Falcons hang on but there are reasons to be concerned

If the Falcons had a hard time chasing Tarvaris Jackson around, what's Aaron Rodgers going to do to them. (AP photo)

The Falcons had a hard time stopping Tarvaris Jackson. What will Aaron Rodgers do to them?

SEATTLE – Power rankings don’t count for much in the NFL. So the Falcons need not worry about perceptions that their defense is a mess, their offense remains prone to hiccups and, worst of all, they just made Tarvaris Jackson look like Aaron Rodgers, which was believed to be scientifically impossible.

Also, it’s not well-timed, considering the real Aaron Rodgers returns the scene of his destruction next week. They can pray for an implausible personality switch and hope Rodgers, in warped symmetry, looks more like the typical Jackson next Sunday, but I wouldn’t count on it.

“We’ve got some problems to work out,” linebacker Mike Peterson said. “You don’t see us high-fiving each other.”

The Falcons won a game on Sunday, 30-28. Because the NFL is a league of bottom-line results, they can take comfort in that and not be concerned about a collective eye-roll from team officials after the game and fans and media thinking and saying in unison, “Yech.” But when a team gets dominated by one of the league’s worst franchises in the second half, and is outscored 21-3 down the stretch, and escapes with a win in part because the opposing coach mismanaged his time-outs, there is little cause for celebration.

Not that 2-2 would be much reason to celebrate anyway. If Jackson throws for 319 yards and three touchdowns, what’s Rodgers going to do?

Coach Mike Smith said, “We were very fortunate to come out with a win.”

The Falcons get credit for that. They won a road game, the week after getting beat up in Tampa Bay. They had scored just one offensive touchdown in their first two road games. But against Seattle, they found the end zone on their opening drive and three of their first four. Then the offense fizzled. But 30 points should be enough to win a game, especially against the NFL’s 31st ranked offense. Seattle coach Pete Carroll has found life significantly more difficult without Oregon State on the schedule, and it’s fair to say that acquiring superior talent is easier at USC than it is in a relative NFL outpost.

So what happened? It was like the team suffered a collective lull. It doesn’t project well for the rest of the season and certainly for the next three games before the bye: Green Bay, Carolina and Detroit (road).

“We’ve got to be able to finish off a game like this,” said defensive end John Abraham. “It shouldn’t have been close. We should’ve been more comfortable at the end of the game.”

Comfort is non-existent right now.

Seriously. Tarvaris Jackson?

He threw for 319 yards. That’s a career high. He threw three touchdown passes. He had only accomplished that feat once in 37 previous games. He wasn’t sacked and barely touched. There also was the eight-yard touchdown he threw to Ben Obomanu on third down when somebody simply forgot to cover the receiver.

Smith: “Yes, there was a mix-up.”

Jackson was sorry to see the Falcons leave town.

Trailing 27-7, the Seahawks scored touchdowns in three of their five second-half possessions. These were the exceptions: 1) An interception that could’ve easily been a TD. Jackson passed to Zach Miller in the end zone, but the ball was jarred loose by James Sanders and fell into the hands of Thomas DeCoud; 2) A missed 61-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds remaining. The Seahawks might’ve been able to drive further than the Falcons’ 43 for a shorter attempt, but they had little time to operate because Carroll had burned two timeouts early in the half (one when realizing they had 12 players on the field, the other when he didn’t like the defense).

Four games in, the Falcons aren’t nearly operating at the level they were a year ago (when they were 3-1 with only an overtime loss at Pittsburgh). There was progress Sunday in pass protection and the offense. Defensively, they’re not even close. As Peterson said, “It’s not one thing.  One guy here makes a mistake. One guy there makes a mistake. Next thing you know, five guys are making mistakes. Everybody’s taking a turn.”

Team work is good. Not like this. Even if a win is a win, this one doesn’t project well.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

340 comments Add your comment

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October 2nd, 2011
9:44 pm

Once Recent Reader

October 2nd, 2011
9:44 pm

Just remember . .. .we are not 1-3 , we are not 1-3 . . . :)

AD

October 2nd, 2011
9:46 pm

Its shameful that we made Tjax look like brady out there. Since when did we switch out Dunta Robinson for 2007 Chris Houston?

