News & Analysis

CAR-ATL grade: Huge numbers from WR Julio Jones in Falcons' win

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 02: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this reception in between Daryl Worley #26 and Tre Boston #33 of the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on October 2, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Atlanta Falcons 48, Carolina Panthers 33

Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Falcons' 48-33 home win over the Panthers.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton unable to get Panthers going

Quarterback grades: Cam Newton, 46.6, and Derek Anderson, 52.2

Cam Newton is now 0-2 over his last two visits to the Georgia Dome, with an inaccurate display that suggested all was not right with the Panthers' quarterback. Outside of one laser to beat CB Desmond Trufant's tight coverage for a touchdown, Newton failed to challenge the Falcons' coverage units, looking particularly rattled when pressured. Under pressure, he completed just two passes on seven attempts with one sack. Anderson did inject a sense of urgency into the offense, but ultimately lofted a ball over the head of TE Greg Olsen that would have been the game-ender.

Cam Newton passing under pressure versus Falcons

Cam Newton vs pressure

Top Offensive Grades

TE Greg Olsen, 80.7

C Ryan Kalil, 79.8

LG Andrew Norwell, 78.8

RT Daryl Williams, 72.4

WR Kelvin Benjamin, 71.6

Too little, too late as Panthers struggle to get going up front

It took the Falcons taking their foot of the gas and playing soft, but the Panthers' offense can at least head out of this game with some momentum. It was spearheaded by Olsen, who worked over rookie Keanu Neal in the fourth quarter, with his spectacular one-handed grab a bright spot on an otherwise dreary day for Carolina. The reshaping of the offensive line did not go well, with Mike Remmers (39.6) having a really rough day (one sack, two hits, three hurries, and three penalties surrendered).

Top Defensive Grades

LB Shaq Thompson, 94.8

LB Luke Kuechly, 91.1

LB Thomas Davis, 80.7

DT Kawaan Short, 78.3

S Tre Boston, 74.6

Linebackers do their jobs, but cornerbacks can’t

It's no surprise that not a single secondary player who featured for more than 23 snaps made this list. The bright side, though, was the play of the Carolina linebackers, especially the ultra-aggressive Thompson, who has the kind of explosiveness to really wreak havoc. He ended the day with five defensive stops, two fewer than the ever-excellent Kuechly, but on 15 fewer snaps. The less said about the cornerbacks, the better; they did make some plays, but ultimately were all tested, and none of them passed.

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan flips script from MNF to post career day

Quarterback grade: Matt Ryan, 87.9

It’s not that Matt Ryan was bad against the Saints this past Monday, but rather that he took what the defense gave him, while his accuracy was just a fraction off. In Week 4, however, he didn’t take what was given to him, instead opting to relentlessly attack the Panthers' young cornerback group. Ryan threw further than 10 yards downfield 16 times after coming into the game averaging just 12.3 deep and intermediate shots per game. The results were astounding, with a 503-yard day; even more impressive, his receivers held onto everything (zero drops).

Matt Ryan passing under pressure

Top Offensive Grades

WR Julio Jones, 99.1

QB Matt Ryan, 87.9

LG Andy Levitre, 78.7

RT Ryan Schraeder, 74.5

FB Patrick DiMarco, 73.9

Where else can we look but to the monumental day of Julio Jones? Jones joined illustrious company with a 300-yard day that saw him win deep, win on crossers, win after the catch, and well, you get the point. It didn’t matter who was covering him, as he caught 12 of 14 balls, with Bené Benwikere the unlucky defensive back who drew his coverage most of the game. You can get bet when these two teams meet again that Jones will have more attention come his way.

Top Defensive Grades

LB Deion Jones, 84.5

CB Brian Poole, 83.8

CB Robert Alford, 80.9

CB Desmond Trufant, 78.7

DE Dwight Freeney, 77.3

The Falcons must be happy to see the play of Deion Jones, who, while not perfect, has come in and added some much needed speed and a smattering of aggression to their linebacker unit. He led the team with four defensive stops. In the defensive backfield, the corners really stepped up, and while they all left plays on the field, they all more than made up for it with the ones they made. Their combined stat line impressive; on 21 targets into their coverage, they surrendered 11 catches for 146 yards, two touchdowns, grabbed two interceptions, and added four further pass break ups. One last special mention for Dwight Freeney and his spin move: it still works, and if you don’t believe us, ask Mike Remmers, who was embarrassed by it on three occasions.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Falcons WR Julio Jones

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

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