Defensive MVP – Honorable Mentions
The twelve points put up by the Falcons in this game aren’t any indication of how this game went. The two touchdowns came in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach and the Minnesota Vikings were substituting some of their backups into the contest.
The purple and gold did a great job holding Devonta Freeman to nineteen rushing yards on the day and made the Falcons one-dimensional, where the pass rush and secondary were able to do their own thing, even against a player with the game-changing ability of Julio Jones.
Here are some of the defensive standouts from this game:
- Harrison Smith, S – Like Thielen on offense, Smith will likely be a regular in these MVP pieces. Not only did he lead the team with nine tackles (eight solo), but he broke up two passes including a sideline throw where he hit a pass-catcher who landed out-of-bounds.
- Anthony Barr, LB – The linebacker is at his best when he is rushing the passer. A sack on the very first play of the game set the tone for what was a great day for Barr, earning six tackles on the day (all solo) and two hits on quarterback Matt Ryan.
- Jayron Kearse, S – Mike Zimmer used Kearse the way he planned, putting the big-bodied defensive back in situations where he could be used as anything from a cornerback to a linebacker. He was everywhere in this game, getting nine tackles (six solo) and one pass defense.
- Danielle Hunter, DE – There is a reason Hunter is one of the best pass rushers in the game. His speed and athleticism are great assets, but as he gains experience and perfects his moves, he will continue to get better. He had four tackles on the day (all solo) and two tackles for a loss, with one of those being a sack.