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Observations from Area Code 706

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It's officially five days until my wedding so the past two weeks I've been prepping for and going through with a 90 mile move from sweet home Alabama to sweeter home Georgia. Saturday, I got the cable and internet hooked up in the new apartment and celebrated it with a beautiful 35-7 Crimson Tide victory over Arkansas. Yesterday marked my first Falcons game ever watched in area code 706. Unfortunately, it was a loss. I suppose you're probably expecting me to fall to my knees in tears of anger and frustration, lamenting all the mistakes our Birds made against the Patriots. Well, I'm not going to. Here's why: I'm 150% confident that, facing a bye week after a horrid road loss, the coaches, players, and staff of the Falcons organization will make the necessary moves and decisions to rectify this problem. I'll say one thing more; the 49ers will be facing a team with a huge chip on its shoulder the Sunday after next.

  • The defense was very conservative and didn't blitz much. I don't know if this was out of fear of Brady's arm or an omission in the game plan. I'm not going to make that call. I will say, though, that the Jets had the perfect game plan against the Patriots and it included a heavy rush. 
  • For the third game in three weeks, I have to once again point to the officiating unit. I don't know what the refs were doing on that "fumble return for a TD" but when a ball hits the ground after being tipped, it is a dead ball. No whistle came. Were the refs asleep on that call? Were it not for Mike Smith having to challenge the world's most obvious incomplete pass, he would have likely thrown that red flag on Moss' non reception on third and long. Boom, Falcons get the ball back, get at least three points. The defense doesn't have the morale sucking "What can we do?" moment. And don't get me started on that complete [censored] call of pass interference on Jenkins. Watching the replay, the defender's arm was locked around Jenkins' elbow before 12 put his arm against the chest of his cover. Then the cover trips. Boom, seven more points the refs cost us. That's 10, for those counting.
  • Michael Turner...hmm...well it's hard to defend against a Riddel helmet bumping into the ball, but still, it must be said: PROTECT. THE. FOOTBALL. Still think Turner's thinking too much about that endzone when he gets near it. Second fumble in the red zone in two weeks for the Burner. Let's say the fumble never happened. We've got the ball on the seventeen. Three plays later, we have a touchdown. Boom, seven more points. 
  • You can't win against the Patriots if you go three and out and only hold the ball for a little over the length of a quarter.
  • Risk/Reward, coaching staff. It worked for the Patriots. Why not try a few more fourth down plays?
  • It's hard for Gonzalez to catch the ball with a man under and over him. Patriots were ready for #88
  • Hmm, from my above observations, I count at least 17 points left on the field. Let's do the math: Patriots 26, Falcons 10+17. 27-26, Falcons win. Yup, we could have won this one. 
  • We're still 2-1 going into the bye. You can bet your fannies that our favorite team won't be resting on its laurels this off week. I wouldn't be surprised in Ryan's already in the film room, studying.