Falcons – Chargers: 6 takeaways from the game Atlanta missed

Falcons – Chargers: 6 takeaways from the game Atlanta missed

The Atlanta Falcons couldn’t get out of the way at times on Sunday as they fell to the Los Angeles Chargers 20-17. The loss dropped them to 4-5, and they still fell short of a winning record on the season.

It was one of the most successful performances of the season for Atlanta, who had several moments to greatly increase their chances of victory, but failed to capitalize. To take one example: Penalties nullified a touchdown run by Cordarrelle Patterson, which then led to a fumble by Drake London. It’s a frustrating loss for a team looking to make a surprise playoff push, and there were plenty of times when things could have gone differently.

A tale of two quarters

The Falcons dominated the first quarter of the game, but the Chargers stole the momentum before the second half. Atlanta received the opening kickoff and did not miss the opportunity to take a 7-0 lead behind great running by Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier.

Covering 75 yards on 8 plays, including a 44-yard run by Allgeier, the Falcons asserted themselves early on offense and followed that up on defense. Atlanta forced a three-and-out on the Chargers’ only real possession of the first quarter and converted the next opportunity into a field goal. Unfortunately, that 10-point lead wouldn’t hold up in the gale-force winds blowing in from the west.

The Chargers turned the tables on third down, converting on all six of their attempts in the second quarter, and ripped off 14 unanswered points to take the lead into halftime. Los Angeles has scored 86 points in the second quarter this season, which trails only the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Chargers kept that momentum going for a late check-in.

Cordarrelle Patterson scores on the first drive of his return

It was a welcome sight to see No. 84 back in the backfield for Atlanta. Seriously, someone took out his career Nintendo® cartridge, blew into it, and turned that bad boy back on, because it’s crazy that he wasn’t more prolific in his 10-year NFL career. Patterson had 19 yards on the first possession and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run.

Patterson really made his presence felt late in the third quarter. On third-and-3 at the goal line, Patterson took the ball right up the middle and hit it right over Drue Tranquill for his second touchdown of the game. The Falcons needed it.

Drake London’s “welcome to the NFL” moment

The Falcons were driving on their first possession of the second half. On the 10thth drive play in which Patterson had a 38-yard touchdown nullified by multiple offensive penalties, London caught a pass that would have given the Falcons a first down inside the Chargers’ 10-yard line. However, as he scrambled for extra yards, London was stripped of the football by All-Pro Khalil Mack.

London was great to start his career with the Falcons, although not extremely productive. He excelled at generating yards after the catch during his college career at USC, but this was an opportunity where he might be better off staying out of bounds. It was a learning moment that some of the best in this league can play at any time.

Tyler Allgeier continues to shine in a complementary role

While Patterson was sidelined with injury, Allgeier was given a heavy dose of work alongside Caleb Huntley. However, Allgeier wasn’t really the star of the show at the time, ceding some of the spotlight to Huntley’s hard running. But on Sunday, Allgeier was the golden second fiddle. He started early with a 44-yard run on the opening drive and kept that pace up for most of the action.

Allgeier entered the game with 84 carries for 324 yards and one touchdown. He put together the best day of his career, gaining 123 yards on 11 touches. Unfortunately, the Falcons could not make the most of it.

Marcus Mariota has an off day

There were some really solid mid-range throws from Mariota on Sunday, but it was one of his worst afternoons throwing the ball, especially deep. That notion was punctuated by a bullet late in the fourth quarter when Mariota ran over a wide open Kyle Pitts for what would have been the go-ahead goal with less than five minutes left.

While there were mistakes at receiver that day, Mariota was pretty long with most of his throws Sunday afternoon, which will do nothing to quell calls for Desmond Ridder to get his shot at starting quarterback. He finished the game 12-of-23 for 129 yards and a few memorable misses.

Ta’Quon Graham misses the opportunity

It looked like the Falcons were going to miraculously pull off another Houdini trick and run at the last minute when Ekeler fumbled the ball and Ta’Quon Graham picked it up and started running in the opposite direction. However, without even being touched by a Chargers player, Graham lost control of the ball near the Falcons’ 40-yard line.

The Chargers recovered possession at the 43-yard line, and needed just one play before getting back into field goal range to eventually win it. In a game defined by missed opportunities, this was an exclamation point.

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