It may not have been the prettiest game in the world, but the Falcons did what they had to do to get back on track after a deflating overtime loss to the Saints. The Birds came out strong and appeared to be on the verge of putting the game away early on, but lapsed once again into a lull where they allowed a rookie quarterback to look like a superstar and make the game much closer than it should’ve been. All that being said, though, the Falcons did what it took to get a needed win over a decent opponent and put themselves back in the hunt for a playoff position. A look back at the game that was………
Sure, the Falcons didn’t make it easy on themselves, but they showed some serious backbone by getting this much needed win after a tough home loss. Yes, they were the better and more talented team and should have won, but lesser Falcons teams would lose games like this and essentially wreck the season.
They were up 20-3 and appeared to cruise to an easy win, when they let the foot off the gas yet again. They allowed the Titans to storm back and make the game very close with a rookie quarterback. They had plenty of mistakes in the 2nd half, but figured out a way to get the win. Credit to Coach Smith and the team for getting back on track, even if it wasn’t the best of games.
The Falcons started off the year doing fairly well when they got into the red zone, but have hit a proverbial wall for some reason. The Falcons are kicking way too many field goals when they get close to the endzone.
One of the reasons seems to be that they revert back to their same old predictable philosophy once they there. They go back to their old predictable run-heavy scheme that just doesn’t appear to be working. Often times, the Falcons are just too predictable when they drive down to score.
The Birds continued their excellence in shutting down the opponents running game. An argument could be made on why opposing teams would try to run when they can pass with ease, but that’s for another argument. The defense does an excellent job in shutting down the running game and held super-explosive Chris Johnson to 13 yards on 12 carries a week after holding the Saints to 41 yards total rushing. The Falcons defensive players and coaching staff deserve major kudos for their excellence in defending the run, regardless of who the running back and opponent are.
This has been discussed ad nauseam, but the Falcons are downright pathetic and predictable on 1st down. The running joke in the Dome is for fans to wager how different amounts on calling what’s coming on first down. It involves Matt Ryan taking the snap and handing the football off to Michael Turner where he runs directly into the middle of the line and either loses a few yards, barely gets back to the line of scrimmage, or manages to gain a measly yard.
The Falcons basically seem to just give up a play and like to challenge themselves to see how many times they can get a first down and continue drives while being at 2nd and 10 or worse. Maybe they don’t run that ultra-predictable play on first down ALL the time, but it sure feels like it. Would it kill Mularkey and Co. to try to mix it up just a little on 1st down?
Thomas Dimitroff has done an amazing job of revamping this roster and filling it with talent in his very short time as Atlanta’s general manager. One area that hasn’t had the best of hits has been the secondary. Several of Dimitroff’s secondary draft picks never made the roster (Wilrey Fontenot, William Middleton), are no longer with the team (Chevis Jackson), or have definitely performed very poorly on the whole (Chris Owens). These have been well-documented, but now questions are arising about Dimitroff’s other selections.
Once thought to be a potential future star, free safety Thomas DeCoud is starting to show major cracks in his game and questions are arising about his future as an Atlanta Falcon. DeCoud seems to get torched at least once a game for a big play or touchdown and even his tackling has become sub-par, allowing a Titan receiver to juke he and Chris Owens to the ground en route to a long touchdown play that put them right back in the game.
One of the seeming surefire picks in the secondary was CB Dominique Franks, who was thought of as a major steal in the 5th round. After a good preseason, Franks still can’t crack the lineup. Maybe its simply a product of a really terrible soft-zone scheme that would make any player look awful, but the secondary are running out of excuses. It says something that two new free agents (James Sanders and Kelvin Hayden) are two of the most consistent players in the secondary.
Those are the words of CBS announcer Dan Fouts describing the Falcons defense when they were playing rookie quarterback Jake Locker. This has been mentioned many times before, but the Falcons have an uncanny ability of making any type of quarterback look really good, whether it be a rookie who’s never played (Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker), an also ran backup (Tavaris Jackson), or one of the many superstar QB’s they play. Sure, the players probably deserve some of the blame, but the scheme makes fans want to scream.
The Birds showed their good old issues of allowing 3rd down conversions, including very long yardage. They are one of the lowest teams in terms of getting pressure on opposing QB’s and sacks and don’t seem that upset about it. Coach Smith has said that he doesn’t qualify success on defense in terms of sacks, but rather about “moving the QB off their spot.” Newsflash: good quarterbacks find a way to get rid of the ball if they are not on the ground. A title from the previous post was “talented and underachieving” and that seems to fit pretty well.
It was revealed that Matt Ryan called 45 of 50 plays out of the no-huddle attack and it obviously worked very well, resulting in 316 yards passing, 1 touchdown, and a 106 QB Rating. If this isn’t a disapproval of Mike Mularkey’s offensive play-calling, than its hard to imagine what is. Is this the writing on the wall for Mularkey in Atlanta?
Is this the first step for the Falcons going on a run to enter the playoff picture, or is this team simply too inconsistent to be considered for the playoffs? As of right now, the Falcons are right on the outside looking in regarding the playoffs. They are behind the Bears and Lions for the two wild card spots and tied with the Giants at 6-4 as the next best team. The schedule does set up favorably, but as mentioned before they don’t completely control their own destiny and have left themselves very little room for error.