The Atlanta Falcons got off to a fast start in Week 4, but the Cleveland Browns would not go down without a fight. After Younghoe Koo gave the Falcons a 23-20 lead in the fourth quarter, Dee Alford picked off Jacoby Brissett to seal Atlanta’s second win of the season.
Here are four takeaways from the Falcons’ Week 4 win over the Browns.
Defense made plays when it mattered
All game long, the Falcons defense seemed to bend and not break. On the Browns’ opening drive, they drove down into scoring position before Atlanta forced an incompletion on fourth down. Safety Jaylinn Hawkins forced a fumble and LB Rashaan Evans recovered, which led to the Falcons’ first touchdown of the game.
Then late in the fourth quarter after letting Cleveland drive into field goal range, Grady Jarrett came up with a clutch sack to take the momentum back. Dee Alford, the darling of training camp, showed why the team kept him on the 53-man roster despite having more proven players at the position. It was a big day for Dean Pees’ defense.
Mediocre day for Mariota
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Mariota is 2-2 after four games as the starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, but Sunday was one of his worst games. The former No. 2 overall pick finished 7-of-19 with 139 passing yards and in interception. Mariota would add just five yards on the ground, and finish yet another game with a fumble — which Atlanta luckily recovered in the red zone.
Browns QB Jacoby Brissett definitely outperformed Mariota Sunday but the Falcons aren’t likely to make a move to Desmond Ridder anytime soon, especially after Mariota helped the team secure its second win of the season.
Drake London, Kyle Pitts combine for 3 catches, 42 yards
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Drake London had the lowest yardage total of his short NFL career on Sunday, finishing the game with two catches for 17 yards. Meanwhile, TE Kyle Pitts had one reception on the team’s opening drive for 25 yards, but that would be his only catch of the afternoon. Ultimately, the Falcons left Sunday with a win, and head coach Arthur Smith likely isn’t concerned with the lack of fantasy production from his top offensive weapons.
What's next for Atlanta?
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In Week 5, the Falcons will take a trip to Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Sitting atop the NFC South at 2-1, the Bucs have a tough matchup on Sunday night football against the Kansas City Chiefs. By winning in Week 5, the Falcons could potentially take the lead in the division. That’s not too bad for a team that started 0-2.