Falcons fans, it’s time to panic. After facing two good defensive fronts in the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, the Falcons offense - led by MVP Matt Ryan and new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian - were given a reprieve, facing a Patriots defense that has been pretty terrible through it’s first 6 games. The results speak for themselves. Here are some takeaways from that disaster on Sunday night.
The offense is broken
I don’t know how else to say it, but putting up 7 points - mostly in garbage time - against a bottom 10 defense is highly troubling. You can point to several things - Ryan’s accuracy struggled at times for sure - but the overall theme is the same. This offense is broken. Many are quick to point fingers at new OC Steve Sarkisian, and it is justified. However, he’s not alone in this.
Ryan has been off-target for long stretches of the season and to be blunt, he just does not look confident this year. It is a stark contrast to the QB of 2016 who confidently pulled the trigger on difficult throws as if they were check downs. That lack of confidence probably stems from a whole host of reasons - including some insanely bad bounces for INTs early in the season and an OL that hasn’t stabilized until recently.
As for the play calling, it was laughably bad at times and is now at the point of being a true hindrance for the talent. This offense no longer has an identity. It’s merely a series of plays thrown against a wall with no rhyme or reason to it. Unless Steve Sarkisian suddenly figures all of this out, we are probably in for more of the same. Yuk.
The defense is doing their part ... mostly
Now, the defense did not play a perfect game either, but holding the Patriots offense under 25 points on their home field is something we would have killed for in the past. Guys like Keanu Neal did a very good job covering an elite TE in Rob Gronkowski.
People who expected this defense to be a top-5, shutdown defense had their expectations out of whack. That was never going to happen overnight. However, they are playing well enough that - if the offense was holding up its part of the bargain - their performance should have easily led to a victory.
There’s plenty to clean up on the defensive side, but they are far from the main blame carriers for this dreadful performance.
Not all is lost
At 3-3, the Falcons are nowhere near out of the playoff race. In fact, they still have a shot at winning the NFC South, with no team pulling ahead dramatically at this point. If Dan Quinn and company can figure out what is ailing this offense, there’s no reason to believe the ship can’t be righted in time to salvage this season.
That said, the last three games have done nothing to inspire us to believe they will right the ship. While they’re not mathematically out of it yet, they can’t continue to perform this way. If they do, we’ll be talking about a top-10 draft pick in December instead of the playoffs.
What are your takeaways from the debacle?