Falcons’ pass defense takes a step back in loss to Eagles

Posted Oct. 18, 2010 @ 5:47 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

The Falcons' four-game winning streak came to an unceremonious conclusion Sunday, as Atlanta was routed by Philadelphia, 31-17.

Atlanta's defense, which had been one of the league's stingiest heading into Week Six — it was allowing just 14 points per game — was throttled for 474 yards. Philadelphia gained seven yards per offensive play.

The Falcons' pass defense had a particularly poor showing against the speedy receiving tandem of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, who combined to catch three touchdown passes in the game. Maclin scored on an 83-yard reception and Jackson had a 34-yard TD catch before he and CB Dunta Robinson exited the game after a violent collision.

Jackson suffered a severe concussion and head coach Mike Smith announced Monday that Robinson also sustained a concussion. It's not known how long Robinson will be out. He will have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can play.

The PFW Spin

The Falcons looked as bad as they have all season vs. Philadelphia, and those who were ready to crown them the best team in the NFC will need to hold off on making such a characterization.

Atlanta is still very much a threat to win the NFC South, but the breakdowns in pass coverage must be corrected. Smith didn't offer any excuses for the mishaps, saying balls should not be flying over defenders' heads in the coverage that was called when the big pass plays occurred. Their opponent next week, the Bengals, doesn't have young, speedy receivers of the Eagles' caliber, although Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco still have the potential to make big plays.

Along with better coverage, the Falcons have to get back to pressuring the quarterback. The Eagles' Kevin Kolb had plenty of time to throw for much of the game and DT Peria Jerry's first career sack was the only time Kolb was ever hit.

The Falcons' pass defense has shown great potential at times this season, but some of its players are going to have to become more consistent for the team to keep pace with the Saints in the NFC South race.