The Falcons have a budding defensive star, and his name is Michael Boley.
Boley’s play was key in the Falcons victory over the Texans yesterday, and he is making a name for himself this year league-wide:
“He’s a star in the making,” said Keith Brooking, the Falcons’ five-time Pro Bowl linebacker. “He’s a very productive player. He’s all over the field making plays.”
Boley’s 28 tackles rank second in the NFL and first on the Falcons. He’s not just accumulating numbers by jumping on piles, either. Boley’s tackles have been high impact, literally and figuratively.
As the AJC points out, it’s not just that Boley’s making plays, but that he’s making them at crucial times:
He’s also dishing out his blows at crucial points, as was the case in 1-3 Atlanta’s first win of the season Sunday, 26-16 over Houston.
Boley (6 feet 3, 236 pounds) forced a second-quarter fumble when he tackled Vonta Leach after a short catch. The play led to the Falcons’ second touchdown of the game. He followed that with another big hit on Leach that denied Houston a first down on a fourth-and-2 play in the second quarter. The Falcons converted that into a field goal.
Two more of his game-high nine tackles came on third-down plays that forced a punt or a late-game fourth-down gamble.
Boley’s play is a highlight on a defense that looks solid overall, and is a bright spot in what has been a difficult season so far. Things are starting to look up, though, and if the trend continues it will be in large part because of the strong play of Boley and the defense.