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Chargers vs Falcons, Defensive Analysis Week 3

Hosting the Atlanta Falcons, the San Diego Chargers defense had a tough test, one they ultimately failed. See why they failed by examining the defense where it starts, the front line.

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Atlanta Falcons came to San Diego looking to show how potent their offense is, and dominated in that respect. Their offensive line was nearly impenetrable through 40 passing plays, and opened up holes on 10 runs. Just how poorly did the Charger's front seven play? Matt Ryan was only pressured on 20% of his dropbacks, which resulted in the Falcons converting 8 of 11 third downs (when the game mattered). Although they did well defending the run in the first half, allowing just 2.5 yards on 11 runs, the second half gave up nearly 100 yards on just 15 carries.

Here's the grading for the game

1st Half 51 52 54 56 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 98
Run Average .50 na 1.0 .58 .67 .33 .33 .50 0.0 0.0 .75 na
Pass Average 0.0 .20 .43 .25 .29 .17 .15 .44 .14 .25 .08 .10

2nd Half 51 52 54 56 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 98
Run Average .29 na 0.0 .10 0.0 0.0 .10 0.0 0.0 0.0 .17 na
Pass Average 0.0 0.0 .50 0.0 0.0 .12 .07 .12 0.0 .20 0.0 1.25

There's lots of suckage this week, I know. Grades were all over the place. Poor grading where you don't expect it too. Lots and lots of zeroes, and only two players that rushed the QB worth a darn all game: Ingram and Barnes. Cam Thomas scored almost exactly as Ingram yes, but that was due to drawing doubleteams which gets you a good grade by default. Let's move on.

Figure 1-Here we see Butler's immediate read and tackle upon seeing the extension for a handoff.


Figure 2-This is just Matt Ryan knowing what the defense is doing and making a routine throw.


Figure 3-Ingram looks like a real veteran here, looking for the pass when the rush doesn't have a chance.


Figure 4-I didn't understand why the coverage was bracketed so oddly. There's no chance of something good here.


The Good

Melvin Ingram still looks like a rookie sometimes, but he certainly plays like he knows what to do. I'd really like to see more of him but with Phillips and Johnson practically cemented into starting roles, he may not be able to reach into their playing time. However, between Phillips' inconsistency and Johnson's inability to rush, Ingram is at least withing swinging distance of snatching away a few snaps.

Aubrayo Franklin continues to be an anchor in the run game, and making things easier for the players around him. They just need to step up and make progress. He's practically unblockable and a force on the line. That means everyone else should try and be like him. This is it for the good.

The Bad

Larry English has gotten progressively worse every week. From .40 to .25 to .20 and I don't know why he hasn't improved, but he still plays hard, and chases after the play, so he gets an A for effort I guess. Effort doesn't cut it in the NFL though. Results do. I'd like to see him get hits or sacks. He's almost as explosive as Antwan Barnes but yet he doesn't get much pressure.

Donald Butler. And as much as it pains me to type that, it's true. He couldn't cover Tony Gonzalez, or anyone really, at all. And while he made a few good stops in the run game, he also missed a few tackles and took some bad angles. Given that he's been consistently dominant in that respect, I think it's safe to assume it was just a bad week for him.

Kendall Reyes is another player who's fallen off the map. His grades have more than halved. He's just a rookie, but I'd still have him over Vaughn Martin any day. Speaking of suckage...

Vaughn Martin continues to contribute nothing to the pass rush and even less to run support. He's giving running backs room to run, but that's the offensive lineman's job. He's supposed to prevent them from doing that, duh. Let's not wait until the bye week to give some of his snaps to Cam Thomas and Kendall Reyes please? I appreciate him running upfield "swarming" to the ball as Pagano supposedly teaches, but the fact that he's almost always the first one there tells you he isn't going far past the line of scrimmage.

Closing thoughts

Kansas City has a few good receivers and a very good running back. I expect the priority will be to make Matt Cassel beat the defense with his arm, because it's barely passable as average. Their starting center is out for the year, so maybe Franklin and Thomas will have a field day, as well as whoever blitzes up the middle on pass plays.

That's all for now. Leave your questions and comments below.