Report card: Falcons grades for loss to chatty Panthers





CHARLOTTE — Here are the Falcons’ grades for the 30-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at the Bank of America Stadium.

GAME BALL: None awarded this week.

F — Quarterbacks: Matt Ryan’s numbers don’t look bad, but most of the action came after the offense contributed to digging the 23-0 hole by doing much of nothing on their first three possessions. He completed 34 of 49 passes for 342 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He had a passer rating of 94.1. The Falcons were 2 of 8 (25 percent) on third down conversions. That’s 3 of 19 (15.7 percent) over the last two games.

F — Running backs: Michael Turner had seven carries for 14 yards. Rodgers had 21 yards on four carries. After falling behind, the Falcons had to move away from the running game. Turner added a late rushing touchdown and has one in each of the last four games. He has eight rushing touchdowns this season.

F — Receivers: Roddy White had nine catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones needs three more yards to eclipse 1,000 for the season. White’s 4-yard touchdown was his 50th career receiving touchdown. He is one of three wide receivers in team history to record 50 career touchdown receptions, joining WR Terance Mathis (57) and Andre Rison (56).

F — Offensive line: Ryan was sacked twice and hit six times.

F — Defensive line: Defensive tackle Corey Peters had one of the few pressures on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, but he got away. Vance Walker had the team’s only sack. There were three other hits on Newton. Walker’s sack was his third of the season which ranks tied for third on the team this season behind defensive end John Abraham (10.0) and defensive end/tackle Jonathan Babineaux (3.5).

F — Linebackers: The Panthers rushed for 195 yards on 32 carries. The Panthers rushed for 199 yards in the previous meeting. The Falcons need to figure out how to stop read-option quarterbacks. They could see Robert Griffin III again or San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs. Stephen Nicholas led the Falcons with nine tackles. Also, the problem against screens reared its ugly head on DeAnglo Williams’ 53-yard touchdown play. (See Carolina and Chicago games from 2011.)

F — Defensive backs: Steve Smith got loose for seven catches and 109 yards. Greg Olsen made a nice grab on his touchdown catch. Chris Hope made his first start as a Falcon and finished with two tackles.

F — Special teams: Why is the kicker out smack talking?

F — Coaching: Either the Falcons weren’t ready to play or they just got rolled.

NEXT UP: The Falcons (11-2) face the New York Football Giants (8-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

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131 comments Add your comment

1 and done

December 10th, 2012
12:58 pm

Hi Matty Ice, its me destiny. I knew you wouldn’t let me down.

Bronkelliott

December 10th, 2012
1:09 pm

Agree with the F rating all around. The Falcons play scared with no killer instinct. They have no running game and the defense is porous. Need a miracle for team to turn around. This is why they get no respect around the league. Matt Ryan needs to learn to scramble, he is not that old that he can’t learn to run when necessary. Good wake up call to get horse whipped by wimpy Carolina. Better look head and see the truck that is rolling in with the N Y Giants. Go Falcons and man up!

Season Ticket Holder

December 10th, 2012
1:13 pm

These are generous grades. The Offense (QB., RB, O.Line) deserves an F minus.

Falconut

December 10th, 2012
1:15 pm

The grades look spot on for yesterday’s performance or lack of. I’d really like to see a full game out of this group. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen one of them. Probably the Eagles game in October or the Chargers back in September.

Both sides of the ball were reponsible, the offense couldn’t do anything early and the defense coudn’t stop anything. Mike you need to get these guys in shape for the Giants. If not, home field might slip away by the end of the season. But, at least they’re already in the playoffs, so let’s just figure things out and win.

Willie Coyote

December 10th, 2012
1:15 pm

We score when we run the no huddle…we just never run it. It is truly baffling that Smitty refuses to do what so OBVIOUSLY works on offense.

The O-Line needs an upgrade.

Defensively, we are a D-lineman and a linebacker away from being something to reckon with. Of course, that wasn’t apparent Sunday because it looked like we needed a lot more than that.

11-2 isn’t bad but these weaknesses need to be addressed. We get some guys back on D and that will help us improve. The offense needs to go up-tempo for most of the game to have success. Running #32 between the tackles is not working.

Falconut

December 10th, 2012
1:16 pm

Oh, forgot to mention, Turner needs to start backing up Rodgers. It’s become a waste of a down.

