First off, ESPN.com has a story complete with a lenghty apology from Vick, which certainly sounds sincere enough. I'm willing to believe this is a mistake and let it go; it's just that the mistake came at such a bad time. The Falcons got their butts whupped yesterday, and Vick's finger added insult to injury in a very literal sense. So what went wrong?
Let's start with the offense. Vick misfired a few times through the air, but his main problem was decision making in the pocket. He was mostly fine rolling out of the pocket, but whenever he was in there and the rush hit him, he'd try to escape and end up moving another 5 yards backwards. That was a drive killer all day. Dunn was unusually ineffective, sparking concerns that he might be wearing down. Norwood was moderately effective, but he'll need Dunn spelling him for his awesome speed to really have an impact on a game. And the receivers were just inexcusably bad. Alge Crumpler didn't have a great game, either, and you could see the frustration coming off him in angry waves. After Roddy White's drop, I thought his head would pop right off his shoulders like a helmeted rocket. At times it was difficult to separate the poor play calling from the poor decision making, especially on the little dump pass late in the game that ended up with a net gain of minus two yards. Whatever led to that, it's inexcusable. The Saints defense had less to do with this game than the Falcons offense, and that's the sad truth of it.
On the defensive side...well, it's not any prettier, that's for sure. The rush defense wasn't great and Abraham was basically a non-factor, but what really killed the Falcons yesterday was coverage. The fact that Copper managed to catch a Hail Mary in triple coverage on a play where the defense was specifically designed to stop a Hail Mary...well, that's terrible. I'm also not to fond of any defenses which require any available secondary members to be standing 10 yards away from a play as it develops, especially when it happens more than once. I knew coming into this game that the Saints would be looking to pass often, but I didn't expect the defense to lay down and shovel dirt all over themselves quite so badly. Brees was pretty sharp all game, moved around in the pocket well, and made some excellent throws...and we just didn't stop it. That's a fact. The Saints beat us at the beginning of the game and at the end, and when they were ready to go, we had no defenses left to stop them. And so it comes back to coaching.
I've been very hesitant to blame Donatell with all the injuries to his unit, but yesterday he was quite simply outcoached. His personnel never seemed to be in the place they needed to be, and at some point you can't assume that's entirely their fault. The players were frequently terrible yesterday, but this team has been a poorly planned one for a month now, and it's not showing signs of getting better with personnel changes. As much as I hate to say it, Knapp and Donatell aren't likely to survive this year. If they don't survive, Mora's not likely to either, and that's a shame. But letting this downright unsettling coaching job to continue would be a bigger shame still.
Bring on the Redskins, because of there is another team with a talented roster playing below their potential and a coaching staff making mistakes, it's them.
Game MVP: Drew Brees, with another great performance that deserves accolades.
Game Theme Song: Hold On- Gift of Gab
One Thing to Take Away: This season is rapidly becoming a tragedy. In that case, Arthur Blank is Henry VIII and the coaching staff are his wives (i.e., lots of heads rolling at the end of this season).
Next Week: The Redskins, fresh off a stunning victory against the Panthers. Falcons will need to come ready to play against the Juggernaut That Is Jason Campbell.
Final Word: The Falcons are not a very good team right now. Immediate improvement across the board is the only way to salvage the season, but at least this butt kicking came at the hands of a superior opponent.