The Falcons’ 2021 second-round pick hasn’t seen much action this season but was able to play some defensive snaps against Dallas, where he gave a glimpse of hope to those Falcons fans still watching.
On a Cowboys’ 2nd down inside the red zone during the third quarter, Grant punched the ball out of running back Zeke Elliott’s hands, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Atlanta’s Fabian Moreau.
Grant finished the day with three solo tackles to go with the forced fumble in the Falcons’ 43-3 loss to the Cowboys.
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Grant Considers Himself ‘A Dog’
In his last season at UCF before getting drafted at 40th overall, Grant started all but one of 10 games for the Knights and recorded 72 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and a QB hit.
Through four seasons with the Knights, the six-foot, 194-pounds safety totaled 291 tackles, 29 pass break ups, 10 interceptions, 11.5 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles.
When asked post-draft what the Falcons were getting in him, Grant said via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “A dog. Pure and sweet. You’re going to get a dog. I’m ready to work. I never thought this could happen, but I’m forever grateful to the Atlanta organization for taking that chance on me. You are about to get a playmaker. A leader on and off the field.”
Grant has been determined to prove himself all season long but hasn’t gotten that many chances to as he is still learning to adjust to the “big” league.
Nonetheless, the rookie has stayed optimistic.
“I think the easiest thing to say is I’m just taking one day at a time,” Grant said. “I just try to be focused on that rep. Trying to be focus on that period. In my experience, when you look forward or backwards, you’re just worrying about the wrong things. You need to worry about right now. That’s all I’ve been trying to do. I think I’ve been doing a good job of that.”
But he has been one of the bigger impacts on special teams and coach Arthur Smith doesn’t want that to go overlooked, he noted a few weeks ago.
“Richie has played on special teams, and I think that gets overlooked,” Smith said, per AtlantaFalcons.com. “I mean everybody’s just gets fixated because, hey, he got drafted high. I don’t see him on defense. The guys don’t see the impact he has on special teams. There’s nothing flashy about it, but Ritchie’s been a pretty good teams player for us, too.”
Falcons Fans React to Grant’s Forced Fumble
In an embarrassing game where Atlanta didn’t score a single touchdown, fans were at least stoked to see Grant make a big play.
He even received some love from Cowboys fans who initially wanted Dallas to draft him.
Here’s just a sample of the love Grant received on Twitter: