The numbers tell part of the story. And it was a good story for Falcons receiver Harry Douglas.
The third-round pick who arrived in the same draft as Matt Ryan caught seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers.
Douglas made those seven catches despite being targeted only eight times. (The incompletion became quickly forgotten, thanks to a roughing the passer penalty.)
The first two catches came on Atlanta’s second and third plays from scrimmage. On the first reception, Douglas was loosely covered by a linebacker in the slot, and as a result Douglas was wide open for a four-yard gain. On the next play, he was again uncovered in a short zone on the right side, for a seven-yard gain.
Later in the quarter, after stopping on a dime while trying to run past press coverage from Johnthan Banks, Douglas reeled in a 12-yard reception.
Perhaps the most surprising reception came when Darrelle Revis was giving Douglas whopping a seven-yard cushion. Douglas easily ran inside of Revis, making a 26-yard catch and run.
The biggest gain of the day for Douglas came after the pocket collapsed, Ryan stepped up, and Ryan found Douglas down the field as, according to Douglas, the third option. Despite interference from cornerback Leonard Johnson, Douglas made the catch and completed a 54-yard gain.
On the first play of the next drive, from the Tampa 37, Douglas became the first option after Ryan spotted safety Dashon Goldson preparing to creep up. Ryan changed the play, Goldson started to step back at the snap but then came forward, and Douglas sprinted by him. Banks, who was lined up to Douglas’ outside shoulder and seven yards off the ball, hesitated off the snap and then was burned when Douglas turned on the jets.
Six of Douglas’ catches, for 140 total yards, came in the first half. In the second half, Ryan distributed the ball more to other players, throwing only once to Douglas.
Moving forward, the question now becomes whether Cardinals will play him a little more aggressively. Douglas was understandably discreet during a Thursday appearance on PFT Live regarding whether he’ll be targeted more than eight times on Sunday. Unless Arizona pays more attention to him than Tampa Bay did, Douglas could have another big day.