The Atlanta Falcons suffered another heartbreaking loss from a leading position when they gave up 17-unanswered points in the fourth quarter to the New Orleans Saints.
While there are no moral victories, Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett could walk away knowing he played well, and he has the Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade to go with it.
Jarrett was by far the highest-graded Falcons player on either side of the ball with an 89.8. The next closest defender with at least 20 snaps for the Falcons was safety Jaylinn Hawkins at 67.1.
Offensive guard Chris Lindstrom led the Falcons offense with a 79.4 grade.
Jarrett was active in the Saints offensive backfield; he had five tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, and another tackle for loss. He tied his best PFF grade from last year way back in Week 3 against the New York Giants.
While Jarrett looked as good as he ever has in defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ 3-4 defense, he wasn’t happy with the outcome of the game.
“You know what, I think the message is simple,” said Jarrett after the game. “We just have go back to work and chalk this one up. We’ll get to see these guys later in the year. Definitely unfortunate how the game ended today, but we still got a lot of work ahead of us.”
Jarrett is what one might call a “football junkie,” and he was thrilled to be back out in front of the home fans on Sunday.
“I mean, I missed playing football, man,” said Jarrett. “It’s the first game of the season against the Saints. I’m excited making some big plays. I just love playing the game. That’s why I do what I do, you know, at this point in my career it’s all about being the best I can be, and that’s what I was putting on display. I mean, shoot, it’s fun. It’s a fun game to play. I love it.”
While Falcons fans won’t love the outcome, they had to love what they saw from Jarrett.
The Falcons travel to Los Angeles next week to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. The Rams are coming off a humbling of their own as they were man-handled by the Buffalo Bills in a 31-10 loss at home in their opener.