2016 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2016 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 51st season in the National Football League and the second under head coach Dan Quinn. It also marked the team's 25th and final season playing their home games at the Georgia Dome, as the Falcons moved into the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017. The Falcons won the NFC South for the first time since 2012 and improved on their 8–8 record from 2015, going 11–5 and earning the second seed in the NFC playoffs.

The Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks 36–20 in the Divisional Round to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2012. In the NFC Championship game, they defeated the Green Bay Packers, 44–21, to reach Super Bowl LI, where they faced the New England Patriots. The game marked the Falcons' second Super Bowl appearance; they had competed in Super Bowl XXXIII 18 years earlier. Reaching overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history, the Falcons lost 28-34, after leading 28–3 midway through the third quarter. Although it ended in defeat, the 2016 Falcons season was one of the most successful in team history, being only their second Super Bowl appearance since the conception of the franchise and quarterback Matt Ryan becoming the 2016 NFL MVP.

2016 Atlanta Falcons season
Head coachDan Quinn
General managerThomas Dimitroff
OwnerArthur Blank
Home fieldGeorgia Dome
Results
Record11–5
Division place1st NFC South
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs (Seahawks) 36–20
Won NFC Championship (Packers) 44–21
Lost Super Bowl LI (vs. Patriots) 28–34 (OT)
Pro BowlersSelected but did not participate due to participation in Super Bowl LI:
LB Vic Beasley
K Matt Bryant
RB Devonta Freeman
WR Julio Jones
C Alex Mack
QB Matt Ryan
AP All-Pros
Uniform
Atlanta falcons unif 16

Free agents

Position Player Tag 2016 Team Notes
S Ricardo Allen Atlanta Falcons
DE Kroy Biermann UFA Buffalo Bills
G Chris Chester UFA Atlanta Falcons
DE Adrian Clayborn Atlanta Falcons
S Charles Godfrey Atlanta Falcons
PK Shayne Graham UFA None Retired
C Gino Gradkowski Carolina Panthers
T Bryce Harris UFA Atlanta Falcons
T Jake Long Minnesota Vikings
TE Tony Moeaki UFA Chicago Bears
T Ryan Schraeder Atlanta Falcons
LB Nathan Stupar New Orleans Saints
TE D.J. Tialavea Atlanta Falcons
LB Philip Wheeler UFA Atlanta Falcons
LB Paul Worrilow Atlanta Falcons

Draft

Keanu Neal 2016 training camp
Keanu Neal, the Falcons' first round pick in 2016
2016 Atlanta Falcons Draft
Round Selection Player Position College
1 17 Keanu Neal SS Florida
2 50 Deion Jones OLB LSU
3 81 Austin Hooper TE Stanford
4 115 De'Vondre Campbell OLB Minnesota
6 195 Wes Schweitzer OG San Jose State
7 238 Devin Fuller WR UCLA

Notes

  • The Falcons did not select a player in the fifth round:
    • The team forfeited their fifth-round selection as the punishment for piping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. If the Falcons receive multiple fifth-round selections, the team will forfeit its first fifth-round selection;
    • The Falcons traded their sixth-round selection (No. 193) to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for guard Andy Levitre and a future undisclosed selection. They subsequently acquired Pick No. 195 from the New York Jets.

Staff

2016 Atlanta Falcons staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Coaching Support Staff

Strength and conditioning

  • Athletic Performance Manager – A.J. Neibel
  • Head Strength and Conditioning – Jesse Ackerman
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning – Jonas Beauchemin

Final roster

2016 Atlanta Falcons final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 Active, 11 Inactive, 10 Practice squad

Preseason

Schedule

Atlanta Falcons training camp scrimmage, July 2016 4
Falcons players at training camp, July 2016.

The Falcons preseason opponents and schedule were announced on April 7, 2016, the opponents being the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 August 11 Washington Redskins W 23–17 1–0 Georgia Dome Recap
2 August 18 at Cleveland Browns W 24–13 2–0 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
3 August 25 at Miami Dolphins L 6–17 2–1 Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Florida) Recap
4 September 1 Jacksonville Jaguars W 17–15 3–1 Georgia Dome Recap

