Watch: Mixed Messages from the Falcons Defense Against the Dolphins

Tom Pollin

The second-string Falcons offense showed a lot of life against the Miami Dolphins. It was players on defense, a couple of starters and others who are struggling to be noticed who had problems delivering.

On Miami’s first drive, defensive ends Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley, cornerback Isaiah Oliver and nickel back Damontae Kazee were among the starters on the field with the Falcons second-string. On the first play from scrimmage, Beasley was pushed inside and Dolphins running back Kenyon Drake cut through his vacated area for a nine-yard gain. Kazee came up and made the tackle.

On the third play, Beasley was victimized again. He brought an aggressive rush but overshot Ryan Fitzpatrick, who took advantage by slipping out of trouble to the right side for a six-yard gain. Things got worse for the defensive starters four plays later when Oliver was called for pass interference on a sideline route to Miami receiver DaVante Parker.

The one positive on that drive, in between Beasley’s two misplays, McKinley collapsed the Dolphins’ line to bring down Drake for a one-yard loss.

On Miami’s third possession, the nine-play, 71-yard touchdown drive, the Falcons let Miami quarterback Josh Rosen barely escape trouble twice. The second time was on a desperation pass ripe for intercepting that ended up being caught by Preston Williams while Blidi Wreh-Wilson got called for pass interference.

On a later touchdown drive, fifth round draft pick, cornerback Jordan Miller was picked on three times for Rosen completions.

Of course, the top play of the night for the defense was linebacker Jermaine Grace laying in wait for Rosen to deliver a ball over the middle. Grace broke on the ball perfectly for an interception that led to a field goal that gave the Falcons a 12-10 lead.

Overall, it was good to see Beasley aggressive but if he doesn’t have linebacker help behind him to hold the edge, he can’t let himself be taken out of the play. It was rougher to watch first and second-year defenders begin the process of playing themselves out of a roster spot.

The Falcons play in front of the home crowd next week against the New York Jets. We’ll see then what adjustments Dan Quinn has made to his defense.