Is this the 2013 NFL season or are we stuck in 2013 playoffs? The Falcons started their season almost exactly the way the ended it, yards short of victory. As will be discussed in this post, it’s only mile one in a long marathon, but fans are tiring of seeing the same mistakes pop up and cost the Falcons wins when they seem to as talented as any team in the NFL. The team from Flowery Branch might deserve a new nickname of “Schizophrenic Falcons,” where they predictably come out fairly strong, hit a lull, let the team back in the game, and when they realize they have to pull it together at the last moment, they do. And then the part comes where they fall short. Again, there’s a reason they call it “overreaction Monday,” where fans wait for 7 months to see their team play and a loss seems so crushing. The reality is that it’s a long season and even most of the recent Super Bowl Champions (Ravens, Giants x 2, Packers) didn’t even have that great of a regular season. But the Falcons have some major issues that need fixing if they want to accomplish the goals they aspire towards. To the loss that was………..
As mentioned above, it’s not the end of the world. Part of it is having the buildup of seven months, talking, researching, and discussing the season ad nauseum, especially the first game against your biggest rival. The truth is that it’s a very, very long season and there are surely tons twists and turns around the corner. There’s no big shame in losing a heavyweight fight against your biggest rival and playoff contender on the road with a chance to win the game at the very end. There was the issue of not having Asante Samuel, Stephen Nicholas, and very limited Roddy White, but the Saints had a ton of injuries as well. It was a game full of hype that the Saints desperately wanted to win in Sean Payton’s return. There were plenty of positives, as will be discussed later, and the sky isn’t falling yet.
No, the universe didn’t spontaneously combust after we lost the first game to the Saints, but it’s the same old crap that is getting the Falcons beat when they should’ve easily won. Stop if you’ve heard these before: poor offensive line play, no pass rush, weak tackling, mid-game lulls, key turnovers, dropped passes and potential interceptions, and of course the always favorite redzone choke-fests. Seminole Warrior called it a “disconnect” a long time back and our good friend was obviously onto something. It’s unfair and simply too easy to place all the blame on the head coach, so this net is a wide one, including the General Manager’s massive failure to address either of the lines. The Falcons don’t have the roughest part of their schedule directly next, but it ain’t that easy either. Can someone, anyone at least try to get these issues fixed.
Obviously, this isn’t the biggest issue in the world, but Mike Smith has had a fetish for “getting the ball” first regardless of playing at home, the opponent across the field, or any other factor. It’s just one belief of course and it supposedly has merit on getting rhythm and points first, and thus being able to pin your ears back on defense. Well, the downside is that if you go three and out, especially on the road in a hyped environment, it’s a major lose-lose. The crowd gets even more into it and you don’t have the chance to get the ball in the second half as a potential safety valve. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense at all, particularly on the road. Sure enough, the Falcons went 3 and out, the crowd got even more hype, and the Falcons missed a big chance at a momentum shift and crucial possessions.
When news came across that Asante Samuel wasn’t suiting up, fans immediately started to panic about the young cornerbacks playing against one of the best quarterbacks and receiving corps in the NFL. Well, they stood tall and played lights out for the most part. Desmond Trufant, Robert McClain, and Robert Alford all played really well overall, especially considering the lack of pass rush. All three were tested early, often, and on deep passes All three had some big deflections on the Saints best receivers. It wasn’t all perfect by any means, but it was a superb effort that should only build confidence going forward, and it’s a great preview (hopefully) of what the Falcons cornerback corps will look in the future.
Failure on All Levels on Offensive Line
Ryan Played Well, Considering
Red Zone Choke Artists
Defense Played Well Enough to Win
Same Old Issues @ LB, Lack of Pass Rush
SJax Looked Good, with Limited Carries
That Old Familiar Lull
Overreaction or Just More Proof?
Rest of post coming very soon……