A week after a dominant win over the Arizona Cardinals, the Atlanta Falcons fell 29-28 to the now 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs.
The loss puts the Falcons at 7-5 as they remain in a dangerously close NFC South race with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Let’s see who’s up and who’s down.
With a strip-sack on Alex Smith in the first quarterback, Beasley became the first Falcon to reach double-digit sacks since John Abraham in 2012. He also has five forced fumbles. Atlanta’s first pick from a year ago has turned it on in his second season.
Bryant’s 59-yard field goal to end the first half tied a Falcons franchise record set by Morten Andersen in 1995. It was the second-longest field goal of Bryant career, with the longest coming in 2006 while he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s proof the 41-year-old still has the leg to make field goals from distance.
Jones has yet to have consecutive outings in which he’s held under triple-digit receiving yards. That trend continued today as he followed up a 35-yard performance with seven catches for 113 yards. On the down side, he was clearly hobbled late in the game and was only seemingly inserted into the lineup as a decoy.
We can start with head coach Dan Quinn, whose decisions throughout the game will likely be questioned. There’s the hanging on to two timeouts on offense with just six seconds left in the first half. They were also seemingly caught off guard by a 55-yard rush by Albert Wilson on a fake punt in the third quarter. The decision to go for it on fourth down to pick up one yard, only to fail. There’s just too much here that will undoubtedly be picked apart.
Offensively, Matt Ryan was victimized on a couple of plays by Eric Berry. The first was a pick six with 48 seconds left until halftime. The second turned out to be the game-clincher. Up 28-27 late in the fourth quarter, Atlanta opted to go for two in order to go up a field goal, but Berry had other plans. He intercepted the pass intended for Aldrick Robinson and returning it for the defensive two-point conversion. Yes, Atlanta lost the lead — and the game — on a play that took no time off the clock.
On defense, promising young players De’Vondre Campbell, Deion Jones and Keanu Neal will undoubtedly be better as they gain more experience. As it stands now, however, this unit just isn’t there. The same issues came up to bite the Falcons: missed tackles and coverage lapses. On the plus side, that same defense gave up zero points in the second half and 14 points overall, which is something.
But if the offense sputters like it did early when it failed to score touchdowns on what looked like promising drives, Atlanta’s likely in for a bad time. In the end, Ryan and the offense will need to be close to perfect until the defense gets closer to where it needs to be.
Who’s up and who’s down for you?