MINNEAPOLIS – Other than turnovers, a big reason for the Falcons' 28-12 loss to the Vikings was Atlanta's inability to stop Dalvin Cook and Minnesota's rushing attack.
The Vikings rushed for 172 yards on Sunday.
The Falcons knew containing Minnesota's run game would be a factor and as Dan Quinn said following the game, his team "missed the mark."
Cook set the tempo from the beginning of the game and finished the day with 111 rushing yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Rookie Alexander Mattison added 49 yards on the ground in his NFL debut.
Atlanta knew it would come down to setting the edge to contain Cook and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was very matter of the fact when saying his team simply didn't do that.
"We didn't do what we needed to do," Jarrett said. "There weren't] edges set. They executed well. The ball kept getting outside and we [have] to go back to work and address it if we want to have a good defense."
Quinn said Minnesota's offensive scheme wasn't anything "uncommon" and something they felt prepared for and that's what made the performance "disturbing" in his eyes.
"We were prepared knowing Cook and the run game they had," Quinn said. "We didn't get it stopped the way we needed too."
In order for the Falcons' defense to be at its best and play the attacking, physical style of football Quinn wants to see, stopping the run is an essential part.
Cousins had only eight completions and threw for just 98 yards on Sunday and this was a result of Minnesota's efficiency in the run game – and a short field due to the turnovers. The Vikings (1-0) were able to establish an early lead on the Falcons without having to do a lot in the passing game.
And as Jarrett said point blankly, in order for the Falcons (0-1) to be the team they want to be, it's all about the way they "respond."