Vic Beasley (13.5 sacks) proving Falcons made right call

Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley celebrates on his way to scoring a touchdown after a fumble recovery against the Los Angeles Rams in the third quarter at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum Sunday. The Falcons defeated the Rams 42-14. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley celebrates on his way to scoring a touchdown after a fumble recovery against the Los Angeles Rams in the third quarter at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum Sunday. The Falcons defeated the Rams 42-14. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Remember the complaints, largely emanating from those wearing Bulldog boxer shorts, that the Falcons made a mistake drafting Vic Beasley over Todd Gurley?

Remember the continuing angst carrying over after Beasley’s unimpressive rookie season when he failed to register a tackle in this year’s opening loss against Tampa Bay?

Never mind.

The Falcons flattened the Los Angeles Rams 42-14 on Sunday at the Los Angeles Coliseum. It was an ugly game for anybody who pushed for the NFL’s return to L.A. But Beasley was a star. He had three sacks, giving him a team-leading 13½, after getting only four in his rookie season. He also had a forced fumble, recovery and a 21-yard return for a touchdown.

For more on the game, click here to go to my full column on the game on MyAJC.com.

While Gurley continues to struggle this season and the former Georgia running back said the Rams “looked like a middle school offense out there,” Beasley has turned into a beast. He had sacks in the first, second and third quarters. Two of his sacks came one-handed, as he was fending off blockers. He’s even better with two hands.

His sack, strip, fumble recovery and return for a touchdown in the third quarter made it 42-0, as Rams fans went searching for blindfolds.

Sack totals can be misleading. But not enough can be said about the individual effort Beasley gave Sunday and the extent to which he is turning into one of the league’s best pass rushers. He also seems to be playing with better instincts, with things coming more naturally — not having to think as much.

“I would definitely say I was doing more thinking last year,” he said. “It’s just having experience in the league. The more games I’ve played, the more comfortable I’ve gotten. Now I feel like I’m coming into who I am. I’m building a lot of confidence. You can see it in my game.”

As for the one-handed sacks, Beasley said, “As a defensive player, it’s just having the mentality of being able to make that play, not waiting on somebody else to do something. It’s having the mindset of making the play all the time. Just trying to be relentless.”

Nobody is happier about Beasley’s development than Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who came from the defensive side of the ball in Seattle, used to coach pass rushers and had major input in selecting Beasley in his first Falcons’ draft.

“A lot of it comes from his work in practice, but he also has a real awareness for the ball,” Quinn said. “When you can get to the quarterback like that and you’re always reaching for the ball, that’s all about awareness.”

Meanwhile, Gurley has fallen off significantly. He had a strong rookie season, averaging 85 yards per game and 4.8 per carry but he was limited to 61 in Sunday’s game (just over his season pace) and is averaging less than 3.3 per carry. It would be unfair to put all of the Rams’ struggles on Gurley, especially given the struggles at quarterback and the offensive line, but his game has taken a step back.

Beasley has gone in the other direction.

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39 comments
Big Wally
Big Wally

OH:IO: "I just want to say, that I really respect you TOJacket",

TOJacket: "Likewise to you, you give me so much inspiration OH:IO, 


and the violin music begins to play softly in the background.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Is GurlME still pouting?

TideDawg
TideDawg

@OH:IO How are you feeling butt-eye? The day of reckoning draws near.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


You tell me, tide or dog? 


Buckeye's are IN. 


dogs are IN Memphis. 


Nice typical redneck dog 3rd grade insult by the way. 


Why not be an adult use the anatomically correct term?

TideDawg
TideDawg

@OH:IO @TideDawg I love those red neck people. Some of the best people in the world and when they've got your back....they've got your back.

TideDawg
TideDawg

There you go TO, picking on me again. You're gonna make me cry you big bad bully. 

slydawg
slydawg

Todd Gurley would have undoubtedly had as much impact on the Falcons offense as Beasley has had on the defense. However, the Falcons will never win anything consistently, much less a championship, until the defense got fixed. They are well on their way now.

TOJacket
TOJacket

He ain't playing no middle school ball !!

miked706
miked706

I'll be the first to say, I am eating crow because I called Vic a bust.  I will be a man and eat my words because he is proving me wrong. He is doing a great job and showing that he deserved to be picked where he was.  salute To Vic.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@miked706 Three bad years and a good one. No evidence of a superstar yet. There's not a player that can't be blocked.....some just make it more difficult than others.

Susan89
Susan89

It really doesn't matter because they are going to lose the very first game in the play off season...hahahahahahahaha!  The fairweather Falcoons fans need to stop bragging because they beat the Chargers...EVERYBODY knows this is NOT their year...nothing to brag about.....Let's talk AFTER they lose the first playoff game...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Susan89

You're as ignorant as tinala--and that's WAY down there in the dregs.

OH:IO
OH:IO

I bet 5 or 6 and lil wally wear bull dog boxers. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

NEW dog EXCUSE ALERT!


NEW dog EXCUSE ALERT!


The "Middle School Offense" excuse

OH:IO
OH:IO

GurlMe is a dog


A loser dog


dogs whine 


That's what dogs do

TideDawg
TideDawg

Football fans are a strange lot. They are quick to say a player or team is as good as the best and better than the rest based on early results. The Falcons, while much improved, are still a weak team overall and will not stack up well against the top teams. That means they are going nowhere if they make the playoffs. They will make it...eventually, but not this year. I don't know about Ryan. At times he looks good then makes a stupid throw. I watch other QBs eyes and expressions. Most of them look calm under pressure, even the rookies. Ryan looks wild in the eyes and frenzied when he's on the field. Maybe I'm over reading his look, but he has thrown interceptions in the red zone too often. I watch them, I pull for them to win, and I guess I want them to be New England. They are not! But they may be headed in that direction. We'll see!!

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg New England cheats !....Matt Ryan is playing some of his best football ever and...do you know what "Shinola" is?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

NE cheats???

Irrelevant.

They still won 3 of four without Brady.

OceanTiger
OceanTiger

I seem to remember it was Ledbetter beating that Gurley-instead-of- Beasley drum longer and harder than anyone else.

HardyFalcon
HardyFalcon

One good game does not make up for 3 years of so-so play he still has a long ways to go

swb7
swb7

@HardyFalcon He has only been here 2 years, and he has been pretty good all season. 13.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and a TD isn't so-so in the NFL. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

Tevin and DaVonte are better than Gurley.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Like I always said...Gurley is a rule breaker, not a record breaker.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Yea...where are all those football experts calling Beasley a bust and Ryan washed up.....idiots.