Starship 1

December 10th, 2012
1:17 pm

I don’t want to be the that say it, but Falcons lose to the G-Men next Sunday. Don’t act like you didn’t know it was coming. Just sayin. Look at what the G-Men did to N.O.-and we think that we are much better than N.O.? just sayin…

Starship 1

December 10th, 2012
1:21 pm

Smitty keeps saying that “we’ll learn from this and we’ll learn from that” How long has he been saying this? It’s time for Arther and Demetrius to make player personnel changes just like they did when they let loose (can’t even remember his name). Let them young boys play and rest your starters. They’ll play with much more motivation against non-playoffs teams you just don’t want to play.

kevkat

December 10th, 2012
1:26 pm

F — Special teams: Why is the kicker out smack talking?

Is that the best you can come up with to give the special teams and “F”? Because the kicker responded to being mocked? Was Matt given an “F” for the comment he made after the first game against the Panthers? Special teams didn’t have a chance to contribute to this embarrassing lost.

Roundabout

December 10th, 2012
1:27 pm

Too bad F is the lowest score, they deserve lower. The whole team should be on the “Did Not Participate list”. If they take this mess into the playoffs it’ll be another one and out.

@a566377

December 10th, 2012
1:28 pm

LOLOL. Horse whipped by wimpy Carolina. You should’ve said horse whipped by wimpy Carolina twice. That’s only untrue due to one of many pull out of your a$$ last-second drives. Ask yourself this, can you rely on another Ryan prayer in the playoffs?

Larry

December 10th, 2012
1:29 pm

Coach Smith,

Rather than “we will learn from this” or “we will review the game film and adjust accordingly,” how about some proactive anticipation?

Anticipating what your opponent will do and what yo should do to counter it ir you’er correct is good game planning….proactively!

kevkat

December 10th, 2012
1:30 pm

Starship 1

December 10th, 2012
1:21 pm
Smitty keeps saying that “we’ll learn from this and we’ll learn from that” How long has he been saying this?

Forever! Along with the words “process”, “resilent”, “it’s fixable”, blah, blah, blah

falconsrus

December 10th, 2012
1:30 pm

We may now be Giant killers I’m up for it what say ye fellow Falcon fans?

Larry

December 10th, 2012
1:32 pm

Mr. Ledbetter,

Will you please ask one simple question of the Falcons?

“Where is the vertical passing game that was promised with the addition of Dirk Koetter?”

This team the past 4-5 weeks have looked totally Mularkian!

abby normal

December 10th, 2012
1:33 pm

Straight F’s across the board!! That’s worse than my fifth grade report card. Any player or coach who accepts a paycheck for that game should be wearing a mask because they are sure as hell stealing.

Season Ticket Holder

December 10th, 2012
1:39 pm

On Saturday, I received my playoff tickets invoice from the Falcons. The option are to buy tickets for all post season games or pay as they play. After yesterday’s performance, I will pass on the playoff tickets. Its beginning to look like one game and done!

True American Hero

December 10th, 2012
1:39 pm

You fans make me laugh. It is what it is. Let me ask you FALCONS FANS, do you really think they WANTED to lose to Carolina? Any given Sunday Folks. Any team can beat any team. Ask those Giants since they lost to um….Cincinnati, Dallas, and Philly. All games they should have won. So, it happens. We may not win the Super Bowl or even our first playoff game, but give the team their due, the play hard and try. I know, watched them fight Sunday, the other team was just better that particular day.

d

December 10th, 2012
1:41 pm

They played terrible. Could stand to get that starting secondary back and healthy. Looked worse than the 10 point loss that it was. 11-2 aint so bad compared to 5-8.

big fat F's across the board

December 10th, 2012
1:42 pm

The New York Football Giants are 3-3 in road games
coming to the Georgia Dome where the Falcons are 6-0.

I hope Coach Smitty has them ready this time.

insider

December 10th, 2012
1:45 pm

Meanwhile Bobby Petrino has been hired by Western Kentucky.

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
1:46 pm

Somebody could make a fortune starting up a company that sells “sized” brown kraft paper sacks.

