With Asante Samuel on the sideline with a nagging thigh injury that has bothered him for pretty much the whole season, he had to watch in disgust as his former teammate Tom Brady and the New England Patriots shredded the Atlanta Falcons defense to the tune of 316 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Samuel, who is without question the top defensive back for the Falcons, is surely missed. The two rookies in Demond Trufant and Robert Alford were outplayed, with Brady picking them apart with precision and perfect execution with his wide receivers. Kenbrell Thompkins, an undrafted free agent, had a phenomenal game with six catches for 127 yards and a score.
Without their top cover corner in Samuel, the Falcons’ secondary struggled all night as they gave up a couple of huge passing plays, most noticeably on a third-and-19. Along with missed tackles and stupid penalties, the Falcons seemed to be out of position and simply looked lost on the field.
So far this year, the Falcons are giving up 301 passing yards per game as they are ranked 26th in the NFL. Not only is Samuel’s coverage skills very valuable to a rather young secondary, but his ability to create turnovers and get interceptions has been the biggest difference.
While Samuel continues to get healthier, the Falcons’ secondary will have to stand their ground and hope that the two young corners the Falcons drafted will be fast learners. On the other hand, the Falcons can’t wait to get their top cover corner back into the lineup and out on the field.