Someone pointed out an interesting fact the other day: In 2011, the Falcons scored the second-most first quarter points in the league. 7.1 points per first quarter, to be exact. Put simply, they got after it in a hurry. As awesome as that is, they progressively fell in the rankings from there.
The Falcons scored the fifteenth-most second quarter points in the league, the seventeenth-most third quarter points in the league, and the nineteenth-most fourth quarter points in the league. Yikes.
What gives? To be honest, I think there's just one viable explanation. His name starts with Mu and ends with larkey. Mularkey! No surprise there.
Mularkey and conservative play calling go together like Dave and peach schnapps. Once we had the lead, he downshifted considerably. To an extent, that can be intelligent, pragmatic game management. But there's a fine line, and he undoubtedly crossed it. Ideally Koetter will be a different story. But how do you keep your foot on the pedal while also dominating time of possession?
The Falcons had the fifth-best time of possession average in both the first and second halves last year. That's a ranking we should look to hold onto, but that may be easier said than done. It's not simply a matter of throwing the ball more often. We threw the ball plenty in 2011. In fact, we threw the ball 37.3 times per game. Only the Giants (37.5 times per game), Pats (37.9 times per game), Lions (41.7 times per game), and Saints (42.7 times per game) threw the ball more often than we did. Meanwhile, we weren't even in the top ten for rushing attempts per game.
Look, I know we all think that Koetter can help us turn the corner. And I'm fairly optimistic that he will. But this isn't just about throwing the ball more. It's about maintaining an offensive presence throughout the game, while not giving up the time of possession advantage. We will still need to pound the rock. But best case scenario, Koetter will mix it up and the predictability will stop. Ideally, that won't detract from our time of possession.
As always, I'm curious what y'all think. Hit me with your thoughts.