Hey DLed, how bout a shout out to Robert McClain, led the team with 7 tackles and has really been playing huge.

dan

December 10th, 2012
1:48 pm

C’mon D-Led, you can’t be that surprised by this loss. The Panthers might not be good this year, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have talent on offense. Cam, Williams, Steve Smith, Greg Olson…those aren’t bad players. They’re certainly capable of pulling off a win over a good opponent, especially over a division foe who they know well. The Panthers usually play us tough, and yesteday they were just due. I remember years when we had bad teams, and they had good ones, we still won. Its the NFL,it happens. Its not something we need to make a habit out of, but its not something we need to over analyze to death either. We have weak spots, but so do the Giants,49ers, Packers, Bear etc. We’re in as good of shape as anyone else, so lets not get all Chicken Little just yet. Birds 11-2, Panthers 4-9. Moving on…

Dawglasville

December 10th, 2012
1:50 pm

F grade, absolutely.

That said, no team in the NFC has stepped up and seperated themselves. I doubt that the fans of other teams have the razor to the wrist like some of our fans do.

Whadda Ya Know?

December 10th, 2012
1:56 pm

The Falcons are led by a soft, controlling leader (Smitty). Take the reigns off this team and let the coordinators call the offense and defensive plays. This team has some serious issues that have been masked for too long during this season. The Panthers are only the beginning of this team’s exposed weaknesses. Coaching is a major problem and should receive a G for Get out of Town.

JB65

December 10th, 2012
1:57 pm

When the Falcons lose in the play-offs, Arthur Blank must ask himself this question: What’s next? He needs to determine whether Mike Smith should remain as head coach of the Falcons. The team hired two new coordinators (Nolan and Koetter), but the end result has remained the same. A lackluster offensive and a defense that plays inconsistently(partly due to injuries to key players).
If Mike returns next season, will the team improve, or remain the same(winning during the regular season, and later losing during the play-offs). Fans want nothing but the best for this team and the city, but is ….Mike Smith the best coach that can take this team to the Super Bowl and win it?

T

December 10th, 2012
1:58 pm

THEY GOT ROLLED

after further review

December 10th, 2012
2:01 pm

….. the Falcons do get an A+ for the 11-2 overall season.

Falcons 11-2 (two F’s)
49er’s 9-3-1 (three and a half F’s)
Packers 9-4 (four F’s)
Giants 8-5 (five F’s)

Me Too

December 10th, 2012
2:02 pm

I’m not sure Rogers got an F and I don’t think Turner gets any points for scoring the touchdown. It certainly wasn’t him who had anything to do with getting to the one yard line.

KBP

December 10th, 2012
2:02 pm

How is it that we are still so bad against the run?

How is it that our o-line is still below average?

If we play the Giants or the 49′ers in the 2nd round of the playoffs we are done if we can’t block them and at least slow down their running game. Would rather play Packers because they can’t run the ball. I’ll like our chances against them if they have to pass 50 times. A. Rodgers is not “on” like he was in 2010.

Turner is no longer a good fit for this offense. J Rodgers is not a 3-down back. He is not MJD or Ray Rice.

Dimitroff- Julio, Matt, Sean, were obvious picks. Get the good players who are not obvious. McClain is a good pickup but we need help on o-line, d-line, and running back. And yes, I have written this year off because I have no confidence in our run defense nor running game. We lose most of the time when Matt has to throw 50+ times.

Jamie

December 10th, 2012
2:04 pm

atlantaborn

December 10th, 2012
2:07 pm

WOW…11-2 and we have all of these negative comments….where are you fans from? This is a good team…..would you rather be 8-5 like the Giants, I just do not understand? Cam Newton had a good day and we had a two point conversion taken from us….could have made a difference…..

Jack Wood

December 10th, 2012
2:08 pm

I’ll be glad when the Falcons get some professional football players to fill offensive line positions. Matt Ryan is the most courageous man in football for even lining up behind our current imposters.

Starship 1

December 10th, 2012
2:10 pm

It’s really a variety of so many distractions that this team has lost it’s focus. We all want to see that “big” or “perfect” all around game from the Falcons-and we know that they are capable of it. We gotta stop it. Now-I enjoy D-Block just like the rest of them, but how about stop talking-period. Arther Blank need to put out a gag order until the tropgy is won and in their hands.

MaxxFalcon

December 10th, 2012
2:15 pm

Thank you atlantaborn. The same folks jumping off the bandwagon are the same folks who just jumped on. Who cares. Falcons obviously were not motivated to play yesterday, as Asante dressed and did not play. That should tell you everything. If the Falcons wanted this game badly, Asante and probably WillyMo would have played. This next game is a must-win, we could springboard into the playoffs with a good W Sunday

Samuel

December 10th, 2012
2:21 pm

I think this team wanted to make sure they are in the playoffs. Now that has happen, it seems the Falcons are taking plays off- until the playoffs. Way too many mental lapses from game to game. The giants will be a big test for this team. Mainly because they punked us in that last playoff game.

