weapon. Patterson was up to the task, and after being forced to exit the game after taking an awkward hit early he returned to fuel the offense by rushing for over 100 yards and the Falcons’ first two touchdowns. For the Jaguars, James Robinson was their best player but an early fumble sent him to the bench for an extended period, during which time his absence was clearly felt as neither of his backups could get anything going and both had costly drops. Jacksonville also couldn’t get out of their own way, extending two Atlanta drives with penalties on fourth down. The Jaguars had a late comeback attempt, but the Falcons were able to hang on and win the game 21-14.

 

 

Atlanta Falcons

 

Quarterback

 

Matt Ryan: 19/29, 190 yards, TD, Int, 1 Sack | 4 carries, 6 yards

 

Matt Ryan wasn’t great today but also didn’t get much help from his receivers. Ryan was frequently forced to check down, and while he usually was happy to take easy yards there were a few too many plays where he tried to force the ball into tight coverage. Those plays were usually forced to Kyle Pitts, and it’s tough to blame Ryan for wanting to force Pitts the ball given the lack of receiving talent he’s working with. Ryan’s interception came on a throw to Pitts where the defensive back baited Ryan before dropping into coverage to double team Pitts.

 

 

Aside from forcing a few throws, Ryan did fine and was able to lean on his running game and his defense to pick up a win.

 

Running Backs

 

Cordarrelle Patterson: 16 carries, 108 yards, 2 TD | 3 targets, 2 receptions 27 yards

Mike Davis: 5 carries, 16 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 25 yards

Wayne Gallman: 4 carries, 19 yards

Keith Smith: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards

 

Cordarrelle Patterson put the Atlanta offense on his back and carried them to a win. Patterson was questionable coming into this game with an injury and briefly left the game after taking an awkward hit along the sideline. He was able to reenter the game shortly after, and once he did he never looked back. Patterson looked explosive attacking the line of scrimmage, and once he got past the initial wave of the defense his acceleration and speed were on full display. He didn’t break any truly big plays, but he was consistently able to get to the second level of the defense for solid yardage. On his first touchdown, he was forced to bounce outside but was able to outrun two defenders to the edge and just barely stretch far enough to pick up the score.

 

 

His second touchdown was more emblematic of his overall day, as Patterson burst through the line before shaking off a weak tackle attempt to find the end zone.

 

 

Mike Davis was the second running back in for the Falcons and made a really nice play to convert a long third down after Ryan checked it down to him. Davis made two defenders miss and turned what should have been a short gain into an 18-yard reception. Davis also stood out in pass protection, routinely picking up blitzes and making it look easy. He was in the backfield for almost all of Atlanta’s key passing downs. Wayne Gallman came in when Patterson missed a few snaps after getting banged up and had one nice run but was otherwise a non-factor.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Russell Gage: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 62 yards, TD

Tajae Sharpe: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards

Kyle Pitts: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards

 

Russell Gage was really the only Atlanta receiver to contribute much of anything today. Gage had one drop but was otherwise reliable as Ryan went to him on short passes again and again. Gage very nearly hurdled a defender but the defensive back was able to get just enough of him to percent Gage from sticking the landing. Gage also caught Ryan’s only touchdown on a pretty basic-looking in-route that the defense just somehow forgot to cover.

 

 

Kyle Pitts was kept in check due to no fault of his own, or for a lack of trying to get him involved by Ryan. Pitts appeared to frequently be Ryan’s first read, but Jacksonville routinely double-covered him. Pitts did come up with a crucial third-down conversion in the fourth quarter, and the offense ran the ball behind him a lot so it isn’t like he was completely taken out of the game plan.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Quarterback

 

Trevor Lawrence: 23/42, 228 yards, TD, INT, 1 Sack, Fumble | 5 carries, 39 yards

 

Trevor Lawrence looked out of sync today. He threw a bad interception on a deep ball thrown right to a defender, and it looked like he thought he could take the ill-advised shot because the defense had jumped offsides. It turned out that the penalty was on the offense, and the interception stood. Lawrence also had too many plays where it appeared he and his receiver were on different pages, particularly when trying to connect with his tight ends. Lawrence looked more comfortable throwing on the run, and when he knew where he was going with the ball his throwing velocity was apparent. His touchdown throw to Tavon Austin was a bullet to the back of the end zone.

