WR Taylor Gabriel - Atlanta Falcons
|5-8, 176||Born: 2-17-1991||College: Abilene Christian||Drafted: ---|
Week 21: vs New England Patriots
Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. First things first - Julio Jones (toe, foot) said on Wednesday, February 1 that he's ready to go and doesn't expect his foot injuries to limit him in the Super Bowl. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Julio Jones (toe) 'looked great' in the Monday, January 30 practice. Jones averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game in 2016, and he is he first player in NFL history to average more than 100 receiving yards per game in four different seasons. He was a one-man wrecking crew against the Packers two weekends ago, with 12 targets for 9/180/2 receiving, playing through pain from his foot and toe injuries. How hot is the Atlanta passing offense entering Super Bowl LI? Well, Matt Ryan is the only quarterback in playoff history to throw for at least three touchdowns in four straight playoff games. So far this post-season, Ryan has thrown seven passing scores, with 26/37 for 338 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown against the Seahawks two games ago (he took three sacks for -15 yards), and then a jaw-dropping 27/38 for 392 yards passing, four TDs and zero interceptions thrown, with zero sacks taken, during the 44-21 demolition of Green Bay two weekends ago. Beside Jones' outstanding performance, Mohamed Sanu (1/7/0 rushing with seven targets for 5/52/1 receiving) and Devonta Freeman (five for 4/42/1) also scored against the Packers. With 730 yards passing, seven TDs and zero interceptions thrown so far during the playoffs, Ryan and the Falcons enter the Super Bowl flying high in this phase of the game. Two games ago, Brock Osweiler struggled at Gillette Stadium, throwing 23/40 for 198 yards passing, one TD and three interceptions, while taking three sacks for -17 yards. Ben Roethlisberger fared a little better, with 31/47 for 314 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown (with zero sacks taken), but his team still lost 17-36. During the post-season, New England has averaged 247 net passing yards allowed per game, with two TDs surrendered vs. four interceptions generated - during regular season the Patriots ranked 12th in the NFL averaging 237.9 net passing yards allowed per game, with 21 passing scores handed out vs. 13 interceptions (tied for 15th in the NFL) and 34 sacks (tie-16th) generated. Over the final three weeks of regular season, New England averaged a mere 11.6 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (least in the NFL); 18.9 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing wide receivers (13th-least) and just 3.4 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing tight ends (sixth-least). As you can see, they have been close to their season average in passing yards allowed, but have generated more interceptions than usual this season during the post-season. Ryan is playing at an other-worldly level during the post-season, while the Patriots' pass defense has been adequate, but allowed 314 net yards passing to the Steelers most recently - this is a neutral matchup for the powerful Atlanta offense.
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2016 Week 20 vs GB (3 / 2 / 24 / 0 rec, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
The former Brown didn't earn a lot of targets today, but he had a pair of quality catches that sustained drives. He fumbled one of this catches, but Atlanta had a substantial lead.
2016 Week 19 vs SEA (6 / 4 / 71 / 0 rec)
After a safety on Russell Wilson where the Seahawksf replacement guard tripped Wilson at the line of scrimmage, Ryan followed up with a pass to Gabriel on a short slant for a seven-yard completion that lead to an 18-yard gain. Gabriel spun inside a second defender for the gain to get insdie Seattlefs 20. He later settled into the zone up the middle for 18 yards on a 3rd and down pass at the two minute warning to get across midfield. Gabriel was targeted on a deep out and open but the pass was over thrown. After cornerback Deshaun Shead suffered a non-contact injury to his knee on the route and was carted to the locker room, Gabriel made a nice adjustment for 12 yards on 3rd and 12 on a spot out against rookie CB Deandre Elliott. His production was timely throughout the game. His only mistake was not recognizing a run-pass option opportunity with Matt Ryan pre-snap that bounced off his leg in Atlanta territory. If the Seahawksf rookie was more aware, he was a step or two from a pick-six in the fourth quarter that could have made this game closer.
2016 Week 16 vs CAR (4 / 3 / 15 / 0 rec)
He gained a few yards up the right flat on a 3rd and 21 WR screen during the second possession. He caught a quick slant to the 1 on 2nd and goal from the 5, setting up a Ryan scramble right and touchdown to the tight end D.J. Tialavea.
2016 Week 15 vs SF (6 / 3 / 60 / 1 rec)
Gabriel saw a team-high six targets in the comfortable blowout home win against San Francisco. This marked Gabriel's seventh straight game with at least 40 yards. Gabriel scored a red zone touchdown with quality route-running, setting up the defensive back and ultimately hauling in the contested pass. On Gabriel's other reception of note, he turned on the jets after a smoke screen reception for nearly 30 yards. In the second half, Gabriel had a deep target tipped away and another long opportunity thwarted by tight coverage. Gabriel has seen at least five targets a game for close to two months now and, even when Julio Jones returns, has cemented his status in Atlanta's pass game pecking order.
2016 Week 14 vs LA (6 / 3 / 82 / 1 rec, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
The receiver was stuffed on the second receiver screen to the right that Atlanta ran during this third drive of the day. During the fourth series, Gabriel led off with an 11-yard out. He was open on a dig route with 0:25 in the half but Ryan threw the ball well behind the momentum of the receivers break. During the third quarter, he broke a tackle on a screen up the right flat and drew a horse collar penalty from a defender to end the play. Later in the third quarter, Ryan found Gabriel wide open on a deep cross for a 64-yard score. The safety over Gabriel and Robinson took the outside route
2016 Week 13 vs KC (6 / 5 / 44 / 0 rec)
His first catch was a play-action shallow route for a touchdown where he made multiple men miss to get into the end zone, but Jake Matthews held a defender while blocking down field and it nullified Gabriel's core. Gabriel was the recipient of a bad no-call on a seven-yard gain where the Chiefs' defender delivered a horse-collar tackle that wasn't assessed. He set up a 59-yard field goal late in the half with a quick slant for 10 yards with 2 seconds left. He later caught 9-yard out on 3rd and 10 in the fourth quarter, setting up a failed 4th and 1 play in field goal range in the third quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, Gabriel caught an out at the Chiefs' one to set up the short-lived, go-ahead score.