Peyton

December 10th, 2012
2:28 pm

That’s a sign of a great football team. When you can get all Fs at every position and still only lose by 10 on the road that is pretty impressive.

Buddy Landel

December 10th, 2012
2:29 pm

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
1:46 pm
Somebody could make a fortune starting up a company that sells “sized” brown kraft paper sacks.

Hey DLed, how bout a shout out to Robert McClain, led the team with 7 tackles and has really been playing huge.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
With the exception of Carolina’s last TD where he made a futile tackle attempt.

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
2:41 pm

Buddy Landel

December 10th, 2012
2:29 pm

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
1:46 pm
Somebody could make a fortune starting up a company that sells “sized” brown kraft paper sacks.

Hey DLed, how bout a shout out to Robert McClain, led the team with 7 tackles and has really been playing huge.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
With the exception of Carolina’s last TD where he made a futile tackle attempt

**********************************************************************

Led the team in tackles and boy what a speciman, I’d love for him to have his way with me.

Wabe

December 10th, 2012
2:42 pm

what happened to D3’s blog…

Wabe

December 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

did they remove it from the falcons homepage because it gets the most traffic?

don’t get the ajc…

ATL Observer

December 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

Everything about the first half of this game was awful. Carolina should be ashamed of themselves that they weren’t winning by 24 or greater at the half. I’m glad the Falcons lost and wish it had been by more: they needed this wakeup call. If they kept playing bad games and winning them, it would have lulled them into a false sense of security. I’d rather they get smacked in the mouth now.

The NUMBER ONE problem is the complete inability to stop the run. If this isn’t corrected, there’s very few teams in the playoffs that the Falcons will match up well against. Let’s see, potential opposing running backs/tandems in the playoffs: Gore/Hunter, Lynch, Bradshaw/Wilson, Forte, Peterson (dear LORD that would be a disaster), Murray/Jones, Morris with RGIII behind him and the one team that doesn’t have a standout back is Green Bay but they have a QB that can run with the best of them.

Are you nervous yet?

Ryan was horrible on third down; resorted to the checkdown on plays that couldn’t possibly make up the yardage. I’d rather see an absolutely horrible pass downfield serve as a punt to see that over and over.

Receivers were terrible. When Ryan pulls out the big pass that could have turned the game around, Roddy’s falling flat on his face. Several passes off of the hands. Even Tony looked out of it. It was either receivers open with Ryan making bad passes, or Ryan making a good pass and the receiver botching it.

I have no idea why they wait so long to turn to the no-huddle, unless it’s because they’re trying not to put too much on film, or whatever crazy logic is going into that. Their success rate is obviously higher on the hurryup.

Michael Turner’s run (and it was a good one) is OVER. I’m not incredibly peeved YET at the underutilization of Jacquizz but come playoff time, whomever becomes the hotter hand on gameday needs to be the one carrying the rock. And that will be Quizz.

The NYG game will be crucial: nothing after that is a guarantee.

Elvis is Alive (but not feeling to good my friend)

December 10th, 2012
2:54 pm

Sorry —-3 first downs from 19 attempts for the last two games.
Make that 4 for 19 in the last two games.
Thank you D’Led for the correct information.
Here is what we continue to hear!
Coach says we’re a proud team.
MR2 says we have to improve.
TG says we have to turn it around.
None of these comments show me any humility.
“Proud” of being soundly beaten in all three phases of the game.
“Improve” over the past few weeks..well..duh
“Turn it around” without a doubt TG
No comments about game planning, play selection, or failure to catch and run back punts.
How about saying our game plan was wrong, we didn’t tackle because we went for the ‘Showboat” pick 6. We really don’t have a run back specialist.
And how about acknowledging that this”Team” is not really as good as we all would hope..
Agreed “F’s” to everyone.
Releasing Ray Edwards was meant as a signal. To whom? The fans?
Or to take the heat off the coaching staff for being a complacent,unimaginative group of almost winners trying to fool the owner and the public.
Showing a spine when it comes to making personnel decisions about the first string should be a priority at this point in the season. First string, not the 25th player.
Because someone used to be the No. 1 does not guarantee future Pro Bowl appearances.
Any player, for whatever reason, may falter and when that happens they have to be demoted or released.
Feelings, empathy and favortism aside, this is the NFL, not a High School program where the coaches favorites play regardless of the statistics.
Winning is an attitude and a process. Losing may build character and an individuals desire to improve.
Winners never quit and Quitters never Win!
The storybook of the Falcons this season fits the dynamic of the Little Engine that could,”I think I can ,I think I can”..
A losing team effort is not one player or even two players, and from what I have seen we are in deep trouble.
Our future story appears to be ,”I thought we could”, if only we had this defense or this player playing better. Or better play calling or a myriad of excuses.
The last two games were absurd efforts from our professional football athletes and coaching staff.

