News & Analysis

NFL Week 6 PFF ReFocused: Atlanta Falcons 40, Minnesota Vikings 23

Oct 18, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) runs with the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Week 6 version of the Atlanta Falcons is the one that most expected coming into the 2020 season. Atlanta was firing on all cylinders for the full 60 minutes in a 40-23 rout of the Minnesota Vikings.

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

In the first game without recently fired head coach Dan Quinn, the Falcons put on a clinic on both sides of the ball. Matt Ryan was back in his former-MVP form, tossing four touchdowns after two straight games without a passing touchdown. 

Julio Jones put on a show after missing last week’s game and only logging one limited practice heading into this game with a hamstring injury. Jones caught eight passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He had four receptions of 15-plus yards.

Calvin Ridley joined Jones in dominating the young Vikings secondary with six receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. This marks Ridley’s fifth game this season with at least 100 yards or a touchdown. 

Oct 18, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, on the other sideline, the Vikings’ day was foreshadowed by an interception Kirk Cousins threw on the first offensive play of the game. Cousins would go on to throw two more interceptions in the first half and head to halftime with eight completions for 104 yards and zero touchdowns.

The Vikings really missed Dalvin Cook, as they could not get anything going on the ground. Alexander Mattison was heralded as a top replacement for Cook, but he only mustered 26 yards on 10 carries. His lack of use was caused by the game script, as the Vikings only combined for 4 yards rushing in the second half.  

Rookie Watch

Justin Jefferson was the lone bright spot for the Vikings. The rookie out of LSU caught nine of 11 targets for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Jefferson caught a game-high five passes gaining 15-plus yards. He holds the two highest receiving yard games among rookie wide receivers since 2018 (175 yards in Week 3 and 166 this week). 

Ezra Cleveland was on the field for 37 pass-blocking snaps but was underwhelming against the Falcons pass rush. He allowed four pressures and a sack on the day. 

On the other side of the ball, Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney were torched by Jones and Ridley. The duo of Dantzler and Gladney combined to allow 17 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Harrison Hand was not much better, allowing five catches on six targets for 32 yards but did have one forced incompletion. 

For the Falcons, A.J. Terrell allowed six receptions on eight targets for 75 yards and a touchdown. Terrell did intercept Cousins in the second quarter. Mykal Walker added one pressure from the linebacker spot with only two pass-rushing snaps. 

The Vikings’ D.J. Wonnum (33 snaps) added one pressure, while James Lynch saw only 13 defensive snaps on the day and did not contribute 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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