News & Analysis

NFL Week 9 PFF ReFocused: Atlanta Falcons 34, Denver Broncos 27

Nov 8, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) flips a pass to tight end Luke Stocker (88) against the Denver Broncos during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No Calvin Ridley, no problem. Even though the team was without one half of its dynamic receiving duo, the Atlanta Falcons were able to hold off the Denver Broncos’ late comeback and escape Week 9 with a 34-27 win.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the game

The Falcons had a strong command of this game for the first three quarters, leading the Broncos 27-6 heading into the final frame. Broncos QB Drew Lock did everything he could to bring the Broncos back — he recorded 47% of his 313 passing yards in the fourth quarter and led Denver in total rushing yards.

There might be a trend appearing in the Broncos offense, as Jerry Jeudy is finally emerging as the No. 1 receiving option. The rookie receiver out of Alabama has seen back-to-back weeks with career highs in targets and receiving yards.

Another rookie has emerged as a top option for Lock, too, and that rookie is none other than K.J. Hamler out of Penn State. Hamler ranked second in targets (10) and receiving yards (75) for the Broncos.

Despite Ridley’s absence, Matt Ryan was able to push the ball down the field perhaps better than he has all season. Ryan had a season-high five completions on passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield. Ryan’s biggest play of the day was a 51-yard bomb to Olamide Zaccheaus in the first quarter.

The Falcons have won three of their last four games under interim coach Raheem Morris after starting the season 0-5.

Rookie Watch

The rookie duo of Jeudy and Hamler combined for 64% of the Broncos receiving yards and were top-two in targets and catches. Lloyd Cushenberry III played 70 snaps and allowed three total pressures on the day.

On the other side of the ball, A.J. Terrell was targeted seven times, allowed four catches for 55 yards, one touchdown and was able to break up two passes. Denver rookie cornerbacks Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey combined to allow eight catches for 74 yards and one touchdown.

McTelvin Agim for Denver and Mykal Walker for Atlanta added one tackle each but did not contribute much to the box score.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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