There’s something about the Atlanta Falcons that can’t be trusted (speaking of Atlanta, another sports team that can’t be trusted: the Atlanta Braves were ousted in the divisional round of the MLB playoffs last night, something that franchise has grown accustomed to). I don’t know what the hell it is, but the “check engine” light for that team seems to always be on.
There’s no doubt about it that Matt Ryan is a bad motherfucker. Straight up. I’ll write it again: Matt Ryan is one bad motherfucker. I’ve known this since his college days at Boston College when, in 2007, he pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to beat the Hokies. He’s undoubtedly one hell of a quarterback that’s cold and calculating (for the fans of Ryan’s opposition), but he and the Falcons have faced a wall.
Last year, during the Falcons’ regular season that saw the team finish with a 13-3 record, many internet pundits said, “Yeah, great season, but they’ll choke in the playoffs”. After a first round bye, they hosted the Seattle Seahawks and, after wielding a 20-0 lead, rookie Russell Wilson led the Seahawks back to take the lead before Ryan led the Falcons up the field for a game winning field goal, narrowly avoiding a massive chokejob that would have marred Ryan’s career that much more given how his playoff failures date back to his rookie season and his third pro year). In the NFC title game, the Falcons again jumped out to be a big lead over the San Francisco 49ers (17-0) and ensuingly lost the game 28-24 after the Niners stormed a comeback.
This year, the Falcons waltzed into the season with a “Super Bowl or bust!” mentality, and rightfully so. They lost a barnburner to their divisional rival buddies, the New Orleans Saints, in the opening game (the Saints are currently 5-0) of the season, beat the youngest team in the league — the St. Louis Rams — at home by just 7 points in week two, and ensuingly lost close games to the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Last night, on the biggest [regular season] stage of them all, Monday Night Football, the hosted rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the New York Jets — at home! — and lost 30-28. Smith also threw for three touchdowns and zero picks, and the Falcons pass rush was virtually nonexistent (asides from Osi Umenyiora breaking through a time or two).
What excuses can I make to validate the Falcons’ struggles at a disappointing record of 1-4?
— Steven Jackson’s been out ever since he left the game against his former team, the Rams, and is set to return in two weeks (bye week coming up) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
— Roddy White’s hobblin’ around, and the bye week will be good for him to heal up.
— Offensive line plights.
— Defensive miscommunication; no pressure on opposing quarterbacks, poor coverage.
— Poor red zone execution.
One could pile a list that’s sky high.
I believe the team will get it together when they heal up. A fresh win against the Buccaneers after their upcoming bye week will ensure a solid rebound. If they lose that game, though, the season’s over and the Falcons are done for.