Stink, stank, stunk.
Even good teams have games like this—heck, the Saints almost blew it against the Rams—but this was a game that was painful across the board. The Panthers are a better team than they were last time we met, but there's no excuse for the way the Falcons repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. Overthrown interceptions by Matt Ryan, an inconsistent defensive effort and another crucial missed field goal by Jason Elam spelled D-O-O-M for our beloved Birds.
Is there a bright spot here? There was Michael Turner being Michael Turner, but now he's injured and it's tough to say how long he'll be out. The defense made zero big plays. Tony Gonzalez was very good again, so I guess he qualifies. I dunno. Right now all I see are little storm clouds hovering over my head. I'll have a better handle on it tomorrow.
For now, here's a few choice thoughts:
- Please, please, don't turn this into a witch hunt for Matt Ryan. Half the teams in the NFL would murder us all in our sleep to have a quarterback with this much promise. He was truly awful for long stretches of this game and something's way, way off, but it's not a permanent state. Give him some time.
- Without Turner, the Falcons either have to get Jerious Norwood healthy immediately or sign our speedy new acquisition off the practice squad. A little lightning with Snelling's thunder could save our bacon in the weeks ahead.
- Tye Hill and Brent Grimes could be switching all year. I'm not sure that's good news for the cohesiveness of this secondary.
- Jason Elam shouldn't be threatened or anything following this, either, but it might be time for a change. There are a couple of options on the free agent market to at least try out. It's not so much missing the kicks as missing such crucial ones, in my opinion.
- The divisional race just got a whole lot tighter. We're going to have to make some serious noise to hang in there and get that elusive winning season.