Yes, even Matt Ryan can Herp Derp a ball away every now and again. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
I'd like to quote the Shirelles, who were the first ever girl pop group to reach number 1 on the Billboard Top 100. It's old music, but the message is perfectly applicable in this situation.
Yesterday, we had the chance to show everyone we were who they thought we were. We didn't. We picked up just where we left off in the playoffs: bumbling, fumbling, shambling, failing.
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- John Abraham absolutely lived up to his nickname
- Kroy Biermann isn't letting the off-field "stuff" distract him. He pulled another "Delhomme special" today and gave us our only TD (Cripes, did I just write that?).
- Michael Turner was, outside of one play, fantastic. Age and carries haven't seemed to totally diminish his ability as a marquee back.
- Sean Weatherspoon and Curtis Lofton treated the Chicago backfield like their own personal front porch.
- Roddy White was double covered and still managed to make impressive catches when Ryan stayed upright long enough to toss one his way.
- How badly did we miss McClure (and possibly Dahl)? Very, very badly. You can have all the offensive weapons in the world but if two thirds of the OL can't stop a three or four man rush, your offensive weapons turn into really, really expensive garden gnomes.
- I saw Ray Edwards get tripped up by a rolling block. Instead of stepping over the rolling lineman, he slowed and seemed to let the man roll into his legs. On another play, it looked like he simply gave up trying as Abe relentlessly drove after Jay Cutler. That's not the level of play the Falcons paid for.
- Matt Bosher is not going to be a Falcon for long if he A) can't punt the ball more than 30 yards and B) can't manage get touchbacks in a league that now seems fixated on kicking the ball out of the endzone on every kickoff.
- I'm not going to harp on the secondary as much as I would like, mostly because they were on the field a total of six or seven minutes longer than the offense (in perspective, one single play usually lasts about five seconds). But outside of a couple of Grimes deflections (and DeCoud's subsequent failed tip-catches) they looked horrendous. Dunta Robinson looked like he was flat robbing the Falcons for as much as they paid for him. Chris Owens was about as effective as a rubber ducky in a gun fight. Must. Be. Fixed.
- Basic fundamentals should be the focus of practice this week. Fumbles, missed tackles, horrendous zone coverage, and special teams that were certainly "special" in some unexpected ways. That was not Falcons football on Soldier Field Sunday.
- Playcalling. Really, Mularkey? With Julio Jones, Harry Douglas, Roddy White, Michael Turner, Gonzo, and even Quizz Rodgers, all you can come up with is Slants, Up-the-Gut, and HB-Draw? REALLY? I know Matt didn't have enough time to really throw the ball a long ways down the field but hardly any of your routes even made it past the first down marker.
- Matt Ryan checked down to Jason Snelling so many times it seemed as if Snelling was the only thing he saw out there.
- The Final Score. Anyway you slice it, this was not how we wanted our 2011 debut to go. Still, it was a road game against a playoff-caliber opponent and the Bears' defense is always stout. We just got out coached, out played, out manned.
The Bright Side
- The pressure is off. We don't look like the team the pundits claimed we were. Good. We needed a wakeup call. Let's hope we come out swinging when the Eagles come to town. We're going to need to land some heavy blows.