History suggests Falcons are headed for a 9-7 campaign

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) scores a touchdown in front of Philadelphia defender Ellis Hobbs (31). AP

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) scores a touchdown in front of Philadelphia defender Ellis Hobbs (31). AP

PHILADELPHIA –  History suggests that the Falcons are headed for a 9-7 season.

This was the third season that the Falcons have opened with a 4-1 mark.

After the other 4-1 starts, the team finished 9-7.

Last season, they went 4-1 before losing consecutive games at Dallas and at New Orleans. A rash of injuries started to set in and the team finished 9-7.

The Falcons started 4-1 in 1995, before losing to the St. Louis Rams 21-19 to drop to 4-2. They never got on a roll and finished 9-7, but went to the playoffs where they lost to the Green Bay Packers, 37-20.

The Falcons best start was in 1986 when they opened the season 5-1-1, before losing five straight and closing out the season 7-8-1.

The franchise went 5-1 twice. In 2004, they went on to finish 11-5 and reached the NFC championship game. In 1998, they went 14-2 and went to the Super Bowl.

The Falcons have never started a season 6-1.

“We are 4-2, hopefully we can win next week and be 5-2 going into that bye week,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “We’ll still be sitting pretty. It’s not a time to panic. We just have to go out there and keep getting better in practice.”

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158 comments Add your comment

Rupe in DC

October 17th, 2010
9:15 pm

GREAT NEWS EVERYONE! I just got off the phone with Special Agent Bennett of the FBI. I placed a call earlier today to the FBI and GBI, alerting them that a plane load of larcenist were headed to the Atlanta Airport. They were impersonating NFL players and coaches and they planned to steal checks this week. Agent Bennett informed me that the suspects were apprehended without incident. They were unarmed, not dangerous, put up no fight, and posed no type of flight risk. Atlanta…. your streets are safe now from those criminals!!!!

Rupe in DC

October 17th, 2010
9:15 pm

Jeff

October 17th, 2010
9:18 pm

History ain’t nothin’.

LJ

October 17th, 2010
9:19 pm

Dang D-Led, way to spread the hope!!

ATLJim31

October 17th, 2010
9:19 pm

They better play better than they did today or 9-7 is a pipe-dream.

cbro281

October 17th, 2010
9:25 pm

D Led u are a goober, that history crap is just that. I will take two losses out of every six games every year, please get a clue and write a real article.

Roland Lawrance 22

October 17th, 2010
9:30 pm

D. Led Any word on Dunta. As a former DB in the league i thought that was a clean hit and had it not been a penalty the falcons would have gotten the ball back and maybe the game would have a different outcome. As fans we don’t mind losing we just would like a better effort. We just got outcoached plain and simple. Abraham made the comment they did stuff differently from what we game planned for. Ok that is acceptable for their offense against our defense, but when are we as a team going to think outside the box and do some creative things on offense. It seems we had more creativity in Ryans first year than the last two. Passing on first down is ok. Even running on 3rd and 4 out of a obvious pass formation is ok sometimes. Make at least our opponent think a little. If this offense does not get past it’s predictability we are going to lose a lot more games just like this one.

RL

ryan

October 17th, 2010
9:32 pm

Jenkins was a jinks .

Rupe in DC

October 17th, 2010
9:37 pm

Hats off to Roland Lawrence …… many good memories from a DB that used to bring the wood!!!

old atl

October 17th, 2010
9:42 pm

We need some real offense coordinators, some real defense coordinators. Our coaches have no confidence in the secondary with all the soft coverages, it’s embarassing watching them. Why was it any real blitz against slow Kolb, wow. Man, we’ll be lucky if they go 8-8.

****News Flash*** frm Rupe in DC

October 17th, 2010
9:44 pm

The suspects are being transported to Flowery Branch, GA where they will be immediately enrolled in rehab courses. They will undergo extensive retraining on offensive and defensive basics, in hopes that they commit no further heinous crimes such as those committed today.

