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Painful lessons learned from Falcons vs. 49ers in Week 9

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Our writers laughed, cried, and...they didn't actually laugh that much. We just learned some tough lessons.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Rutherford

I have nothing nice to say.

And, therefore, will not say anything at all.

The DW

This team may not make the playoffs
Starting 5-0, and even 6-2, it's easy to believe that the Falcons may make the playoffs. But after the game against the 49ers, I'm no longer convinced that the playoffs are a given. This team faces a far more difficult second half including bouts against a better-looking Colts team and a 6-2 Vikings team. Oh, and we play the undefeated Panthers twice in December. Unless Quinn and company can get all of the issues corrected, it's entirely possible this team squanders it's amazing start and just misses the playoffs - and that's depressing, to say the least.

Jake Bennett

It's okay to cry.

I honestly don't know what to say. This team looks completely different than it did during the first several weeks, and their problems vary from scheme transitions to roster talent. The bye week couldn't have come at a more opportune time for Atlanta, because with the direction this ship is blowing right now, there aren't many more wins in our immediate future unless there's a real turnaround within this team.

Kendall Jackson

The Falcons' 6-3 record is a mirage.

It's a new low losing to a banged-up 49ers team led by Blaine Gabbert.

Matthew Chambers

The Falcons are bad.

I have spent weeks being a Falcons apologist. The Falcons had some close losses, but they always appeared to be the better team. As soon as Julio Jones got healthy, all of the drops stopped, and the offense fixed the crippling fumbles, the Falcons were certain to be dominant. Atlanta fixed those problems, played a bad team, and never even flashed dominance. The 49ers game created flashbacks to the incompetent 2013 and 2014 team. The team is painful to watch, yet again, and the problems have been so numerous that nearly everyone is to blame.

Dave Choate

The Falcons are a little inflexible, and it's hurting them.

Dan Quinn doesn't like to significantly alter the way his defense plays. Kyle Shanahan likes everything to go according to plan. When the plan is perfect and the players are executing well, that's not such a bad thing, because these are smart men and obsessive planners. It becomes an active liability when things are going off the rails and you can't pivot to something new, and right now, the Falcons seem lost for answers and unable to find any. They've got two weeks to make some needed changes.

Jeanna Thomas

Everything is horrible.

There is a genuine disconnect within this offense, and I don't know what it is. Matt Ryan looks uncomfortable. They're mostly ineffective. It's very, very difficult to watch. I thought it was the penalties and the turnovers, but they improved in those areas against the Niners. The only time Ryan looks remotely comfortable is in up-tempo situations, yet the team is using the no-huddle sparingly. Nothing makes sense. We can hope things will turn around after the bye, but i'm having a hard time mustering even cautious optimism about the remainder of the season. /sobs quietly

Allen Strk

Even against the worst offenses, depth is a major concern.

While the offense continues to sputter, the secondary deserves to be mentioned for blowing several coverages. Philip Adams held up reasonably well in the slot for six games, before Brandin Cooks burned him on a key third down in Atlanta's first loss. His inability to hold up against Quinton Patton was eye-opening to say the least. Jalen Collins struggling against Torrey Smith is understandable, but Adams being routinely picked on by Blaine Gabbert has made Robert Alford even more valuable. Kemal Ishmael continues to be underwhelming as well. It was always going to take two off-seasons to revamp this defense. They still should have been more than capable of making Gabbert uncomfortable. That didn't occur and now the coaching staff needs to pray that the secondary can somehow stay fully healthy.