Big Whoops Falcons Fan

October 2nd, 2011
9:46 pm

Turner tip-toes to the line, like a pansy attempting to be a burglar. White drops easily catchable passes. Ryan overthrows receivers by 10 yards. The punter would have a hard time making the Roswell High School team. This team has no heart. Too bad the No. 1 pick we traded away for Julio Jones will end up being the 13th or 14th pick in the entire NFL draft next year. We’ll be lucky to finish 8-8.

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
9:47 pm

No, it does not project well, but I am not familiar with the trophies that go to the team that “projects” the best after the first week of October. Remember the Glanville 4-0 start back in whenever? Or maybe the 6-2 start in 2005? Yea, me too.

douchelymite

October 2nd, 2011
9:47 pm

I’m trying to find an intelligent thought to post on here

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
9:48 pm

I know this, it ain’t gonna be easy.

mumbles

October 2nd, 2011
9:50 pm

It’s still a win —how profound

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
9:50 pm

If the refs hadn’t given Seattle a free timeout with 41 seconds left, they’d have never gotten as close as they did. Ryan was hit so much in the frist half, I think they were just trying to survive in the 2nd half, and they did.

Angus

October 2nd, 2011
9:51 pm

mumbles

October 2nd, 2011
9:52 pm

did’nt J Jones have 127 yards and a touch ?

HawksFanNorcross

October 2nd, 2011
9:52 pm

WHERE THE HELL IS THE PASS RUSH. MIA

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
9:52 pm

Edwards makes a nice tip, ball goes into the running backs hands. Would been game over right there. One team this D has done is make a play or two. Luck tends to even out.

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
9:53 pm

They’re still not as bad as Philly.

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
9:55 pm

We’ll beat Green Bay next week. You laugh now, but we’re a totally different team at home.

Hate Falcons GM

October 2nd, 2011
9:55 pm

Green Bay’s gonna DESTROY us on national TV

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
9:57 pm

I’d rather be lucky than good

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
9:57 pm

No heath, they are not as bad as philly. Nor is our QB quitting, Philly is becoming unraveled. It is a shame, because I respect Andy Reid.

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
9:58 pm

Get ready for the “experts” to go with the Packers this week. All we’re going to hear is how great the Packers are and how the Falcons have now chance, but I’m telling you now, we’re going to beat the Packers next weekend.

Sly Boarders

October 2nd, 2011
9:58 pm

If being a Falcons fan has taught me anything, it’s that one week never projects to the next. A win is a win- and if you can handle business at home and win half your road games, you’re 12-4. They looked better than they did last week-keep at it fellas! GO FALCONS!

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
9:58 pm

We are won dropped pass from being 3-1. So what? You know what they say about ifs and buts.

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
9:58 pm

3 of 4 on the road to start the season, starting off 2-2 ain’t as bad as it seems.

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
9:59 pm

One dropped pass. Gotta start watching what I type.

day old fries

October 2nd, 2011
9:59 pm

i heart pathetic W’s

Eric C.

October 2nd, 2011
10:00 pm

Jeff,

1) Last year, the team easily could have been 1-3 if not for a missed FG and a fumbled interception return. I’ll take 2-2 after three road games and three games against playoff teams from last year.

2) After watching the Braves complete an epic collapse, kudos to the Falcons for avoiding their own epic collapse.

3) The Packers can win 100-0 next week and the record will be 2-3…that is a heck of a lot better than 1-4.

4) I know there are problems, but look at the Eagles and Cowboys who didn’t manage to hang on, the Falcons just need to weather this storm and potentially reach the bye at 4-3. After that…who knows but I’m tired of worrying about the underachievements of my favorite teams, just enjoy the win for now.

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
10:00 pm

Sly, Exactly. Today was a trap game, traveling across the country playing a desperate team. Next week should be fun.

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
10:01 pm

I don’t care if it was pathetic. A win is a win no matter how you slice it. Winning by 50 or winning by 2 doesn’t make one big of difference in the race to the playoffs. You think down the road they are going to let a team in over us because they beat a team by 50 and we beat them by 2? No I don’t think so. That ain’t how it works. JUST WIN

NJ Dawg

October 2nd, 2011
10:01 pm

The Falcons aren’t gonna beat too many opponents behind that O-line. I think the rest of the team is playoff caliber, but clearly not Super Bowl-caliber. But with that O-line, we’re looking at 8-8 or 9-7 at best.

The defense is definitely struggling, too, but they’d be less-exposed if the Falcons could sustain more drives.