 

 

Lawrence throws the ball hard, and his accuracy while moving made me wonder why the Jaguars don’t design more plays like that. He also looked comfortable as a runner, converting several third downs on quarterback read-option plays. But ultimately the Jaguars’ offense stalled out too many times because Lawrence thought his receiver was going to run the route a little differently and placed the ball somewhere the receiver wasn’t expecting it. If he can get some of those miscues with his receivers cleaned up the talent is clearly there for Lawrence to produce.

 

Running Backs

 

James Robinson: 17 carries, 86 yards, Fumble | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards

Carlos Hyde: 6 carries, 16 yards

Dare Ogunbawale: 1 target

 

James Robinson returned from injury and picked up right where he left off. Robinson was able to consistently find running lanes and turn plays that looked like certain losses into positive yards. He had several plays where he made a defender miss in the backfield, and his ability to make quick decisions and get to the open lane helped the Jaguars’ offense get into a lot of manageable second and third downs. Robinson did have a fumble, but it was more of a great play by the defender getting his helmet right on the football than it was bad ball security by Robinson.

 

 

Unfortunately, that play led to Robinson getting benched for the remainder of the first half. Carlos Hyde came in next, and aside from one nice run where he made a defender miss, he looked slow in comparison. When the Jaguars got into the red zone towards the end of the first half they brought in Dare Ogunbawale, rather than going back to a now rested Robinson presumably because they were still mad about the fumble, and Ogunbawale promptly dropped a wide open catch that would have been an easy touchdown. With a chance to tie the game late the Jaguars again kept Robinson on the bench, instead opting to throw the ball to Hyde who also had a brutal drop. Perhaps the Jaguars were just easing Robinson back in after he missed time with an injury, but the decision to not have their best back on the field in key situations certainly cost them today.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Laviska Shenault: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 33 yards

Marvin Jones: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 43 yards

Laquon Treadwell: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 53 yards

Tavon Austin: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 21 yards, TD

James O’Shaugnessy: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards

Dan Arnold: 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards

John Brown: 1 target

 

With Jamal Agnew out it was Laviska Shenault who finally became the focal point of the passing attack. Shenault was motioned all over the field, including into the backfield, and saw a lot of short targets designed to get him a chance to run with the ball. He picked up a long third down on a nicely designed play that saw him catch a shallow crossing route before running behind the rest of the Jacksonville receivers, all of whom were already in a position to block for him downfield. Unfortunately, that was about the only quick play to Shenault that was well-blocked. On a wide receiver screen, the blockers just completely missed the nearest defender to Shenault and allowed him to blow the play up as soon as Shenault caught the ball. Other plays weren’t blocked much better, and Shenault finished with a paltry 33 yards despite leading the team in targets.

Marvin Jones was Lawrence’s go-to guy on several big third downs and was reliable aside from dropping what would have been a difficult catch in traffic. Jones had a beautiful one-handed snag and was clearly the receiver Lawrence felt the most comfortable throwing to. Laquon Treadwell had a nice game and showed some chemistry with Lawrence by coming back and adjusting to the ball on a broken play. Tavon Austin caught the aforementioned touchdown as well as a short check-down where he showed he’s still elusive by making the first defender miss. Dan Arnold caught his only target before exiting the game with an injury, he was later ruled out with a knee injury.

 

 

James O’Shaungessey, himself returning from injury this week, stepped in as the next tight end up but his lack of practice time with Lawrence was apparent. He had the most plays where he looked to be running a different route than what Lawrence expected, and while he was able to come down with one of those catches it seemed like Lawrence started to shy away from targeting him after one particularly obvious miscommunication. John Brown saw one deep target in his second game as a Jaguar.

 

 — Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)-

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