Fact check: Falcons’ wide receivers didn’t ‘step up’

October 1, 2017 Atlanta: Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde intercepts a pass by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan intended for wide receiver Taylor Gabriel during the second half in a NFL football game on Sunday, October 1, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was effusive in his praise of the wide receivers after the 23-17 loss to the Bill for “stepping up” when starters Julio Jones (hip flexor) and Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) went out with injuries.

But they really didn’t step up.

Taylor Gabriel was targeted five times, but didn’t have any catches.

Justin Hardy was targeted six times, but had just two catches for 12 yards and touchdown.  He had a potentially costly fumble determined an incompletion after replay.

Nick Williams had four targets and three catches for 30 yards. The one incompletion was intercepted.

That’s five catches on 15 targets for 42 yards, well below the production levels of Jones and Sanu.

“For us, we trust all of our guys to go out there and make plays,” Ryan said. “We called the plays that we had in the plan and trusted them to go out there and do it. I thought our guys did a pretty good job of stepping up.”

But they really didn’t.







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