The citizens of Atlanta will be asked to have mercy on them for today’s larceny.

2Legit2quit

October 17th, 2010
9:45 pm

win the home games and split the road games is not a bad recipe! No shame in losing to steelers and getting tricked by a crafty eagles coach. As long as we learn from this we will be OK, I recall losing to Chiefs 55-10 back in 04 and still made it to the superbowl. Go Falcons

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kerri Leland and ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: History suggests Falcons are headed for a 9-7 campaign http://bit.ly/alR6Xr [...]

jojatek

October 17th, 2010
9:48 pm

Smith and his staff were clearly “schooled” today. The Falcons looked like they were trapped in that nightmare that we have all had: Showing up for class only to find that you had prepared for the wrong exam. That said, I must say that Ryan looks downright pedestrian this season. Missing reads… a little panicky under pressure… not waiting for plays to fully develop. Nobody seems to want to admit it, but Matty-Ice really needs to elevate his game… soon…

Time to get back to work, Smitty…

Roland Lawrance 22

October 17th, 2010
9:56 pm

Good Point 2ligit2quit.

However we had an offense that could really stretch the field with Tony Martin and Terrance Matthis as your possesion receiver. We are just not dominating enough to just line it up and run it down your throat. We need to find away to keep them off balance, run when they think we are going to pass and vice versa. One last thing that we need to try and do which seemed to always work for us, and that is getting off to a fast start. Got to do a better job of scripting our first possession drive to give us a better chance of scoring a TD. That i think will do wonders for this team. We’ve proven we can win from behind. Now let’s play by getting the lead first for change.
RL

todd

October 17th, 2010
9:57 pm

Is there one person in this organization from 1986? Or 1995 for that matter? How can history suggest anything then?

Roland Lawrance 22

October 17th, 2010
9:58 pm

2ligit
I don’t think that was “04 when we went to the SB more like 98 it was brookings rookie year and jessie tuggles last year.

RL

Mike is back

October 17th, 2010
9:59 pm

Dled, we took a beating today. THE BIRDS wasn’t ready to play. MATT continues to lock in on receivers instead of going through his progressions…He had a tough day. We looked liked a second tier offense compared to play calling of the Eagles.

The defense played uncharacteristically undisciplined. It was a bad game, but it only counts as one loss. No need to panic…however, there are some glaring weaknesses that needs to be addressed…WE LOOKED PAINFULLY PREDICTABLE TODAY. We played right into the Eagles hands. Surely, we are a better team than that.

Falcons, Class of the NFC? Nope.

October 17th, 2010
10:00 pm

This was downright embarrassing. I think this is exactly what they needed though. People around the league were saying we were the best team in the NFC. Most of the picks today were pointing toward ATL. But a lot of the computer simulations had the Eagles winning big. Guess the machines were right.

Perhaps preparing for two quarterbacks made the defense hesitant. Let today be a lesson for the Falcons. They are no longer the class of the NFC. They held that title for a week. Give it up to the Eagles. What is it about Philly teams?!

I agree the Robinson hit was the major turning point. Today was one of those games we weren’t supposed to win, & the players lived up to that. There’s always next week.

JustAMinute

October 17th, 2010
10:05 pm

Hold on just a minute. Even with all the hype, and as poorly as the team played, I don’t believe that this game holds much merit for the rest of the season. It was a tough loss and a lack luster performance by players and coaches alike. But, each team can be afforded a bad loss or two a season. A road loss at a Lincoln Financial against a team that historically the Falcons struggle with won’t mean all that much in December: Assuming the team can forget about the fashion in which they lost. Anyways, I see 6 more very winnable game on the schedule: 2 against Carolina, Cincinnati at home, Tampa at home, at St. Louis, and at Seattle. That leaves Baltimore at home, Green Bay at home, New Orleans at home, and at Tampa. If the team can pull out one more out of these they are looking at 11-5 and most likely a division title, and at worst a wild-card berth.