2016 Week 12 vs ARI (5 / 4 / 75 / 2 rec, 1 / 27 / 0 rush)
Gabriel's first look was an end-around to the left side for 28 yards to begin the second drive of the game. It was a well-blocked play. He earned a target on third down, a curl route, but Tyrann Mathiew sat on the route and broke on-time to defend it. It was the longest route he ran for the day, but he was far more productive after this play. Gabriel gained 35 and a touchdown on a slot screen where he weaved through blocks up the left hash and flat. He caught a slant for eight yards with 1:30 in the first half. And he wrapped up this day with another screen up the left flat for a 25-yard touchdown. He was elusive and patient on both screen plays.
2016 Week 10 vs PHI (5 / 1 / 76 / 1 rec)
The Falcons' other new addition was targeted twice on deep routes in this game. The first was a play-action throw on a corner-post route. Gabriel's coverage, Leodis McKelvin played off coverage and didn't get fooled on the double move, cutting off the route near the goal line on this deep throw. But Gabriel got the best of McKelvin in the second half, running a terrific stutter-and-go route that forced the corner to bite hard on the short route. Gabriel left the corner in his dust with a catch up the right sideline where at least 45 of those yards came after the reception--a 76-yard score.
2016 Week 9 vs TB (5 / 5 / 52 / 0 rec, 2 / 24 / 1 rush)
The former Brown took an end-around during the first drive for a first down gain of 15. He caught a short hitch in the red zone early in the second series for a small gain at the left sideline. Gabriel also converted a third-down hitch for 8-9 to continue Atlanta's third offensive series and get them across midfield at the end of the first quarter. His best target was a leaping catch up the right sideline on a corner route thrown off a seven-step drop with 6:35 in the half, gaining 26 yards. He scored on 2nd and 7 inside the 10 on his second end-around in the game, a gain of 9 yards with less than five minutes in the second quarter. Gabriel set up a one-yard score to fullback Patrick DiMarco when was pushed to the ground in the back of the end zone on a short pass to the end line late in the first drive of the third quarter. His last catch was a crossing route in middle of the third quarter for a first down past midfield.
2016 Week 8 vs GB (3 / 3 / 68 / 1 rec)
The former Brown scored on a deep post on the third play of the second series, a 47-yard touchdown inside the right safety. It was an excellent diving catch of a throw leading him to the middle of the field. Gabriel later earned yards up the right flat on a screen for a first down late in the first half to get Atlanta near the Packers' 25. He also got wide-open on a 2nd and 5 against a blown zone assignment for a first down during the mid-third quarter.
2016 Week 6 vs SEA (2 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
He gained six on a short in-cut under zone coverage on the third playoff the game. The next target cost him the ballgame when he was hit and knocked stiff on an intermediate dig route with 0:40 left in the half. He was hit hard in the ribs by Earl Thomas and hit his head on the turf. His body had a reaction where his joints when stiff for a few seconds and then he was helped off the field and clearly disoriented on the sideline while guided to the locker room.
2016 Week 5 vs DEN (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Gabriel got wide open on a shallow cross from a trips left alignment bunched to the formation on a 3rd and goal but Ryan didn't even look his way, opting for Jacob Tamme who couldn't push past the linebacker at the one, forcing a 4th and 1 plunge for Devonta Freeman. It was Gabriel's only target of the day.
2016 Week 4 vs CAR (3 / 3 / 49 / 0 rec)
This is a player everyone should be monitoring as a fast-rising producer in Atlanta's offense. He ran the out versus off coverage on third down for an 11-yard gain on his first target. When Eric Weems muffed a kick off at the top of the second half, leading to a first down at Atlanta's one yard line to start the second half, Ryan targeted Gabriel on a slant to get Atlanta breathing room on a 19-ayrd gain. The former Brown also made a leaping catch for 20 yards with full extension and took a hard hit on the process to get Atlanta going on a later drive. He's clearly ahead of Justin Hardy in the pecking order and if he keeps this up, he could become the second-best option in the passing game among the wide receivers.
2016 Week 3 vs NO (3 / 2 / 33 / 0 rec)
Gabriel was the most productive wide receiver for Atlanta tonight. He drew a defensive pass interference call on a 3rd and 2 up the left sideline late in the half. He also gained 14 up the right seam late in the same drive. Later, Gabriel earned a first on a 19-yard catch up the middle in the second drive of the third quarter. He was involved a lot last week in his debut with the team and the staff has said he'll remain an active contributor in the offense.
2016 Week 2 vs OAK (2 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)
Don't be surprised if Gabriel threatens Justin Hardy's playing time. Dan Quinn told the broadcast crew before the game they liked what they saw and believe he'll be an active part of the offense immediately. Gabriel converted a 3rd and 10 for an 11-yard gain on a well-run hook route up the seam in the first quarter. He later caught a short hitch for 9 yards and then gained 8 yards on a screen pass just inside the two-minute warning before half-time.
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