It was pretty apparent the Atlanta Falcons had a different game plan Sunday than they did in the season opener. The offensive player snap counts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers indicate that as well.
Facing the top run defense from 2020, the Falcons offense featured more formations with multiple receivers. In Week 1, head coach Arthur Smith deployed a lot of multiple-back and tight end sets, especially in the first half when the game was still close.
Receivers Olamide Zaccheaus, Tajae Sharpe and Christian Blake all played more snaps against Tampa Bay than Philadelphia. For Zaccheaus, the increase was significant. The third-year wideout played 42 snaps in Week 2 after only 19 in Week 1.
Zaccheaus benefited from the Falcons deploying more three-receiver sets, but he also cut into Russell Gage's playing time. Gage saw his snap count drop from 49 in the opener to 38.
Despite Zaccheaus finishing second among Falcons receivers in snaps, Gage still had more catches and yards. Gage had five receptions for 28 yards, while Zaccheaus hauled in two passes for 22 yards. Gage received seven targets and Zaccheaus had four.
Falcons No. 1 receiver Calvin Ridley didn't see a significant change in snaps. He been on the field for 61 and 60 plays, respectively, in two games. Coincidentally, the Falcons offense had 72 snaps in both games.
Like Zaccheaus, rookie tight end Kyle Pitts played more against Tampa Bay. Pitts saw his snaps go from 49 to 57, second among the pass catchers to Ridley.
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As a result of Pitts' increased playing time, fellow tight end Hayden Hurst played less. Hurst went from 43 to 30.
Here are the snap counts for all the Falcons offensive players from Week 2:
|Player||Number of Snaps||Percentage of Snaps|
While the Falcons turned to their younger players like Pitts and Zaccheaus on offense, Atlanta didn't feature many of its youngsters on defense. Second-round pick Richie Grant didn't play a single defensive snap, as the Falcons kept him only on special teams against the Buccaneers.
Fifth-round pick Ta'Quon Graham made his NFL debut Sunday, playing 13 defensive snaps. But that was still under a quarter of the team's total defensive plays.
Linebacker Mykal Walker, who started six games last season, has seen only nine snaps in two games. John Cominsky, a 2019 fourth-round pick, was inactive and didn't play at all.
Here are the snap counts for all the Falcons defensive players from Week 2:
|Player||Number of Snaps||Snap Percentage|