ATLANTA GA - DECEMBER 27: Robert Meachem #17 of the New Orleans Saints reaches for a pass as Atlanta Falcons defender Dunta Robinson #23 looks on in the first half during their game at the Georgia Dome on December 27 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
I'm completely drained.
The Falcons didn't play well enough to win this one. Period. You can blame penalties and ineptitude for that, as well as a Saints team that refused to give up. Mostly, it comes down to the Falcons not managing to put together even a decent offensive effort for four quarters.
But a close loss to the Saints is not the worst thing in the world, even if it feels like it right now. The Falcons have to recognize that their conservative, almost tentative offensive identity could be a problem in the playoffs. They also saw that a blitz-heavy defense can do wonderful things, so that's not a terrible lesson, either.
Beating the Panthers and locking up home field advantage would go a long way toward salving this particular wound. Let's get it done.
Do yourself a favor and ignore the ESPN talking heads. What matters now is what the Falcons do in the playoffs. Check back tomorrow for recap action. For now, discuss....and please keep the swearing and self-hatred to a minimum.