ATL native

October 2nd, 2011
10:01 pm

The reason the defense makes EVERY opposing QB look great is because almost ALWAYS play a soft zone. As usual, there were too many missed routes that ended up allowing wide open receivers – like the TD where Robinson jumped on the inside route and let the outside man go free. BVG does not have these players ready. It’s time for TD to step in and make some whole sale coaching changes. The ONLY constant on this team in the last 3+ years is the coaching staff – not the players.

TheSmooth

October 2nd, 2011
10:01 pm

You idiots in here are worried about Philly and M. Vick. You all should be concerned about the trash that was playing Seattle today.

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
10:01 pm

Right, Eric. If you lose this game, you are Dallas. Not losing it is a good thing.

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
10:01 pm

Right, Eric. If you lose this game, you are Dallas. Not losing it is a good thing.

Woe is Me

October 2nd, 2011
10:03 pm

I am both a Gamecock fan and a Falcons fan. God help me.

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
10:03 pm

Seattle is tough at home. Ask New Orleans.

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
10:04 pm

You play the game to win. Win, win, win. It’s the good teams that find ways to win. The name of the game is WIN, you play the game to WIN…question…if we won the Super Bowl by 3 points would people be like “Oh but we won it by 3 points when we should have won by 21!” No I don’t think so. We WON the thing. Just win baby.

Joseph Allen McWhorter

October 2nd, 2011
10:04 pm

That Green Bay game next Sunday night really concerns me. I just hope the Packers don’t come into the Georgia Dome and embarass the Falcons like they did in that playoff game last January. Maybe still thinking about that should really fire the Falcons up. Let’s hope so.

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
10:04 pm

We are not worried about Vick or the Eagles, we sent them packing. I do relish the fact that Vick is turning out to be what I thought he was, a quitter. Today, it was a W, but I do not worry about us being overconfident next week.

Ha

October 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

Philly is experiencing the Vick we saw in last two seasons in Atlanta 8-8, 7-9. Excitement but lose a lot of games

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

I mean we could have actually blown the lead like Dallas or Philly did. Or could have just got beaten up like the Saints did in Seattle. The Saints are the only team in the NFC South that went “Sleepless in Seattle” hahaha

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

If you remember, we also beat Green Bay earlier last year. Green Bay just jelled, hopefully, they will un-jell next week, lol.

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
10:06 pm

And he’s being childish like he always does when things go bad. Philthy deserves him,

Birrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd Man

October 2nd, 2011
10:06 pm

Still, no pass rush. Pathetic.

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
10:08 pm

Actually, biggest concern of today was the lack of pass rush. I don’t know if it was designed to keep TJ in the pocket, but we got to do better.

Heath

October 2nd, 2011
10:08 pm

Samuel L. Jackson will be there next week on the 50 next week to get Atlanta to Rise Up and “Get these MF Packers off this MF field!”

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
10:09 pm

The Packers are in for a rude awakening next weekend.

Falcons 31 Packers 18

Whaw!

October 2nd, 2011
10:10 pm

Packers will be too confident coming into the game next weekend and Atlanta will look for revenge. I think we will win big vs. GB. 31-18 like I said. Maybe worse. The Packers can’t stop the pass and Turner will rush for over 100 yards. Rodgers will get his yards and they’ll get ahead early but we’ll win.

Eddie In Acworth

October 2nd, 2011
10:11 pm

TJ
What game did you watch today? The line was great compared to last week….didnt allow one sack and kept Matt pretty clean. Running game was better too.

But team is too schizo. Offense decent enuff to win today, but defense stunk. Last week, offense stunk and def played good enuff to win. Shore it up, as rest of nfl is laughing at us and Peter King.

Ha

October 2nd, 2011
10:12 pm

On last touchdown Tavares could have had a sandwich, he had so much time. Oline and Dline are abysmal. Ryan will not survive. In next few games he will be knocked out with an injury.

Far_East

October 2nd, 2011
10:15 pm

Our defense makes Pro-Bowl QBs!!!! Everyone in the league knows our scheme, or lack thereof. This was exposed by Green Bay in the playoffs last year and this year it’s being amplified even more. I’m surprised that the Falcons leadership has not made a move to get this corrected; we cannot expect to win against Brees and Rogers if Tavaris Jackson can shred our defense for 319 yards.

Still a Falcon fan though. Go Falcons!!!

Mr Charlie

October 2nd, 2011
10:16 pm

Will the Pack go 19-0? I doubt it. Will next week be the week they lose? Could be.