The Falcons lost today, this much is true, and they looked bad doing so until very late. That is also true.
It’s no surprise, then, that Falcons fans and analysts were feeling pretty ornery about the outcome. Atlanta may well recover from this and enjoy a nice season, but giving up 31 points to the Bucs at home and then having a furious comeback fall short isn’t a recipe for good vibes, I’m afraid. With a lot to sort through, I’ve compiled a few early reactions, stats, and important takeaways to consider as you digest the game. We’ll have more detailed thoughts tomorrow, of course, as we pick our way through this loss for the rest of the week.
Dave’s Take: Ultimately what made me worry about this one was how familiar the struggles seemed. There was weak play calling, a one-sided offensive effort, and way too many blown opportunities to make stops at crucial times.
I firmly believe this will be a better football team in 2016, but I also don’t think that will necessarily be reflected in the final record. This loss didn’t do anything to change my mind about that, though it cast more doubt on the former than the latter.
The crux of the issue, really:
Falcons 3/13 on third down. 1/4 in the red zone. 7 penalties on Atlanta. Run game produced 2.4 YPC. This is last year's team.— Matt (@FalconsM5) September 11, 2016
A sobering look at the schedule:
Things only get tougher from here.— Matt Chernoff (@RealMattlanta) September 11, 2016
At New Orleans
That could go 0-6 or 1-5 for the Falcons
The penalties were costly, and some of the rotation at linebacker didn’t particularly seem to make sense, given how dynamic Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell looked:
A muted (if telling) reaction from one of the Falcons’ in-house beat reporters:
The fourth quarter heroics were only made possible by earlier struggles:
Which makes this take 100% fair:
Sanu was key early on, so this isn’t great news:
Mohamed Sanu limping heavily through the locker room after tweaking an ankle. https://t.co/8mCJBvD7NJ— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) September 11, 2016
And a hopeful note after the Falcons nearly erased that 18 point deficit:
Kemal Ishmael told me after the game that the main thing the defense can build on from today is the resiliency, and he's not wrong.— Jeanna (@jeannathomas) September 11, 2016