The routine bashing of Steve Sarkisian will continue until results improve, but I think it’s also important that we focus our energy and frustration on the parts of this offense that legitimately are not working.
Matt Ryan to Julio Jones, minus a couple of mistimed throws and drops? Working fine.
The ground game, generally, despite a couple of tough games? Working well!
The team’s ability to convert in short yardage situations? Oh god, fire.
There’s a pretty amazing stat making the rounds courtesy of 92.9 The Game’s Mike Conti right now that sums up just how bad that was on Sunday.
Incredible stat from today:— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) November 5, 2017
Falcons had 9 plays on 2nd/3rd/4th and 2 or less, and got a total of 1 yard in those nine plays (0.1 yards/play)
Think about how genuinely awful that is. That isn’t just a failure of play calling—though it is that—but a failure of execution at every level, from the offensive line to the running backs to the receivers to the quarterback. The most memorable example of this came in the form of Atlanta’s consecutive runs on 2nd and then 3rd and then 4th and short, where they couldn’t get a lousy yard to keep the drive going. Charles McDonald shares the misery below.
this just kills you. neutral zone infraction sets you up with a 1st and 5 on the panthers 39 yard line.— charles mcdonald (@FourVerts) November 7, 2017
sarkisian blew it. pic.twitter.com/Bf6dzBq79R
The fix isn’t necessarily easy, here. Playing lesser defensive fronts will help a great deal, and obviously just executing on blocks better will lead to better results, because it’s almost impossible that you could do worse. But there’s something deeply wrong with an offense loaded with weapons thinking their best recourse on three consecutive short yardage plays against one of the league’s better defensive lines is simply pounding it up the middle. When you call a poor play and then can’t even run that play effectively, it speaks volumes about the challenges facing your offense.
The Falcons are not that far away from being a quality offense, but they have to stop leaving simple conversion opportunities and points on the board. If the focus on offense this week isn’t figuring out more creative ways to get a yard when they desperately need one, I give up.