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The Falcons’ offensive line had no answer for Titans defensive interior Jurrell Casey. Late in the first quarter, he beat left guard James Carpenter then proceeded to swat the ball away from quarterback Matt Ryan and then recovered it — an impressive individual effort that changed the tide of a close game for good.
On 4th-and-1 in Titans territory, the Falcons tried to run their way for the first down. Titans Safety Kenny Vaccaro had other plans. Using his quickness off the edge, he beat two oncoming blockers and forced them to knock each other over while he made the stop in the backfield.
Titans rookie defenders Isaiah Mack and Amani Hooker both turned in forgettable performances, but AJ Brown starred on the offensive side of the ball. The former Ole Miss product finished the game with 94 yards and two touchdowns.
Days like this one where Julio Jones is quiet, it is safe to assume the game plan is to make the other Atlanta receivers beat them. Mohamed Sanu had one of those opportunities on the first drive of the third quarter with a big-time throw on a seam route, but it was dropped forcing a field goal attempt.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan missed some game-changing throws, but the drops by the Falcons’ pass-catching targets were plentiful. The aforementioned drop by Sanu was the third consecutive drop in as many plays. Not a recipe for building a comeback.
Kaleb McGary struggled significantly in as a run-blocker in this one, and his pass protection wasn’t spectacular, either.