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We’re now seeing the Falcons - AJC


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by Mark Bradley for the AJC 

 

If you care about the Falcons, Sunday’s was a game that made you laugh — and maybe cry. They were without two of their biggest names. They were coming off a loss in which they didn’t manage a touchdown. They were home underdogs against an opponent fighting to make the playoffs. They won 43-6.

You laughed because this was among the Falcons’ finest performances of their post-Super Bowl seasons. You wept, or maybe you just shook your head, because … well, where has this been? In the any-given-Sunday NFL, why did this team squander so many Sundays that it’s operating under an interim coach and minus a general manager?

Two of the the highest-salaried Falcons were ruled inactive Sunday. Without Julio Jones and Todd Gurley, the Falcons blended a measured offensive plan with a defensive effort that rendered an above-average offense null and void. Twice this season, the Raiders’ Derek Carr has matched the incomparable Patrick Mahomes almost pass for pass. On this day, the same Carr resembled former Falcons backup Tony Graziani — known in franchise lore as “Deer-in-the-Headlights-Graziani” — in his utter ineptitude.

“If I were in another stadium and saw this score on the board,” announcer Kevin Harlan informed his CBS audience, just as Younghoe Koo was about to add the Falcons’ 40th point, “I’d be stunned.”

Lest we forget, these Falcons started 0-5. In the any-given-Sunday league, they managed to lose every given Sunday — until Arthur Blank had mercy on all concerned and fired Dan Quinn. They’re 4-2 since. Their first three victories under Raheem Morris came against teams that are below .500. The Raiders were 6-4. Now they’re 6-5, although this egregious defeat had to feel like three L’s rolled (or rollled) into one.
 

Over their past three games, the Raiders averaged 33 points. Against the league’s 29th-ranked defense, they were held to two field goals, one per half. On the season, the Raiders averaged 369.4 yards per game. They had 243 on Sunday — 122 in the first half, 121 in the second. They were overwhelmed — yes, overwhelmed — from start to finish. The Falcons induced five turnovers, four by Carr. He was sacked three times. He lost three fumbles and dealt a pick-6 to Deion Jones.

The only way the Falcons could win this game, or so we figured, was if their quarterback banished the memory of his Sunday in the Superdome and conjured a vintage Matt Ryan performance. Turned out Matty Ice needed only to be Matty the Game Manager. He passed for 185 yards, a season low. The Falcons managed but 304 yards, 77.9 below their average.

And yet: 43 to 6! See what can happen if you just do the basics — play defense, move the chains, make your field goals, fall on the ball when the other guy lets it slip? Forty-three points on a day when J. Jones and T. Gurley do nothing but watch, letting lesser lights like Brandon Powell and Christian Blake and Ito Smith do the lifting. See what can happen if you play smart, as opposed to the often out-of-control fast & furious ways of DQ?

Said Morris: “This is how games should end when you’ve got control of them.”

Yes indeed. Even the historically ham-handed Falcons had to strain to blow the Dallas and Chicago games, not to mention the one against Detroit, which happened under Morris. Flip two of those three losses and this team — this team of not inconsiderable talent, we stress — would be 6-5 and very much in playoff contention. We’re not saying these Falcons would have been in the class of the Steelers or Chiefs, but there was no way this team should have been in the conversation regarding Trevor Lawrence’s next home.

“We can be a great defense,” Deion Jones said. “We can be a great team.”

The Falcons stopped themselves from having a realistic chance to do anything of significance this season. They showed Sunday what can happen if they keep the pressure on an opponent and step aside as that opponent falls to pieces. They made a decent Raiders team look downright indecent. Even as the lead was mounting and we were starting to make jokes about how even the Falcons mightn’t be able to blow this game, they kept building on it. They built until Jon Gruden took pity on his addled quarterback and pulled Carr with 10 minutes remaining.

“Someone told me we’re 4-0 after we miss practices because of crazy circumstances,” Ryan said, meaning COVID-driven facility closures. In the final days of Quinn — sorry for belaboring this point, but the point does need making — this team seemed incapable of dealing with anything. Ergo, 0-5.

But under Morris, 4-2. This time it was Raiders who kept tripping themselves, turning first-and-goal from the 3 into second-and-goal from the 23, three times extending Falcons drives with roughing penalties – twice on Ryan, once on Koo after he finally missed a kick. Those three possessions culminated in 17 points. How much fun was it, just this once, to see to the other team doing all the silly stuff?

Yes, the Falcons would almost surely have to win out to have even a sniff at the playoffs, and that’s too much to ask. But it is heartening to see that we weren’t completely crazy in believing this team coulda/shoulda been a contender. A month ago, if someone had said a team would break 40 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Nov. 29, we’d never have guessed it would be the home side. But that just happened. Two or three more wins and it’ll be tough not to see what this team under Morris could do in 2021.
 

 

Edited by Goober Pyle
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Yet another example of this team playing their best when there’s no pressure on them whatsoever. Get these wins when there are expectations and I’ll be impressed. They never deliver til it’s too late. Watch the saints make us their b¡tch again next week. Beat the ******* saints and it’ll be worth celebrating 

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They need to bench M Ryan for the final 3 games unless we can legit play spoiler vs TB.  Even the same thing with Julio.  This season is over, so why keep playing our two best players in meaningless games?  Julio has been banged up since he has been in ATL and giving him the final games off will be more beneficial than trying to trout him out there and letting the nagging injuries pile up.  Same with Ryan, no reason to put him out there in a lost season just to get beat up on in the last few games.  Gurley is kinda different since this is only year with the falcons on the current contract, but he's been banged up too and should rest.  I know Ito and Hill are not the future at RB but you could give them some games as the starter and see if they can pull something out of their ***.  

