CLEVELAND – Heading into Sunday’s game, the Falcons were on a three-game winning streak and a big reason to why they had been so successful was their ability to stop the run.
Atlanta’s defense had been shutting down opponents’ running backs and the offense had been controlling the clock and setting the tempo for how the game would be played. That wasn’t the case on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium and as rookie linebacker Foye Oluokun said, it was not up to the Falcons’ “standard” by any means.
The Browns rushed for 211 yard and quarterback Baker Mayfield virtually unstoppable completing 85 percent of his passes, resulting in a 28-16 win for Cleveland. The Browns scored first with 4:44 to play in the first quarter and never took their foot off the gas.
“We just came out flat and they took advantage of it,” Oluokun said of the Falcons’ defense.
The Falcons had several chances to take the lead throughout the game but offensively they were never really able to gain any momentum.
“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had,” receiver Julio Jones said.
Trailing 14-10 at the half, the Falcons had the ball to start the third quarter. On the first offensive drive, Mohamed Sanu fumbled the ball at the 37-yard line and the Browns recovered it and then went on to score a touchdown, making the game 21-10.
When the Falcons needed a score most to get back to a one-possession game, Atlanta’s offense wasn’t able to muster anything, bringing Matt Bosher on to punt.
And just two plays later, Browns’ running back Nick Chubb broke off a 92-yard run resulting in a touchdown, making the score 28-10.
This would change the way the Falcons would now have to attack and it didn’t end up being favorable for the Falcons’ offense.
Atlanta’s offense wasn’t able to dictate the game by any means and according to Jones, that’s not the style they expect to play.
“I always tell the defense it’s on us, we need to make their offense one dimensional for them so they can go out there and do what they do,” Jones said. “And today we just didn’t play our ball.”