The Falcons scraped by to win 24-21 against a banged-up, inferior Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. If you were hoping for an easy win that builds to a playoff crescendo, this was not that game. While the win was important, it raised nearly as many questions as it answered. Here are some takeaways from the game.
Still can’t put it all together
This is a maddening team. The talent is clearly there, but something always seems to get in the way. If Steve Sarkisian puts together a good game plan, Matt Ryan is suddenly inaccurate. When Ryan does throw an accurate ball, guys - including the likes of Julio Jones - drop it. When Ryan and the receivers are clicking, the offensive line gets hit with stupid penalties. When the entire offense gets going, Devonta Freeman suddenly develops a case of the fumbles. When the offense is firing on all cylinders, the defense begins to fall apart and/or trips over their own feet.
I still contend that this roster - this group of talent - can beat any other in the league. They just have yet to put it all together at the same time. It’s maddening and I’m not certain we’ll see it happen in 2017 at this point.
Thank god for Matt Bryant
Make no mistake: if not for the 42-year old ageless wonder, this game is likely one that ends in overtime. His 57-yard kick set an outdoor record (as well as a record for kickers over the age of 40). It’s easy to forget just how reliable this man has been in his time in Atlanta that we literally take these kicks for granted. The Falcons have won many close games this year, and Matt Bryant has been a big catalyst in nearly all of them.
I don’t know if he’s going to play beyond this season, but he is a treasure that Falcons fans should cherish while we do have him.
Draw no conclusions
Some fans will want to write-off this teams chances in the playoffs. Others think we’re going to lose out to finish the season. Both are entirely possible, but - again - this team is also capable of dominating if they can just get out of their own way. Yes, this game was not inspiring or confidence building for fans, but I doubt you can draw any firm conclusions about what will happen next. This is likely going to be the story for the 2017 Falcons until the season comes to an end.