Much will be made of this loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Already, many of us are wondering what's wrong with Michael Turner. There's a lot of hand-wringing going on about whether our rosy expectations were way off. The optimism—nay, the swagger—that marked the week leading up to the Cowboys game has evaporated like water on a skillet. It seems many are wondering how the bottom could have dropped out so swiftly?
Look under your feet, my friends. We're still a 4-2 football team. Both of our losses have been bad ones, no doubt. Yet we've also fought tooth and nail for four wins, and we're most certainly not driving a Flintstones car at this point. I'm as concerned about our two losses this season as anybody, but let's not pretend they're anything more than two bad games. If this becomes a consistent trend, I'll be the first lemming in the water, and you'll all be welcome to join me. But it's just too early to give up hope when we have a winning record. Let's keep that in sight.
Besides, the game against the Saints should be occupying all of our thoughts at this point. Let's jump like we mean it and break this down.
- Jason Snelling deserves more carries. I'm going to beat this drum until it happens. The guy has 19 carries (!) for 122 yards, which puts him firmly in the small sample size alert but remains intriguing. We know he's a bruising back and Michael Turner can't seem to get it going at the moment, so logic would tell you that it's time to see if he can sustain his numbers with more touches. I know that in many ways they're similar backs, but Snelling's getting it done right now and Turner isn't. I can't make myself believe that The Burner will be like this all season, so I propose this as a temporary solution to a problem that is beginning to unbalance our offense.
- God, I love Eric Weems. It's out in the open now. Don't look at me! I'm hideous.
Still, how can you not think the world of this guy? He fought hard for his roster spot and he's absolutely making the most of his kick return opportunities. Add in a play where he apparently turned invisible and was able to grab a touchdown pass and you've got a guy who really could be valuable on offense. The Falcons have too many weapons to cover everyone, and Weems can make things happen. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll see more of him against the Saints.
- Big plays on defense? Just a few. Thomas DeCoud piled up some tackles and had a sack, Stephen Nicholas managed a sack and Thomas Johnson forced yet another fumble that Brent Grimes scoooped up. Congratulations to all of these defenders, who will not get quite as much flack as everyone else in the lowlights. What a great prize!
- Wow, Michael Koenen averaged 46 yards a punt? That's truly a cause for celebration! Whee!
- I don't need to tell you that this wasn't Matt Ryan's finest game as a pro, do I? He was sacked four times—give the offensive line their fair share of the blame here—and he was victimized by excellent coverage on his two interceptions. Still, this wasn't a great game and Ryan looked uncharacteristically rattled throughout. The Saints are going to take the Cowboy blueprint and attempt to knock him off balance, so it's time to spend a week of practice adjusting. Then there's the fumbles....
- Again, Turner just doesn't look right. I can psychoanalyze him and analyze the film and analyze the analysis, but it's clear that something's going on here. Aside from a couple of nice runs, he basically spun his wheels all game long. We must solve this in order to be a successful team.
- The defense—particularly the secondary—looked very lost out there today. Tony Romo, who is a good quarterback, looked like the second coming of Christ Marino out there yesterday. Our defense is going to have games like this from time to time as they grow, but I'm always hopeful that our play-calling can put guys in a position to succeed even when they're not on fire. Today, none of that happened, and the result was obvious.
- To be honest, I'm running out of gas here. This was a bad game and I could spend several more bullet points blasting the way this team played, but I don't have the energy for it. Somehow I don't think any of you will mind.
Game MVP: For the sake of principle, I refuse to award one. If I was going to, it'd probably be Eric Weems? I guess.
Game Theme Song: This certainly seems appropriate.
One Thing To Take Away: When the Falcons lose, they don't do it halfway. Our ability to hang in games we're losing or rally from behind will be critical in the weeks ahead.
Next Week: Some team called the Saints, represented by something called "Canal Street Chronicles." I'm sure we have nothing to fear there.
Final Emoticon: :(