That being said I do believe that it is all dependent on how the team responds in the next two games at home. They need to get re-focused and have a 6-2 record going into the Baltimore game.

Falconian

October 17th, 2010
10:05 pm

Hey Roland Lawrence, Drew Pearson is still open…….MORON!!!!!

Reid Adair

October 17th, 2010
10:07 pm

While history says 9-7, D-Led, I think this year’s schedule – particularly with three consecutive home games coming up – plays into the Falcons’ favor. Atlanta did play well this afternoon, and Andy Reid pulled all of his trick plays out of his hat.

Ron-NS-Fan

October 17th, 2010
10:08 pm

lets see, we loose to Balt, Tampa, NO, StLouis, GB and end up 9 -7, miss the playoffs because of the eagles games…Sound familiar????

Great Falconi

October 17th, 2010
10:11 pm

The Falcons will be fine. People seem to forget that the team had won four in a row. Follow this loss up with a win and the team will be on track.

BigLou

October 17th, 2010
10:12 pm

9-7? Seriously…. I wonder if the Saints articles were this negative when they lost to the Cardinals. Talk about fair weather…..

bigstack19

October 17th, 2010
10:19 pm

2ligit
I don’t think that was “04 when we went to the SB more like 98 it was brookings rookie year and jessie tuggles last year.

RL

Tuggle’s last year wasn’t 1998. I want to say 2000 or 2001.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 17th, 2010
10:29 pm

Hey y’all, what’s a goober? Is dude hating on me? Or being very nice?

FalconFanPoopingonHaters

October 17th, 2010
10:29 pm

History also suggest that DOL will wear a bowtie tomorrow. We lost the game. Big deal. We’re 4-2. Not bad. The sky is not falling and the world is not ending. Our goals are still very much attainable. We’re tied for 1st in the NFC South with the next 3 games at home. Anything can happen. We just have to work hard and practice hard and beat the Bengals next week. One game at a time. GO FALCONS!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 17th, 2010
10:30 pm

Nothing new on Dunta. William Moore said they talked to him and he’s expected back. Coach Smith said he was fine during his press conference. He’ll probably be fined for the hit.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 17th, 2010
10:33 pm

Roland Lawrence 22 — I’m a form tackle guy. A form tackle would have gotten the job done. You don’t need to “launch” into players and definitely need to lower your target area and be in line with the league rules.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 17th, 2010
10:35 pm

todd — One of the 4-1 starts/collapses was last season.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 17th, 2010
10:47 pm

Falconian — Be nice to Roland. No name calling.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 17th, 2010
10:49 pm

FalconFanPoopingonHaters — I’m actually not wearing a bow-tie tomorrow. Great sweater and gray knit shirt with gold slacks.

gt97

October 17th, 2010
10:58 pm

Why did this have to come against the Eagles? We never challenge them. I think we need a little more urgency in the 1st quarter on offense. A little speed in the backfield will not hurt either. FatA$$ was slow as usual. Did you see the stats…Snelling 3 for 17 turner 16 or so for 45.

Chucktown

October 17th, 2010
11:19 pm

Hey Dled ever watch the Andy Griffen show? Goober used to pump gas. who ever called you that was not being nice.

Chucktown

October 17th, 2010
11:26 pm

Something to think about. When was the last time you saw Ryan hit one of oour WR’s in stride for yard after the catch?I and not talking about him hiting Roddy for a 5 yard pass and Roddy making it into 15 yards. I am starting to think he can only throw to spots, hook routes come backs etc

Philthy Birds

October 17th, 2010
11:27 pm

We were flat from the beginning. When Tony Gonzalez uncharacteristically pops a ball up into Asante Samuel’s hands, you know that it’s going to be a bad game. DOL, anything can happen, but I don’t think that 9-7 is any more likely than 10-6 or 11-5, even. Obviously, a lot of it is riding on our injury situation.

“Roland Lawrance 22″, if you are really “Rolland Lawrence”, I would expect you to at least be able to spell your own name correctly. If dementia is setting in that badly, the NFLPA really needs to help you guys out with the retirement and medical care.

