Well...that sucked. The mighty Vick bandwagon, which had piled up with eager fans over the last couple weeks, saw its wheels fly off, the cover blow into the Atlantic, and fans trampled under the oxen. Yes, it was not a good day to be a Falcons fan. So what went wrong?
On offense, the finger pointing starts with Vick, who evidently thought he wouldn't have to throw at all to beat the Lions. He looked indecisive in the pocket, skittish out of it, and couldn't seem to find that zip-touch he put on his throws the last couple weeks. Of course, it wasn't all Vick's fault by a large margin. The only two receivers I saw open all day were Crumpler and Jenkins. Lelie and especially Roddy White might as well have been in the locker room. Worse, those occasional glimpses of them open typically resulted in Vick throwing somewhere else. None of this might have been a problem if not for the running game, which has been quietly slipping the last few weeks and was basically a non-factor yesterday. Dunn had 51 yards and a TD on 11 carries...but the Falcons started hucking from the minute they were down, and thus Dunn did not get the carries he would have needed to establish himself. That's still a 4.6 YPC average, which isn't anything to sneeze at. Basically, this loss is on the shoulders of the coaching staff and the passing game, because the two were supporters yesterday before the wagon blew up.
The defense was also pretty sad yesterday. I wrote on Friday that the Falcons would need to stop Roy Williams, Kevin Jones, and Mike Furrey to be successful. They proceeded to stop none of them, and that was what killed us. Any time the Detroit Lions can hang 30 points and 435 yards on you, your defense has been very, very sad. DeAngelo Hall looked half stunned out there against Williams, a very talented deep threat, and Jones had a couple of nice waltzes into the end zone where the entire defense declined to dance with him. And worse still...well, I like Jon Kitna, but there's no way he should be able to put up 321 yards on us. I could cobble together a defense made of bloggers here at SBNation and we wouldn't allow 321 passing yards to Jon Kitna. At least if it wasn't lunchtime. But the defense has gradually gotten worse as time goes on, and it has to improve right the hell now, before the Browns pull something similar with Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards.
Special teams...you get a free pass today. You were by far the least to blame for this loss. Go ahead, get out of here. I don't want to look at any of you anymore.
Game MVP: Roy Williams
Game Theme Song: The Horror by RJD2
One Thing to Take Away: It might be a tad premature to tag Vick and this team for the playoffs. My bad.
Next Week: The Browns, who I am going to fearfully overestimate all week.
Final Word: Terrible loss for a team that looked very good the last two weeks. The offense and defense are going to have to show vast improvement next week before the tough stretch of schedule that includes the Ravens and the Saints. Let's hope they can do it.
Update [2006-11-6 11:53:24 by Dave the Falconer]: Just wanted to note that Kevin Mathis has regained all feeling in his limbs and may travel back to Atlanta today. Tremendous news, and a hat tip to Offical Falcons Page for that one.
Update [2006-11-6 19:52:29 by Dave the Falconer]: Kevin Mathis (randomly listed as both a CB and S, which is appropriate because he can play both) will be placed on injured reserve. No word yet on his replacement, but obviously creates a fairly significant depth problem in the secondary. I'll keep you posted.