It’s a win. That’s about all fans can say after this one. If ugly wins are still wins, than this has to be one of the ugliest the Falcons have played in a long time. As will be mentioned in the post, the Falcons had 7 takeaways and needed a last second tipped pass on a failed two point conversion to win the game. The Falcons found a team that was as bad or worse than them and barely managed to beat them. Problem is, one of the teams had it’s backup quarterback and the other did not. The Falcons sit at 4-10 and have two more games before this season comes to it’s merciful end. A look at the bad game that was.
Injuries, injuries, injuries. That’s why the Falcons are playing so bad right now, correct? It’s true that the Falcons have had their share of injuries throughout the year, but trying to chalk up the entire season’s collapse to a handful of injuries is just a flat lie. The Falcons have gradually been getting back players to health and they’re playing worse by the game. The offense is atrocious and the defense yields yards by the mile and makes any rookie, backup, or even third string quarterback look as though they’re destined for an enshrinement in Canton. Yes, they won. But this team is showing no signs of of the one that came so close to the Super Bowl. In fact, they’re literally one of the worst teams in the NFL and barely beat a team in turmoil absent it’s best player and a head coach likely on the way out the door.
Also, there doesn’t seem to be much of hope of the Falcons getting their winning ways back regardless of how many players they get back to full health. It feels as though this coaching team, their philosophy, and strategies have been figured out and there’s nothing left in the well. Arthur Blank made the statement a while ago that Mike Smith would return and injuries were a large part of it. Judging by the half-empty Georgia Dome and the mostly empty tailgating parking lots, that’s a little bit of a risk in 2014. As will be discussed in the post, there’s so much wrong with this team that it’s becoming more and more pessimistic that a high draft pick and a few off-season moves can fix what ails these Falcons. Maybe they can get right back to their winning ways, but that seems like a high mountain to climb at this point in time.
Much of it can be attributed to a really bad season and not the best weather in the world on Sunday (biting wind and really cold conditions), but have fans lost confidence in their Falcons? Many fans in the Dome obviously aren’t happy, but there always seemed to be a steady hope that things would get better. Finding those fans full of optimism are pretty few and far between at this point in time. The Georgia Dome was half full during the peak time of the game and the Redskins fans were heard over most of the Falcons fans throughout the game. Much of the feeling inside felt more like attending the game was more of a chore or having to finish a really bad movie, more so than it being a fun-filled event. As mentioned earlier, maybe the confidence, enjoyment, and attendance will return in 2014 with the dawn of a new season, but Atlanta’s known for having some fickle fans at times.
The Falcons have to be the worst in the NFL in the red zone. They cannot get into the endzone to save their lives. They seem as though they’re just going through the motions of pretending to get into the endzone so they can do what they really want, which is settle for a field goal. They failed on 4th and 1 and multiple 3rd and goals. This has been an issue all year long and there seems to be no improvement in sight. The only creativity they have is to bring in an extra offensive linemen and hope that it helps. There’s not much imagination or creativity at all in the red zone. Of all the issues the Falcons have, this ranks as one of the worst.
Fans are expecting changes in the off-season, but the fear at this point is that there’s simply too many issues to fix in one draft and one off-season. Their defense hemorrhages yards and points to any offense they face, regardless of how talented they are. The offense has become so stale that it has seemed to run out of ideas. Where and how will the Falcons go about fixing the offensive line? Justin Blalock is the only player that seems set at any of the five positions, and all the rest are completely unsettled. The Falcons can’t stop the run. They can’t run the ball. They often have a hard time defending the pass and of course the pass rush is close to non-existent (it’s a new problem for sure). They can’t close out games. They can’t hold leads. They are undisciplined with tons of penalties, blown assignments, and mental mistakes. This could be a self-reinforcing sense of doom and gloom that has gotten blown out of proportion with a really terrible year, but it doesn’t feel that way right now.