What was he doing wrong? Were the substitutions wrong? Did injuries to Tevin Coleman and Taylor Gabriel limit the game plan? Too many presnap penalties? Paying Mohamed Sanu Jr. $32.5 million (four targets for 16 yards) for reasons no one understands? Or have the sacrifices he has presented to the fire-breathing, omnipotent, ancient entity in Flowery Branch proven insufficient?
Quinn has made a career of having answers. What will the offense do? How do you stop the running quarterback? How do you snuff out the screen game? How do you placate a blood-thirsty, metal bird that stands larger than most buildings?
"Hey coach," says Chris Chester as he enters the room. "What'd you want to see me for?" Chester has turned into the weakest part of the offensive line, giving up sacks and committing penalties against the San Diego Chargers. "And why did you want me to wear gasoline-soaked clothes?"
"Don't worry, Chris," said Quinn. "Wrong message. You can go back to the meetings. Oh, and if you see Ricardo Allen heading this way with a bunch of lighter fluid and giant bird seed, tell him not to worry about it. You are saved for another week!" Quinn laughs, and in response so does Chester.
Chester, of course, has no idea about the giant bird that demands blood. Quinn's fake laughter turn into sobs. Then to screams of agony.
"Ha... good one, coach. Yeah... good one." Chester is easily pushed out of way by Kyle Shanahan.
"DQ, you needed help finding the practice field again? Weird, because I had a dream this happened before then you kicked me into a lake of fire in front of some giant bird."
Back again. Still smokey and burned up from his last visit, he escaped before only to put together one of his best offenses. How long until that offense would fall back into the conservative, unimaginative offense we remember from 2015? Turns out it was about three to four weeks. The Falcons collapsed in the second half, essentially targeted only Julio Jones from the receiving corps, were completely unimaginative, but mainly... that one play.
Woof. The Falcons made an absolutely gusty call. In their own territory, Dan Quinn went for it on 4th and 1 in overtime. That's the decision of a man that shaves his head, drinks gasoline, and sniffs ammonia packets. Then Shanahan dials up the most conservative play in his playbook? Against a defensive line that ate through the offensive line all game?
In what dimension does this play work? A tired Devonta Freeman needs to battle against a thus far dominant defensive line that expects exactly this play? Did Mike Smith dial up this play?
As expected, Freeman and Jones got plenty of touches. Julio had 9 catches, Freeman had 5. There were 8 other catches for 57 whole yards. Out of the entire team. It fell apart so badly that Atlanta could only put up 3 points against the San Diego defense in two quarters and one overtime drive.
Quinn kicks in Shanahan, and the lake of fire burns bright white. It burns so bright Quinn's eyebrows burn off. Samuel L. Falcon laughs at the sacrifice. Hopefully it was enough for a win next week. Quinn won't know until next Sunday.
Who wins the game ball?
As usual, Julio Jones was a beast. 9 receptions, 174 yards, and he's such a ridiculous player that this performance may not even come close to his top 10 games. Jones is so consistently a monster that I'm a bit surprised when he doesn't have 150 yards. It's not even fair the Falcons can have a player like Julio.
We hope these offerings appease Samuel L. Falcon. If not, this sacrifice was for nothing, and the Falcons may fall to .500.