Then we can get a higher draft pick as well, even though we just might lose those games anyway with Julio and Ryan.  I also don't want to hear about the higher draft picks are meaningless or don't equate to anything, yet why would every NFL rather have a higher draft pick than a lower one, if that were the case?

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5 hours ago, MoFalconsFan56 said:

Yet another example of this team playing their best when there’s no pressure on them whatsoever. Get these wins when there are expectations and I’ll be impressed. They never deliver til it’s too late. Watch the saints make us their b¡tch again next week. Beat the ******* saints and it’ll be worth celebrating 

Nah, it would be the most Falcon thing to do win next weekend convincingly and then lose horribly to San Diego and not win again until either Tampa or KC. 

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27 minutes ago, Ezekiel 25:17 said:

Nah, it would be the most Falcon thing to do win next weekend convincingly and the lose horribly to San Diego and not win again until either Tampa or KC. 

The history of making Ice and the team look bad is blitzing against Ice (especially up the middle) like the saints did. Why more teams don't use that game plan against us IDK?  Especially with the bad running game we've had under Quinn/Koetter to keep teams honest.  So any team any game is unpredictable in those terms.  If we don't some how sure up the pressure the saints but on us the last game look for a repeat beatdown.  The OL played well yesterday, but the Raiders DL is no where near what the saints DL is, so our OL has to be stellar for a chance to win.

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15 hours ago, kiwifalcon said:

Rocks or Diamonds nothing to be surprised about here.

Wasn’t surprised we won, these were two fairly evenly matched teams. What was surprising was the score, of course.

People forget, if not for 3 serious situational coaching blunders....3 situations the falcons almost had to try and lose...they’d be sitting at 7-4 right now. 

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36 minutes ago, NCFalconfan said:

I stand by my previous statement that Dan Quinn is the worst coach in franchise history. Nice guy, but should give up on football. Pisses me off that we didn't cut bait on him much sooner.

I think this is a tad unfair.  He was a .500 coach with three playoff wins and a SB appearance.  At worst, he is the Falcons 3rd best coach ever...which isn’t saying too much.  I’d put him at #2 behind Smitty

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8 minutes ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I think this is a tad unfair.  He was a .500 coach with three playoff wins and a SB appearance.  At worst, he is the Falcons 3rd best coach ever...which isn’t saying too much.  I’d put him at #2 behind Smitty

Isn’t that the saddest thing. Imagine if the dude never had KS too. 

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4 hours ago, dawgsjw said:

They need to bench M Ryan for the final 3 games unless we can legit play spoiler vs TB.  Even the same thing with Julio.  This season is over, so why keep playing our two best players in meaningless games?  Julio has been banged up since he has been in ATL and giving him the final games off will be more beneficial than trying to trout him out there and letting the nagging injuries pile up.  Same with Ryan, no reason to put him out there in a lost season just to get beat up on in the last few games.  Gurley is kinda different since this is only year with the falcons on the current contract, but he's been banged up too and should rest.  I know Ito and Hill are not the future at RB but you could give them some games as the starter and see if they can pull something out of their ***.  

Then we can get a higher draft pick as well, even though we just might lose those games anyway with Julio and Ryan.  I also don't want to hear about the higher draft picks are meaningless or don't equate to anything, yet why would every NFL rather have a higher draft pick than a lower one, if that were the case?

Honestly this is so true. Heck put Kurt out there! Would be fun to watch 

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6 hours ago, MoFalconsFan56 said:

Yet another example of this team playing their best when there’s no pressure on them whatsoever. Get these wins when there are expectations and I’ll be impressed. They never deliver til it’s too late. Watch the saints make us their b¡tch again next week. Beat the ******* saints and it’ll be worth celebrating 

No pressure? I'm not sure if you are up to date on the NFL, but there is always pressure to win, especially for the coaching staff. 

Such an absurd concept. 

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16 minutes ago, Shiney_McShine said:

No pressure? I'm not sure if you are up to date on the NFL, but there is always pressure to win, especially for the coaching staff. 

Such an absurd concept. 

Yeah a lot less pressure when you have no expectation to perform at the high level they should have. If you don’t get what I’m saying that’s on you. Must be new to this team lol they fail then when they’re practically eliminated they win. It’s not a hard concept to comprehend nor is it absurd but terrifyingly accurate. 
 

a lot more pressure when you have the offensive talent that we have at 0-0 than there is at 3-7 or now 4-7.  

Edited by MoFalconsFan56
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1 hour ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

I think this is a tad unfair.  He was a .500 coach with three playoff wins and a SB appearance.  At worst, he is the Falcons 3rd best coach ever...which isn’t saying too much.  I’d put him at #2 behind Smitty

I think we won in spite of him honestly. Mostly due to some guys that will be fitted for gold jackets one day on offense and some very talented assistant coaches on the offensive side. No surprise that this team got much better once we gave him das boot!

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5 hours ago, Ezekiel 25:17 said:

Nah, it would be the most Falcon thing to do win next weekend convincingly and then lose horribly to San Diego and not win again until either Tampa or KC. 

Nah...the most Falcon thing ever would be to lose our remaining games but beat the Chiefs in the same manner we just beat the Raiders. 

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29 minutes ago, Hard2BaBirdWachr said:

Nah...the most Falcon thing ever would be to lose our remaining games but beat the Chiefs in the same manner we just beat the Raiders. 

I am thinking you might be on to something there. 

I would have said, a Taint Win would have to happen too but then I thought, they aren’t playing with an NFL QB so that would be Falcony, indeed! 

But then again, winning Sunday and then against KC messes up our draft pick so that’s Falcony too! 

I am torn! :lol:

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