When Harry Douglas said last week that Roddy White, injured and held out of practice all week, would play this past Sunday against the Giants, he sounded pretty convincing. As it turns out, he was right, but what Douglas didn't say is how much White would play.
White, who is second on the Falcons' active list of consecutive games played, played 50 of the 68 offensive snaps in Sunday's win, but he served to impact the game as a decoy rather than with his statistics. White was targeted five times and caught two of them for 16 yards, but the attention he received from the Giants defense in conjunction with the attention they gave Julio Jones, allowed Douglas an opportunity to step up and play a role for the Falcons that he hasn't had much of an opportunity to play this season.
Douglas finished the game Sunday with three catches for 83 yards. He didn't lead the team in yards or touchdowns, Jones took care of that with his six-catch, 74-yard and two touchdown day, but Douglas did come through in some key spots.
His first catch of the day came on Atlanta's second possession. On the first, the Falcons used a fast turnover from the defense to get into the end zone quickly. On the next drive, Douglas caught his first pass of the day for a 37-yard gain that got the Falcons inside the red zone. His final two catches came on third downs, converting them both, including his final catch for 36 yards that helped the Falcons get in position to put the game away in the third quarter.
"Harry had his most productive game," head coach Mike Smith said on Monday. "Harry is a guy that we feel has a very good skill set obviously, and he's a guy that deserves to get his touches. Sometimes we don't get an opportunity to get him a ball because it's going other places."
Douglas was able to take advantage of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's game plan to beat the Giants pass rush on a day when White would potentially be limited. The 37-yarder to Douglas was the first in a series of big plays from Douglas and Jones from the arm of QB Matt Ryan. Douglas said after the game Ryan saw him get free quickly into the route on the big gain.
"We saw the defenders suck up; he actually tried to grab me," Douglas said. "I didn't let him grab me, and Matt gave me a great ball."
That catch was the first of the two big plays from Ryan to Douglas and the fifth-year wide receiver was a viable option in specific plays designed against the Giants.
"He had one in the first half down the left sideline on their side of the field," Smith said of Douglas' catches. "Then he had the seam route there on third down. We got the perfect look that we were looking for and Harry did a nice job running the route and Matt was able to deliver the ball."
It was Douglas' fourth-highest yardage total in a single game in his career. Last season he had 133 yards against the Saints and gained 96 and 92 yards in single games in his rookie season.