Heath isn’t a complete stranger to kicking and handled the duties for his high school in Michigan.
The most flagrant dirty hit of Week 6, though, was Mitchell taking an unnecessary shot at the knees of Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Mitchell was just fined $9,115 for that one.
Mitchell insists he’s not a dirty player, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
“But if you saw the play, you know there was no intent or egregiousness there on his part,” Tomlin said, via Joe Rutter of the Tribune-Review. “He got tripped, but Alex doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head and, in-game, he doesn’t know that, so it’s reasonable to have the response that he had.”
It seems like the league doesn’t care about excuses. That’s a hefty fine for Mitchell. With a hit that egregious and his history, he’s lucky he wasn’t suspended.
The Falcons’ offense ranked first in points per game (33.8) and second in yards per game (415.8) last season. Those respective rankings this year are 12th (24.2) and fifth (378.4) going into Week 7. They had only 11 giveaways in 2016 and are already up to seven in ’17.
Matt Ryan, the reigning NFL MVP, has thrown as many TDs as INTs (six) and seen his passer rating plummet from an interstellar 117.1 to an average 87.3. Go-to wide receiver Julio Jones has only one 100-yard game and zero touchdowns, with only one red zone target. The Falcons, with their strong run-blocking line and explosive backs, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, also have gone from No. 5 in rushing yards per game to No. 16.
The Patriots’ defense allowed the fewest points per game (15.6) and were eighth in average yardage allowed (326.4) last season. Now they are 30th in scoring defense (26.5) and last in total defense (440.7 yards per game). They are No. 32 against the pass and No. 20 against the run.