We are basically two months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams get ready for mini-camps and OTAs, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. We already looked at the Arizona Cardinals. Next up are the Atlanta Falcons.
It was quite the 2016 season for the Super Bowl-bound Atlanta Falcons. Dan Quinn’s team totaled a team-record 540 points, tied for the eighth-most in a season in league history. It was also 201 more points than the club managed the previous year (339). Thanks in large part to NFL MVP Matt Ryan, the Falcons scored 58 offensive touchdowns this past season. That’s 24 more trips to the end zone than Quinn’s club managed during its disappointing 8-8 finish in ’15.
Speaking of quarterback Matt Ryan, he rebounded from a mediocre campaign and came away with a career year in ’16. The nine-year signal-caller threw for 4,944 yards, 38 scores and only seven picks, with 13 different players hauling in at least one TD pass. Wideouts Julio Jones (6) and Taylor Gabriel (6) led the way with Mohamed Sanu (4) and Justin Hardy (4) not far behind. A season earlier, Ryan totaled 4,591 yards through the air, but managed only 21 touchdown passes compared to 16 interceptions.
No, we’re not talking about the number of points that the Falcons were ahead of the New England Patriots in third quarter of Super Bowl LI. Rather, it was Atlanta’s NFL defensive ranking this past season in terms of fewest yards allowed. Despite a league-high 15.5 sacks from outside linebacker Vic Beasley, the team’s pass rush was still a disappointment. The Falcons gave up just over 25 points per game and their defensive unit surrendered 46 touchdowns. Yes, there’s still a lot of work to do on this side of the ball.