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Falcons Week 1 Snap Count: Did Offense Abandon Plan?

The Atlanta Falcons moved away from what was working early against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.

It's hard to find positives in any 26-point loss. But on the first two offensive possessions, the Atlanta Falcons gained 146 yards. Almost 100 of those yards came in the running game.

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith mixed and matched running backs Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson very successfully on the first two drives. For a few snaps, both backs were on the field at the same time.

In fact, on the first six plays from scrimmage, Davis and Patterson were both on the field. On those snaps, the Falcons averaged 7.3 yards per play.

But Smith and the offense changed its personnel grouping on the seventh play from scrimmage, removing Patterson. After that, Davis and Patterson played just two more snaps together the rest of the game, and the Falcons averaged 3.7 yards per play.

Six plays is a fairly small sample. There's no guarantee at all that the Falcons offense would have scored more points or beaten Philadelphia if Smith had featured Davis and Patterson on the field together more often.

Yet the difference in the success of the offense in this personnel group versus all the others should make fans wonder whether Smith will have a greater emphasis of having the two backs together on the field more in Week 2 against Tampa Bay.

Davis played 54 snaps of a possible 72 (75%) while Patterson, who lined up as a wide receiver, tight end, fullback and halfback, received 24 snaps (33.33%) in Week 1.

In addition to having both Davis and Patterson on the field for the first six plays of the game, the Falcons also lined up with two tight ends -- Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst -- in formation on those plays. But unlike the two backs, Pitts and Hurst spent a lot of time on the field together in Week 1.

Including snaps that were not counted as plays due to penalties, the Falcons lined up with multiple tight ends on the field about 54% of the time. Approximately 43% of all Atlanta's snaps featured both rookie Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst. On four occasions, the Falcons had Pitts, Hurst and third tight end Lee Smith on the field together.

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Pitts led the tight ends with 49 snaps (68%) Sunday, but Hurst wasn't far behind with 43 (60%). Lee Smith had 21 snaps (30%).

The Falcons top two tight ends also split red zone snaps. Pitts didn't receive a red zone snap on the first drive, but he lined up seven times in formation during Atlanta's second trip inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Two of those snaps did not count as plays due to penalties.

Hurst was on the field for five snaps including penalties in the red zone. Davis and Patterson did not receive a red zone snap together.

Obviously, the hope is the Falcons will make more red zone trips in Week 2. If they do, maybe we'll see a trend developing.

On the offensive line, rookie guard Jalen Mayfield played 65 snaps (90%). He missed part of second series presumably due to his play (he was not injured). His replacement, fellow rookie Drew Dalman, played nine snaps and committed a key false start penalty inside the 10-yard line.

While Pitts and Mayfield played a lot in Week 1, the Falcons rookie defensive players did not. Second-round pick Richie Grant received just six snaps (8%), and fifth-round selection Ta'Quon Graham was inactive.

For Grant not to receive much playing time despite the fact the Falcons allowed a 77% completion percentage to a quarterback who completed 52% of his throws last year is not really a good sign.

Here are all the snap counts for all the Falcons from Week 1:

Atlanta Offensive Snaps Week 1

Pro Football Reference

PlayerNumber of SnapsPercentage of Snaps

Kaleb McGary

72

100%

Matt Ryan

70

97.22%

Jake Matthews

70

97.22%

Chris Lindstrom

70

97.22%

Matt Hennessy

70

97.22%

Jalen Mayfield

65

90.28%

Calvin Ridley

61

84.72%

Mike Davis

54

75.0%

Russell Gage

49

68.06%

Kyle Pitts

49

68.06%

Hayden Hurst

43

59.72%

Cordarrelle Patterson 

24

33.33%

Keith Smith

21

29.17%

Lee Smith

21

29.17%

Olamide Zaccheaus

19

26.39%

Tajae Sharpe

10

13.89%

Drew Dalman

9

12.50%

Christian Blake

5

6.94%

Parker Hesse

4

5.56%

Josh Rosen

2

2.78%

Jason Spriggs

2

2.78%

Colby Gossett

2

2.78%

Atlanta Defensive Snaps Week 1

Pro Football Reference

PlayerNumber of SnapsPercentage of Snaps

Deion Jones

71

100%

Foyesade Oluokun

71

100%

AJ Terrell

68

95.77%

Fabian Moreau

65

91.55%

Erik Harris

65

91.55%

Steven Means

59

83.10%

Duron Harmon

56

78.87%

Grady Jarrett

54

76.06%

Isaiah Oliver

54

76.06%

Dante Fowler

47

66.20%

Tyeler Davison

40

56.34%

Jonathan Bullard

27

38.08%

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner

25

35.21%

Marlon Davidson

21

29.58%

Adetokunbo Ogundeji

16

22.54%

Jaylin Hawkins

15

21.13%

TJ Green

9

12.68%

James Vaughters

6

8.45%

Richie Grant

6

8.45%

Mykal Walker

4

5.63%

John Cominsky

2

2.82%