Regular season

Schedule

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 September 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 24–31 0–1 Georgia Dome Recap
2 September 18 at Oakland Raiders W 35–28 1–1 Oakland Alameda Coliseum Recap
3 September 26 at New Orleans Saints W 45–32 2–1 Mercedes-Benz Superdome Recap
4 October 2 Carolina Panthers W 48–33 3–1 Georgia Dome Recap
5 October 9 at Denver Broncos W 23–16 4–1 Sports Authority Field at Mile High Recap
6 October 16 at Seattle Seahawks L 24–26 4–2 CenturyLink Field Recap
7 October 23 San Diego Chargers L 30–33 (OT) 4–3 Georgia Dome Recap
8 October 30 Green Bay Packers W 33–32 5–3 Georgia Dome Recap
9 November 3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 43–28 6–3 Raymond James Stadium Recap
10 November 13 at Philadelphia Eagles L 15–24 6–4 Lincoln Financial Field Recap
11 Bye
12 November 27 Arizona Cardinals W 38–19 7–4 Georgia Dome Recap
13 December 4 Kansas City Chiefs L 28–29 7–5 Georgia Dome Recap
14 December 11 at Los Angeles Rams W 42–14 8–5 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Recap
15 December 18 San Francisco 49ers W 41–13 9–5 Georgia Dome Recap
16 December 24 at Carolina Panthers W 33–16 10–5 Bank of America Stadium Recap
17 January 1 New Orleans Saints W 38–32 11–5 Georgia Dome Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game information

Week 2: at Oakland Raiders

Game information

Week 3: at New Orleans Saints

Game information

Week 4: vs. Carolina Panthers

Game information

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones made Falcons team history as Ryan exploded to 503 passing yards and Jones caught twelve passes for 300 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first quarterback-receiver duo to break 500 passing yards and 300 receiving yards in club history and the first such tandem in the NFL's Super Bowl era.[1] Cam Newton was knocked out of the game with a concussion incurred on a two-point conversion run.

Week 5: at Denver Broncos

Game information

Week 6: at Seattle Seahawks

Game information

Week 7: vs. San Diego Chargers

Game information

The Falcons wore their black throwback uniforms for this game. With the game tied at 30–30, a missed 58-yarder by Matt Bryant forced the game into overtime. The Falcons received the ball first in overtime but turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert a fourth down. Josh Lambo kicked a 42-yard field goal in overtime to seal a 33–30 victory for the Chargers.

Week 8: vs. Green Bay Packers

Game information

Week 9: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game information

Despite Mike Evans finishing the game with 11 receptions for 150 yards and two scores, the Falcons still managed to beat Tampa Bay on the road, 43–28 in order to go to 6–3.

Week 10: at Philadelphia Eagles

Game information

Week 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals

Game information

Week 13: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Game information

The Falcons trailed 27–16 going into the fourth quarter, and took the lead through a 1-yard touchdown run by Devonta Freeman, followed by a 5-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Aldrick Robinson. Having failed on the two-point conversion following Freeman's touchdown, they tried for two points again after Robinson's catch with the aim of securing a three-point lead going into the last four minutes of the game; however, Chiefs safety Eric Berry intercepted Ryan's attempted pass and returned it all the way to the Atlanta end zone for a defensive two-point conversion that gave Kansas City a 29–28 lead that they were able to defend for the remainder of the game.

Week 14: at Los Angeles Rams

Game information

Week 15: vs. San Francisco 49ers

Game information

Week 16: at Carolina Panthers

Game information

Week 17: vs. New Orleans Saints

Game information

This was the Falcons' final regular season game at the Georgia Dome.

Postseason

Schedule

Playoff round Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
Wild Card First-round bye
Divisional January 14, 2017 Seattle Seahawks (3) W 36–20 1–0 Georgia Dome Recap
NFC Championship January 22, 2017 Green Bay Packers (4) W 44–21 2–0 Georgia Dome Recap
Super Bowl LI February 5, 2017 vs. New England Patriots (A1) L 28–34 (OT) 2–1 NRG Stadium Recap

Game summaries

NFC Divisional Playoffs: vs. (#3) Seattle Seahawks

Game information

After coming off a first round bye, the Falcons hosted the Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Falcons trailed midway through the first quarter when the Seahawks went up 7–0 from a 7-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jimmy Graham. In the second quarter, Atlanta tied the game 7–7 on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones. On the next Seattle drive, the Seahawks took a 10–7 lead with a 33-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka.[2][3]

The next Falcons drive ended in a three and out. On the ensuing punt, Seattle's Devin Hester returned the punt 80-yards to Atlanta's 7-yard line. However, that punt return was called back on a penalty, forcing Seattle to start at its own 7-yard line. After Thomas Rawls was tackled for a 3-yard loss, Wilson attempted to drop back to pass. However, while doing so, Wilson tripped over Rees Odhiambo's foot and was tackled in the end zone, leading to a safety for Atlanta. Receiving the ball following the safety, Atlanta took its first lead of the game on a 35-yard field goal from Matt Bryant. After forcing Seattle to Punt, the Falcons took a 19–10 lead going into halftime on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman.[2][3]

Atlanta remained ahead for the rest of the game, eventually beating Seattle 36–20. With the win, the Falcons improved their record to 12–5. Matt Ryan threw for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns and improved his playoff record to 2–4, with both of his playoff wins (up to that point) coming against the Seahawks.[3] This was speculated to be the last NFL game ever in the Georgia Dome, but when the fourth-seeded Green Bay Packers upset the top-seeded Dallas Cowboys in the other Divisional Playoff the next day, Atlanta was named the host of the NFC Championship Game, the last ever game in the Dome.

