The Atlanta Falcons continue to surprise this season, as they grinded out yet another victory in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears, and it has led to more overreactions flying in regarding the team. Atlanta snuck out a 27-24 victory against the Bears to remain in competition for the top spot in the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which much more than anyone in the organization could have asked for entering this season.
Atlanta isn’t exactly dominating their opponents, but they are doing enough to win games, and that was certainly the case once again in Week 11. The Falcons managed to slow down Justin Fields, who has been on fire recently, and the Bears offense just enough to pull out a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
The Falcons latest win wasn’t without its fair share of questions and criticisms, and it has caused quite a few overreactions to flare up as a result. Let’s take a look at three such overreactions and see why they have been labeled as overreactions in the aftermath of Atlanta’s fifth win of the season.
1. The Falcons have no quarterback competition for Marcus Mariota anymore
The Falcons have been rolling with Marcus Mariota under center this season, and the results have been tough to judge. On one hand, Atlanta is winning games, but on the other hand, Mariota isn’t exactly doing anything to move the needle. Mariota has been the definition of a game-manager, and his strange play has led some fans to call for Desmond Ridder.
Mariota hasn’t played well enough to be fully exempt from blame when Atlanta struggles, but it feels like Ridder wouldn’t exactly offer much of an upgrade over Mariota. Ridder is a rookie and hasn’t played a single snap this season. For a Falcons team looking to compete this season unexpectedly, they can’t really afford to see what Ridder has to offer.
Despite that, there’s really no reason for the Falcons to be married to Mariota if he continues to play inconsistent football. If the coaching staff suddenly feels like Ridder offers them a better chance to win now, they should play him. There’s not necessarily a quarterback competition in Atlanta right now, but Mariota’s role isn’t exactly set in stone, and this win over Chicago shouldn’t change that.
2. The Falcons defense is one of the most underrated units in the league
While the offense somehow finds a way to piece things together on a weekly basis, so does the defense as well. The Falcons had a tall task in slowing down Fields, who again, has been on fire lately. And while Fields still had a solid outing, the Falcons defense did a good job at containing him for much of the afternoon.
With this latest win, it’s beginning to feel like the Falcons defense is one of the more underrated units in the league. They have powered their team to wins against teams like the Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Seattle Seahawks, all teams with deadly offenses. Even in losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers, the Falcons defense more than did their job.
The problem is that Atlanta’s defense continues to give up lots of points. The Falcons are giving up 24.9 points per game, and they haven’t won a game when the offense has scored less than 23 points. It may seem like Atlanta is winning thanks to their defense, but the truth is the Falcons are only winning when they find a way to put points on the board.
3. The Falcons should continue having Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson split carries
Cordarrelle Patterson’s unexpected stint on the injured reserve opened up snaps for Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley at running back, and while they held their own in Patterson’s absence, Patterson is back on the field now. Yet the Falcons have continued to roll with Allgeier and Patterson splitting snaps at running back for the time being.
It makes sense, as Allgeier has shown a lot of promise this season, and Patterson takes on a big workload anyways. Huntley has largely been phased out of the offense for the time being, but the Falcons offense is at their best when they are pounding the football on the ground protecting a lead.
For that to happen, though, it would make a lot more sense to give Patterson more carries, as he’s been much more effective than Huntley so far this season. Patterson is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, whereas Huntley is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Patterson should be getting much more than two more carries than Huntley like he did in Week 11, and if the Falcons want to continue to win, they would be wise to implement that change sooner rather than later.