DR. FALCON

October 18th, 2010
12:00 am

MR. LEDBETTER, WE WILL BE FAVORED TO BEAT THE BENGALS AT THE HOUSE NEXT WEEK TO PUT US AT 5-2 GOING INTO OUR BYE. i WILL TAKE THAT! WE PLAYED 4 OUT OF 6 ON THE ROAD TO START THE SEASON. WE ARE 4-2, 3-1 IN THE NFC! HISTORY DOES NOT MEAN A THING THIS IS A DIFFERENT YEAR! I LIKE OUR CORE GROUP OF PLAYERS! WE HAVE 3 STRAIGHT HOME GAMES COMING UP. IF WE HANDLE OUR BUSINESS, AT WORST WE WILL BE 8-3 BEFORE OUR NEXT ROAD GAME. STAY PATIENT! ITS A LONG SEASON!

Big Ray

October 18th, 2010
12:22 am

History also strongly suggested that we could not have consecutive seasons with a winning record.

We lost this game because we played like CRAP. But let’s break it down further:

1. The Eagles had a clever offensive game plan. They struck quickly in the beginning, using trick plays. We were on our heels ever since. They kept selling the screen pass that we’re so scared of, and we kept buying it, while they ran different/other plays.

2. They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We never posed a real threat to Kevin Kolb, who had time to pick his nose, look at his watch, scratch his a$$, and then throw a pass. We also never established the run against a team that supposedly could not defend it.

3. Ryan missed some very good opportunities, throwing inaccurate passes to Harry Douglas, who had them beat in the slot, and passing to Jason Snelling at the sideline and two yards from the original line of scrimmage, when Tony Gonzalez was open at the goal line. Happened twice, both times he was open in the middle.

4. The lone interception was Gonzalez reaching for the pass, but never leaving the ground to go up and get it. He tipped it perfectly to a lurking DB who was there to make the tackle, not the INT. That’s the difference between 95% effort and 100% effort. Sorry Tony, but that one IS on you, even if you didn’t know there was a DB behind you.

5. Run play on first down. Every time. Predictable, and sadly so. Refusal to adjust when it clearly was not working.

6. Run blocking was bad, so was pass blocking. Ryan was doing his version of river dance in the pocket more than half the time. I’m getting tired of seeing this. He’s not overly mobile. We know this. So could we try blocking defenders, please?

Dr. Warren

October 18th, 2010
12:34 am

10-6 was my prediction before the season, and I’m sticking with it. Go down the schedule, and it seems obvious, barring key injuries and allowing for upset losses.

Y.I. Outta

October 18th, 2010
12:39 am

———Am i the only 1 that thinks Turner is a glorified fullback,,,,,He has no tailback instincts…Tired of seeing him tiptoe thru the hole and his lack of lateral movement!!!!!!!!WE WILL HAVE NEW COORDINATORS NEXT YR,Not sure which 1 it will be but 1 of them is gone,Maybe even before the yr is over

States Burr

October 18th, 2010
12:51 am

With your matching shiny gold shoes…

kcfalcon

October 18th, 2010
12:58 am

This is just pile-on nonsense. There are lot of winnable games left on the schedule.

Splitting the last 10 to get to that record you mentioned would be very disappointing. I don’t think TD, MS or anyone associated with the Falcons is thinking that way at all.

With this franchise, history isn’t much of a guide.

Falcons do need some evaluation though. Need to become more explosive. There are ways to do that and not worry about turning the ball over when the Falcons get more aggressive.

There will be a good bounce-back from the Eagles game. Count on it.

Singletary

October 18th, 2010
2:04 am

This one had “loss” written all over it. NFC East lines outweigh us on both lines. Is anyone else embarrassed that we lost to a team that lost to Redskins? Dreading Ravens game, too.