NFC Championship Game: vs. (#4) Green Bay Packers

Game information

This was the Falcons' final game ever in the Georgia Dome after 25 seasons, as the team moved into the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017. The Falcons never trailed in the game, scoring 31 unanswered points until Rodgers threw a touchdown pass halfway through the third quarter to give Green Bay its first points. The Falcons won 44–21 to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since their 1998 season, as well as the second time in franchise history. Matt Ryan had a big game, throwing 4 touchdown passes and running for another score. His 392 yards were the second-most ever thrown in a Championship Game, only behind his 396 yards in the 2012 NFC Championship Games versus the San Francisco 49ers. Julio Jones was another huge part of the Falcons win, with 9 catches, 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of the scores came on a 73-yard tackle-breaking catch. The Falcons' defense held fellow MVP-candidate Rodgers and his offense in check most of the game, forcing several hurries and drops. They also forced 2 turnovers, one of them coming on a 3rd and 21 pass by Rodgers, that Ricardo Allen intercepted.

Super Bowl LI: vs. New England Patriots

Game information

The Falcons led the game 28-3 into the third quarter before the Patriots scored 25 unanswered points to tie at 28 all, and create the first Super Bowl game to go into overtime. The Patriots won the coin-toss and won the game via a James White touchdown. This ended the Falcons' season record at 13-6.[4]

Standings

Division

NFC South
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(2) Atlanta Falcons 11 5 0 .688 5–1 9–3 540 406 W4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9 7 0 .563 4–2 7–5 354 369 W1
New Orleans Saints 7 9 0 .438 2–4 6–6 469 454 L1
Carolina Panthers 6 10 0 .375 1–5 5–7 369 402 L2

Conference

# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division leaders
1 Dallas Cowboys East 13 3 0 .813 3–3 9–3 .471 .440 L1
2 Atlanta Falcons South 11 5 0 .688 5–1 9–3 .480 .452 W4
3 Seattle Seahawks West 10 5 1 .656 3–2–1 6–5–1 .441 .425 W1
4 Green Bay Packers North 10 6 0 .625 5–1 8–4 .508 .453 W6
Wild Cards
5 New York Giants East 11 5 0 .688 4–2 8–4 .486 .455 W1
6[a] Detroit Lions North 9 7 0 .563 3–3 7–5 .475 .392 L3
Did not qualify for the playoffs
7[a] Tampa Bay Buccaneers South 9 7 0 .563 4–2 7–5 .492 .434 W1
8 Washington Redskins East 8 7 1 .531 3–3 6–6 .516 .430 L1
9 Minnesota Vikings North 8 8 0 .500 2–4 5–7 .492 .457 W1
10 Arizona Cardinals West 7 8 1 .469 4–1–1 6–5–1 .463 .366 W2
11[b] New Orleans Saints South 7 9 0 .438 2–4 6–6 .523 .393 L1
12[b] Philadelphia Eagles East 7 9 0 .438 2–4 5–7 .559 .518 W2
13 Carolina Panthers South 6 10 0 .375 1–5 5–7 .518 .354 L2
14 Los Angeles Rams West 4 12 0 .250 2–4 3–9 .504 .500 L7
15 Chicago Bears North 3 13 0 .188 2–4 3–9 .521 .396 L4
16 San Francisco 49ers West 2 14 0 .125 2–4 2–10 .504 .250 L1
Tiebreakers[c]
  1. ^ a b Detroit finished ahead of Tampa Bay for the No. 6 seed and qualified for the last playoff spot based on record vs. common opponents — Detroit's cumulative record against
    Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New Orleans was 3–2, while Tampa Bay's cumulative record against the same four teams was 2–3.
  2. ^ a b New Orleans finished ahead of Philadelphia based on better record vs. conference opponents.
  3. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.
  1. ^ a b Detroit finished ahead of Tampa Bay for the No. 6 seed and qualified for the last playoff spot based on record vs. common opponents — Detroit's cumulative record against
    Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New Orleans was 3–2, while Tampa Bay's cumulative record against the same four teams was 2–3.
  2. ^ a b New Orleans finished ahead of Philadelphia based on better record vs. conference opponents.
  3. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.

References

  1. ^ Matt Ryan, Julio Jones set records in win over Panthers from NFL.com
  2. ^ a b Seahawks vs. Falcons play-by-play. January 14, 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Ryan leads Falcons to NFC title game, beating Seattle 36-20. ESPN.com. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  4. ^ "2016 Atlanta Falcons Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 6 August 2017.

External links

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.