The end is near .
The end is near.
***Esquire how about some lyrics for “the end is near”

The end is near
the Falcons make it clear
they play for the check
missed a (insert one) tackle,pass,kick
what the heck

Practice goes great
games tossed to fate
Players can’t wait
Coach’s bloviate

Off to vacation
Season is over
we” catch the playoffs
from the bar on the corner

The end is near
No need to wait
Upcoming draft
we’ll pontificate

Our team needs
this that a such
coulda won the BIG one
but we don’t want it much

The end is near
and we’ll all cry
when it’s over
and if you’re a betting man
Don’t take the over

Rise up..angry FANS..rise up

Hawes

December 10th, 2012
2:58 pm

I get the rhetorical point about giving everyone Fs, but do the receivers really deserve an F? It’s not their fault the OL can’t give Ryan enough time and the OC keeps calling Turner up the middle.

retired

December 10th, 2012
3:08 pm

Enter your comments here

KBP

December 10th, 2012
3:12 pm

@Atlantaborn . . . Carolina was a 3-9 team and with having 10 days to prepare for them I don’t understand how our Falcons with so much to play for played so badly on both sides of the ball. The truth is not always positive in real life and the truth concerning this 2012 team, which may be the most talented in Falcons history, is that yesterday they were terrible in all phases including coaching. A loss like this would not surprise most anyone in week 1-6 maybe, but in week 12? I was definitely surprised and disappointed. Still a diehard fan but I no longer have the same expectation heading into the playoffs because of how we lost. If we had not gotten DOMINATED on both sides of the ball but still lost the game then my expectations would not have changed. Right now, I just don’t think our D&O line play is good enough to win in the playoffs against the 49′ers, Giants, and maybe even the Seahawks. Those teams have stout lines and running games and we don’t. I would put our receivers and passing game up against any in the league but our D&O line play is our achilles heel. However as they say, you still have to play the games and our Falcons have a chance come 1:00 Sunday to get it done against the Giants.

d

December 10th, 2012
3:19 pm

If Elvis were alive, he’d ask you to never try rhyming again.

retired

December 10th, 2012
3:20 pm

Take a deep breath everybody, (especially the fire Mike Smith crowd) Let’s get ready for the Giants and see what next week brings us. By this time tomorrow we will at worst have the 2nd best record in the NFL if not tied for the best. EVERY team has days it lays an egg. AND we haven’t lost to anyone outside the NFC south. Bring on the Giants and go from there if they do to us what they did to the Aints all you bandwagon jumpers can have a field day. But if we beat the Giants all you A__holes better come on board with your tails between you legs BEGGGIN for mercy. Simple as that . ps last time we fired a winning coach we paid for it. Keep building MS and TD what we have is better than what we HAD so keep up the good work. Enough of all the critics who think they know it all. Yes we have issues so does every team. RISE UP FALCONS PUT TOGETHER THAT ELUSIVE COMPLETE GAME ……. REAL FANS (short for fanatics) are behind this team 100%.

okeetee

December 10th, 2012
3:22 pm

We got beat badly but I don’t think every facet of our team deserved an F! Ryan should get a C as should the receivers. Running backs deserved an F and also the defensive line. Coaching? THAT needed a big fat F! We don’t seem to understand the need to set up the run with the pass in a passing league in which we have 3 great receivers and decent pass protection! Look, we are 11-2 but clearly what we have been doing on offense the last month is not working to well! An interception down field 50 yards is just as good as a punt!

retired

December 10th, 2012
3:23 pm

though I do miss Harvey Dahl