Editor's note: Archer's Take is a weekly series in which Falcons analyst Dave Archer provides insight and analysis of each Falcons game.
Julio’s greatness is that everyone is trying to stop him, and can’t
Julio Jones is unbelievable, and I think everybody knows that. To be the focal point of everyone’s pass defense and still be able to do what he’s done magnifies how good of a player he has been. It’s hard to comprehend reaching 10,000 yards receiving that fast. It’s a testament to how good of a player he is.
But to understand how good of a feat this is, you need to think about the fact that every time he shows up at a ballpark their defense is designed to make sure that #11 doesn’t beat them, and he still has the ability to do what he does.
On Julio’s will to get in the end zone the past two weeks
Julio’s touchdown this weekend started as a good read by Matt Ryan. The ball was on the one-yard line. As Matt Ryan comes to the line of scrimmage, he has a decision to make. Is he going to run the ball with Tevin Coleman, or throw it out quickly because Cleveland doesn’t have enough guys out to defend Julio Jones? Ryan comes to the line of scrimmage and is essentially counting how many guys they have in the box. He’s looking to see if Cleveland had enough guys out to defend Julio on the quick screen. If there weren’t enough people to keep Julio out, he was going to have two blockers out in front of him in Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley. Ryan makes the read, it’s a quick snap and throw out there to Julio. They’re going to get two of the three defenders blocked, and now it’s up to Julio to run through the other one. And we know that at 6’3” 220 pounds and full of will, Julio Jones is going to win that.
Cleveland’s success in the running game was more will than scheme
What Cleveland got in the running game was really disappointing for the Falcons because of they had done the past two weeks. They had essentially taken away Saquan Barkley in the Monday Night game, and then Adrian Peterson and a Washington running game that was extremely hot coming into the game last weekend. They took both of those running games away, and they weren’t able to do that this week. And that really provided an opportunity for the young Baker Mayfield to get going.
Nothing from a schematic perspective stood out, it was just sheer will and not getting blocked by the man in front of you. The Falcons didn’t do that as well this week. Subsequently, Cleveland’s run game got rolling, that helped their quarterback get hot, and they were able to get the ball out quickly. And limiting Nick Chubb was one of our Keys to the Game. It looked a little bit like Georgia playing football on Sunday.
On Nick Chubb’s 92-yard run
It was a simple off tackle play to Chubb. They were staying conservative at their own eight yard line. They brought bigger personnel with extra tight ends into the game. They were running it to the Falcons left side, and they did a nice job of blocking it at the first level to create a crease. At the second level, the linebacker, Duke Riley, gets washed out. Duke has the speed and ability to outrun blocks to make plays. And that’s what he was trying to do, outrun the block to the hole, but in this instance it helped the guard push him past the hole. In retrospect, I think he would have liked to go back and set his feet to take on the block to squeeze down the lane to prevent Chubb from coming downhill at full speed, and instead chop his feet and adjust his path. That might have allowed more time to get more Falcons hats to the ball.
At that point, the secondary needs to be in damage control mode. Desmond Trufant is keeping outside leverage even though he had a receiver in front of him trying to block him. Damontae Kazee is the safety, meaning his job is to minimize damage. Kazee is a very aggressive player and comes after the play at full speed. He’s in the right spot, he just misses on the tackle. He went down around the ankles, and Chubb is a big, strong back that can break arm tackles. Kazee is probably thinking that he needed to slow play that one a little, give ground and limit it to a 45 or 50-yard play. Still would have been a big play, but not a touchdown.
Baker Mayfield is not your average Browns' quarterback
Mayfield just continues to get better every week. Since Matt Ryan was drafted by the Falcons, Cleveland has drafted a litany of quarterbacks. But Baker looks like he has a little something to him. He’s got a moxie to him. There’s a game savviness that he possesses. He knows when to get out of the pocket, and he takes care of the football. That was something I thought he did a good job of.
Their plan was to get the ball out quickly, and he got the ball out, did a good job of distributing it with accuracy, he had zip on the ball, and he didn’t put it in harm’s way. The only interception the Falcons got was thrown by their halfback. He continues to grow and I think he’s going to be a good player.