After starting the season 1-4 Atlanta has clawed their way back into contention and are only a half game out of the playoff race. The Falcons have now won three straight and are coming off an impressive victory on the road. Washington was only allowing 83.3 yards on the ground and 19.1 points per game. Atlanta put up over 150 yards rushing and scored 38 points, getting their first road win of the season. The Falcons now travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns. In the last four seasons the Browns have only won six games. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Julio Jones and 13 Yards
The Falcons gave up 5 draft picks to Cleveland to move up in the 2011 draft to snag Julio Jones. Phil Taylor, Greg Little, Owen Marecic, Brandon Weeden, and Trent Richardson. That is the list of players the Browns selected with the picks that they received from the Falcons.
Julio Jones recorded his first touchdown of the season this past week in Landover. He is now just 13 yards away from being the fastest player in NFL history to 10,000 yards receiving. He gets the chance to accomplish that feat against the team the Falcons traded with to select him in the 2011 NFL draft.
Jones has been vocal that he doesn’t care about his individual stats, but about the teams success. He is only 14 yards behind the league’s leading receiver Adam Thielen, who has his bye this week. Jones is crucial to the Falcons success, even when he isn’t catching touchdowns, he is often double, or even sometimes triple teamed. In Monday’s press conference Quinn said Julio Jones is the “most selfless leader” that many of the Falcons players and coaches have been around. He stated that is why the players were so excited to see him score Sunday.
Norman got turned around by Julio Jones faking vertical and then coming back for the screen, then Norman got blown up by the LT. HaHa Clinton-Dix couldn't prevent Jones from scoring. pic.twitter.com/3RBZLXk6Ja
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) November 4, 2018
Baker and the Browns
Baker Mayfield was selected 1st overall in this year’s NFL draft. He found himself riding the bench until week 3, when Tyrod Taylor left the game with an injury. Mayfield led the Browns to not only their first win of the season, but first win in 635 days. Mayfield has helped the Browns win two of their games this season, more than all of 2016-2017 combined.
He isn’t stuffing the stat sheets, but the Browns haven’t done much to help him this season. Cleveland is allowing the 3rd most yards per game and the 5th most points in the league. They also traded away arguably their best receiver in Josh Gordon. Cleveland has three players in the top eleven with at least five drops this season. The Browns finally have the quarterback to help turn the franchise around. They also have a ton of untapped talent on the roster and lead the league in takeaways.
Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were relieved of their coaching duties. Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator, took over as interim head coach. Cleveland also promoted running backs coach, Freddie Kitchens, to be the offensive coordinator. In their debut with their newly acquired positions Kansas City came to town. You could guess how that panned out. Their next matchup against the Falcons will be another tough feat to try to overcome.
Deion Jones return. Deion Jones returned to practice Wednesday on the scout team. He will not be on the injury report as he is currently not on the active roster. Jones is eligible to return November 18th against the Dallas Cowboys.
As everyone knows the Falcons have been absolutely wrecked from injuries this year. Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, Derrick Shelby, Ricardo Allen, Grady Jarrett, Robert Alford. It feels like the list could go on and on. All of these players are either on IR, or have missed at least one game this season. If Jones is fully healthy and does return week 11 against the Cowboys Falcons fans will be in for a treat. Jones has established himself as one of the best linebackers in the league. I believe the best is yet to come with this defense moving forward.
The first time the Falcons and the Browns matched up was in 1966. The Browns steam rolled Atlanta 49-17. Cleveland owns the all-time record against Atlanta, sitting at 11-3. Since Ryan was drafted he has faced them twice, winning once in Cleveland and losing once in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta has a chance to have a winning record for the first time this season.
Reunited and it feels so good. Atlanta has signed Bruce Irvin to a one year contract. Irvin gets to play for his hometown and is reunited with Dan Quinn. The Falcons had arguably their best game of the season on the road week 9 against the Redskins. Look for that trend to continue this week in Cleveland.