I typed the following sentence before the game is over. Here goes: The Falcons are playing horrible offensive football right now.
This team is overflowing with talent and has some of the most respected coaches in the league on their sidelines. You're going to have miserable games during the course of an NFL season, but the worst games from the best teams tend to look merely mediocre. Against the Cardinals, the Falcons looked like the second coming of the three games the Tony Graziani-led 1996 Falcons suffered through.
Matt Ryan threw five picks. The ground game managed just 37 yards. Asante Samuel, Julio Jones and Harry Douglas all got banged up. Facing a dominant passing defense, the Falcons looked like a lost team. Mike Smith even got in on the fun, throwing a useless flag that negated a review. I think it was, considering all variables, the worst game the Falcons have played this year by a very wide margin. The only thing that saved them was a stellar defensive effort against a very weak Cardinals offense.
Earlier this week I urged you to be happy with these Falcons, because they were 8-1. The record is still something worth being proud of, but I'm not going to tell you to paste a smile on your face today and tomorrow. These Atlanta Falcons are going to get absolutely destroyed if they play at this level against a team with an actual offense, and we have to worry about, no matter how good 9-1 feels.
Walking off this field with a win is a minor miracle, however, and that's the part worth celebrating. The Falcons are virtual locks for the playoffs, which means the rest of the season provides a nice opportunity to work out the problems and morph into the world destroying squad we all know they can be. It has to start now.
Talk Falcons and late games here.