Falcons Chic

October 18th, 2010
2:25 am

This understatement by Jabba the Coach (Reid)

On whether the play of QB Kevin Kolb will make it difficult to go back to Michael Vick as the starter:
“This is a beautiful thing. When you’re sitting here as a chubby head coach in the National Football League, and you have two good quarterbacks, you’re a happy guy. That’s a positive thing.”

Football Bat

October 18th, 2010
2:28 am

I agree this article is nonsense. So D-Led is thinking we go 5-5 from here out? Your bowtie is on too tight. Could you mention that many of Ryan’s passes were too high, too low or late, or that our secondary lost its mojo when Dunta left? And how in the hell do you get fined and flagged for hitting someone in the chest with your shoulder pads? What’s he supposed to do, check his speedometer?

There’s plenty to talk about without this history crap. Didn’t we bury the old Falcons with consecutive winning seasons?????

Singletary

October 18th, 2010
2:30 am

Coaches — may I respectfully suggest that you have the players on BOTH sides of the ball re-read the Misdirection chapter in the playbook. A lot of what they were doing was obvious. Other teams now know how to defeat us after PiT & PHI.

JSS

October 18th, 2010
5:12 am

Still getting beat over the top I see… DeCoud may be “a stand-up guy.” but when is he ever going to learn? The whole rest of the League has it on video, Goodness, they are exploiting it in every form and manner. Now they are slapping Moore the same way they did Coleman too…

Mr. Mustard

October 18th, 2010
6:42 am

Hey, hats off to Rowland Lawrence. Nice of you to join us. I am sure you are used to dealing with knuckleheads. I guess some people never made a mistake in their jobs, ever. Hope to see you around as the Falcons continue to rise up in stature.

We got beat by Philadelphia in Philly, that happens to a lot of teams so I don’t think it is the end of the world.

However we do have some holes and they showed yesterday. I have said and will continue to say, this Falcons’ franchise is headed toward greatness, but they are not there yet.

Our offensive and defensive lines are good, but not great.

We miss Norwood, or at least a scatback to offset Turner.

Matt Ryan does not have the arm strength or the accuracy to carry our team when we cannot run the ball. Plus sometimes he still locks in to his receivers thus broadcasting the plays.

Our offense is too predictable, when the opposing team is stuffing Turner, then they zone in and forcer Ryan to make throws he is not best suited for, then mix up the plays, run some misdirections

We did seem very creative our first year with Ryan, and the last two seem less thoughtful.

We have a good yound defense, a good yound quarterback and Roddy White, but we were out coached and played yesterday. Philly exploited our weaknesses, and they had the home field.

We are going to be okay, but we ain’t elite just yet.

Finally, I am sorry but Tony Gonzalez has lost a step. I wonder if we will cut him a year too early, rather than a year too late, as is our new philosophy, of which I agree.

Does anyone agree with me about Gonzalez?

Zoomie

October 18th, 2010
7:21 am

All of the issues over which fans here have been hand-wringing came home to roost in this bird fight. Very predictable play-calling, especially at the start of the game, led to a very slow start and good field position for the opponent to hang 21 on the Falcons before they realized they were in a game. Matt Ryan looked tentative, slow to read and deliver, and had no response for a blitzing defense. Poor special teams play resulted in excellent field position for the opponent. O-line that played fairly well in the run game, but poorly in pass protection.

The Falcons have gotten a lot of positive press as a presence in the NFC, but as pointed out here before, it’s becoming more apparent their 4 wins were against teams that are mediocre at best. The Eagles were a good barometer and it looks like the apparent weaknesses shown in the earlier games are indeed endemic.

Considering the hype and the paycheck, Matt Ryan is looking rather pedestrian. Is this a result of offensive strategy and play-calling, or is he truly that slow in making reads, decisions, and executing the plays? Given the football acumen attributed to him, why doesn’t he seem smart enough to execute a convincing play-action pass? Both Flacco and Sanchez are outplaying the Falcons $78M quarterback by a wide margin.

I also predicted a 10-6 season for the Falcons. I’m with DOL: 9-7 isn’t out of the question.