After stuffing the run for the first two weeks, the Atlanta defense played ‘ole’ against the Browns last Sunday. The Falcons allowed a season-high 211 yards rushing, a fact that will be addressed before Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.
“We have to be more disciplined up front,” defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said. “Giving up 200 is not something we are proud of. We have to be better, there’s no way around it.”
The challenge this week is Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has rushed for 831 yards and four touchdowns.
Cleveland’s running game was to pick up big chunks of yards on first down. That left the Browns with short yardage situations on second and third down and gave the Falcons fewer opportunities to get after the quarterback.
“We didn’t play the run quite as well as we’d like,” coach Dan Quinn said. “There weren’t longer third downs that force a team into throwing in those scenarios.”
Quinn noted a couple of short-yardage situations on third down and pointed out that the Browns only faced eight third downs in the game.
“To not play as well on first and second down, I think that caused … you’d like to have a negative play that goes to second-and-10 or 12 and we have some pass rushing opportunities. I thought that was probably the fewest pass rushing ops that maybe our nickel team would normally have.”
The Falcons did not have a sack all day. That’s not was expected, especially after signing pass rusher Bruce Irwin earlier in the week. Irvin had two tackles in his Atlanta debut.