The Atlanta Falcons (0-4) have hit the first quarter mark of their season and as Dan Quinn said this week, if his team hopes to turn the season around, they second quarter must look different. There's been several moments where the Falcons have looked unstoppable on offense, especially in the air. And there's been some glaring mistakes on the defensive side of the ball that have been hard to overcome.
All in all, the Falcons have work to do for the next three quarters if they want to make a postseason push. Here's a look at where they stand through the first quarter of the season:
To no one's surprise, the Falcons have continued to be explosive in the passing game. Atlanta has the fifth-ranked passing offense in the NFL, averaging 294.3 yards per game. Matt Ryan continues to play at a high level and the emergence of wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage has helped take the Falcons' aerial attack to the next level.
Ridley ranks No. 7 in the league in receiving yards with 349 on 21 catches and four touchdowns. Prior to Week 4, Ridley ranked second in this metric only behind Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The Falcons have been stout against the run as they rank No. 10 in the league in run defense. Giving up 106.8 yards per game, the unit has made a commitment to stopping the run. Safety Damontae Kazee, who was just placed on injured reserve, led the Falcons in tackles with 17. Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are leading the league against the run, allowing 54 and 64.3 yards respectively.
One of the biggest areas of emphasis for the Falcons this offseason was improving in the run game. Through four weeks, Atlanta ranks No. 22 in rushing offense. The Falcons average 101.8 yards on the ground per game. Todd Gurley has rushed for 254 yards on 65 carries and four touchdowns. Gurley and Co. are only averaging 3.8 yards per play. The Cleveland Browns have been the league's best rushing team through the first quarter as they're averaging 204.5 yards per game.
With the addition of Dante Fowler and a healthy Takk McKinley entering the season, the Falcons had hoped to be able to get after quarterbacks consistently. McKinley suffered a groin injury in Week 2 and has been sidelined for Atlanta's last two games against the Bears and Packers. Fowler suffered an ankle injury during training camp and has been playing through fighting through the pain over the last few weeks. The Falcons rank 25th in sacks per passing attempts as they are bringing the quarterback down on only 4 percent of throwing opportunities. To put this number into perspective, the Steelers are bringing the quarterback down 14 percent of throwing opportunities and rank first in the league in this metric.
The Falcons rank No. 31 in scoring defense as they're giving up 34.5 points per game. It's been far too easy for opponents to score in the red zone specifically. Atlanta is allowing a 77.7 percent conversion rate when their opponent enters the red zone, which is 28th in the league.
The offensive line was hard at work Thursday ahead of the Week 5 match up against the Panthers. Here are the best images from practice, presented by Quikrete.