Worst Moment: Jameis Winston's third down conversion run
In the same way Ricardo Allen's Week 1 interception lead to hope, this defensive embarrassment removed any last shred of hope for the 2015 season. The Falcons could not tackle an immobile rookie quarterback in order to likely secure a playoff spot. This play was like the season: Close, but ultimately very far off.
Worst moment: Ryan's red zone interception against Minnesota
The pick six against Indianapolis was a close second. While some people will view Jameis Winston's third-and-nineteen run as an easy choice, my optimism for the Falcons' season had completely deteriorated by week thirteen. They actually played fairly well against an excellent Minnesota team. Ryan was making smart decisions, along with Tevin Coleman running well. As the offense was driving downfield, a harsh penalty on Tony Moeaki and drop by Coleman put them in a predicament. Instead of being conservative against an outstanding Viking defense, Ryan went for broke and tried floating a pass to Jacob Tamme. Veteran cornerback Terence Newman was in perfect position to make the interception. All of the momentum vanished with that play, along with my hope for Atlanta doing anything special in January.
Kendall "Taciturn" Jackson
Worst Moment: Losing to the 49ers
Just what the hell was that?
Worst Moment: Every Matt Ryan INT
I am a big Ryan fan, so watching him have his worst season ever was painful. Each INT felt like a dagger to the heart, especially the game-ending ones like the last one against the Saints. For a player that has done so much for this franchise, it was a fall that few predicted. I'm hoping he can bounce back in a big way in 2016, but each of those INTs are like little nightmares that will torture me until the 2016 season gets here.
Worst Moment: Matt Ryan's final 2015-16 possession
I've been as staunch a Matt Ryan defender as there is, but you knew this was coming. This year, for whatever reason, Matt Ryan's been making more mistakes with the ball. It's kinda like when you grow up and you realize your dad's not invincible, or Santa's not real. You know the feeling, the one that lies somewhere between shallow disappointment and a shattered soul. Yeah, that one. That's about how I felt seeing Matty's first pass sail into the arms of a Saints defender, after being convinced that he would lead us to victory just as he (almost) always has. It was the perfect summary of the 2015 Falcons season in a single throw, and now it will leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth until next year. Here's to hoping that, no matter who's running the ship as OC, Matt Ryan can flourish once again in 2016.
Worst Moment: Jameis Winston's first down scramble
There are so many worthy choices here, and maybe I'll be roasted for not picking one of Matt Ryan's carousel of terrible interceptions, but so be it. For me, nothing pointed out how much work is ahead of this defense and how lackluster some of the incumbents are than Jameis Winston's nearly 20 yard first down rumble on a long third day, a play where somehow at least 15 defenders had a shot at Winston despite there only being 11 players on the field, and all of them either whiffed, ignored the play, or got trucked by a sturdy but hardly imposing quarterback. That was embarrassing.
Worst Moment: Losing to the Saints Week 6
Sure, there are a lot of other moments that stand out as bad. But nothing feels as bad as losing to the biggest rival in week six after basically shooting yourself in the foot with stupid turnovers not once, not twice, but three times. Atlanta had the game won if they just execute and can turn the turnovers into field goals and scoring opportunities. Adding in the humiliating punt block on a Gleason appreciation day only adds insult to injury.
Worst Moment: The decision to kick the field goal at the end of 49ers game
Yes, Dan Quinn was in his first year as a head coach, but that was still one of the bigger blunders of the season. They were on the two yard line down by four with roughly two minutes left. Put the pedal to the medal and go for the gold.