I'm honestly struggling to find the words right now.
I knew this game would be tough. I knew it would probably not be an festival of offensive fireworks, given the strength of both defenses. What I did not suspect—what I could not suspect—was that the Falcons would deliver an abjectly embarrassing offensive performance, one that doomed them to a loss despite largely excellent defense. Given the way the offense had come together in recent weeks, this was truly a shock to the system.
What's awfully, painfully clear at this point in the season is that the Falcons are unlikely to make a deep run this season, even if they manage to make the playoffs. They are getting relatively little from Julio Jones, who was supposed to be the big play spark the offense needed right out of the gate, and the offense is maddeningly inconsistent. That's not to say that I don't expect Jones to be amazing in the future, or for the offense to get back into a groove. But until they can bring the heat week-in and week-out, the defense alone isn't going to be enough to carry them.
I love this team to death and will continue to do so no matter what happens over the next several weeks. All season long, I've been guided by the idea that these Falcons would improve and dash into the post-season, and the last several weeks bore that out. Ultimately, that's why this game sucked so badly. It was watching a team sharply regress against quality competition, and that's something none of us want to stomach.
But we'll talk about this much more tomorrow, unfortunately. Use this to discuss the game—remember, no game threads, no swearing—and the games ahead today. My recap will land at 7:30 a.m. sharp.