All 3 Phases Contributed to Win
Last week, head coach Dan Quinn said all three phases played a role in Atlanta's loss to Kansas City. Sunday, on the other hand, was the complete opposite.
In LA, Atlanta's offense, defense and special teams all shined, and it began with the opening kickoff, when Paul Worrilow recovered a fumble at the Rams' three-yard line and set up a touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage. That success continued when the defense forced four turnovers and scored on two of them. And the offense, led by Matt Ryan, chipped in four scores of its own, allowing the Falcons to win one of the most lopsided contests of 2016.
"All three phases of the game scored or set up points yesterday. That's attacking in all three phases," Quinn said. "That's what we're looking for. So special teams forced a turnover on the first play of the game; two scores defensively; and then three different players scored (on offense) yesterday, and I think eight different guys caught passes. So our intent, our mindset was clear right from the beginning of the week."
Beasley Determined to Keep Improving
After arguably the best performance of his young NFL career, Vic Beasley Jr. avoided taking a boastful tone with the media at Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum. Instead, he focused on one area he could improve: run defense.
While the second-year defender said he is "definitely becoming a dominant player," he told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure that "I think there's a lot of areas out there that I think I can critique. My tackling, I don't think I'm a very good tackler right now. I'm missing a lot of run tackles. Just that extra edge, if I can get better at that, it will make me a better player."
Quinn was not surprised to hear that Beasley took such a humble approach.
"He is a very aware guy, in terms of things he wants to improve upon," Quinn said. "Not only did we want to challenge him (in run defense), but he did too. And it has improved. He's played a lot of left end, and there are a lot of runs that come over to that side, especially in the nickel game where the tight end might be over to that side quite a bit. So that part of his game is definitely getting better. He's light, but he's strong, so he can play like the 250-pounder, but he's 245 pounds, where he's not as heavy as some of the defensive ends, but he's able to use his leverage, use that strength that he has. He played well."
Falcons Focusing on Themselves
The Falcons and Buccaneers both won on Sunday, meaning each team will enter Week 15 with an 8-5 record. Quinn isn't concerned with what Tampa Bay is doing, though, nor is he worried about what challenges his team might face down the road. Rather, the focus remains on what's directly in front of his team: a crucial battle with the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday.
"We know we're right here in December football. And as you get back to it, let's throw the records out. Let's go play ball," he said. "Who we're playing, where we're playing – that's kind of irrelevant, so to speak, because you just want to go battle for it. The intent of the players, that's what we're set out to do.
"Being in the present moment, being right here, that's where it's at. We have no control over things that are two and three weeks away from right now. It's, 'How good can we play this week?' And that part, the players – they recognize that, and they understand that."