Well, Christmas is over. I hope it was as fun for all of you as it was for me, and I hope you're ready to be dragged kicking and screaming into the dark abyss the Falcons' season has become. I know I am.
So where to start? The Falcons played a savagely pathetic game, one that almost certainly ensured mass firings among the coaching staff. The fact that Vick isn't even bothering to avoid blaming the coaching staff certainly isn't going to help them. It was nice to see him become the first QB ever with 1,000 rushing yards, but this time you could tell the record didn't really matter to him. To wit:
"You just can't come out there and just try to wing it. I'm not saying that we did that, but either we've got to come out and throw the football or come out and try to establish the run."
Notice how cleanly he steps around blaming the coaching staff. Vick is no malcontent, no sirree. But here's the thing: for the complete and utter lack of execution by virtually everyone, I still blame Mora and Co. for this one. It's basically become too easy to point that unsteady finger at Mora, Knapp, and even poor Donatell, who I've come to realize has no idea his defense has speed. If you gave him 11 men made out of bricks, he could craft you the perfect defense. Alas, it is not to be so.
Specifically, Donatell screwed the pooch on run defense. You guys can pursue and blitz, Ed, so it's probably fair to say that you can use them to do both of those things. Instead, the Panthers--the friggin' Panthers!--ran all over us. The Panthers are not a horrible rushing team, but they had been ineffective all year. The Falcons ostensibly have a good run defense, but instead they seemed repeatedly unprepared when the Panthers pounded the ball, which was a problem because that's basically all the Panthers did. Weinke threw a bullshit one yard TD pass, which was the nail in the coffin. I'm not ready to blame the defense for expecting the run instead of a pass to Jeff "I Don't Even Know Who the Hell I Am" King. I do blame the defense for not having the skills or the coaching to stop the run 750 straight times, though, and I think we're looking at some changes next year as a result.
And the offense? Horrible. For some reason, the Falcons decided not to answer with runs of their own and let Vick throw 20 passes, a lot of them with the traditional dropback attached to them. The result was 9 completions and an interception. Weee. Dunn was also minimally effective, with 9 carries for 29 yards. Norwood had 5 for 20. I guess what I'm trying to say is, every aspect of the offense sucked on Sunday, and I wasn't pleased with the effort to make adjustments (hint: there were none). As much as I've become a Vick defender over the course of the year, there was no excuse for some of the dumb throws he made, either. The interception was just about as ill-advised a pass as you can possibly make, and I've seen Dave Brown play what some might call "football". It was more or less the worst offensive performance of the year, and it couldn't have come at a worst time.
So now how does the playoff picture shake out? Let's put it this way: the Falcons need to beat the blue hot Eagles and then get massive amounts of help from the rest of the NFC. Given how the NFC likes to screw with the Falcons, I don't know if this is going to happen. Even if the Falcons do win and squeeze into the playoffs, it's going to be difficult for Mora to keep his job. Basically, if you'd like to wish really, really hard that the Falcons would win, you can join me in staring up at the sky and waiting for a shooting star. It may be our only hope after all.
Game MVP: The Carolina running game.
Theme Song: Too Late- Talib Kweli
One Thing To Take Away: The season is fading rapidly before our eyes, and our team is playing way under its talent level. Oops, that's two things.
Next Week: The Falcons travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. Look for lots of insight from my compadre over at Bleeding Green Nation throughout the week.
Final Word: Sucks.