The Falcons have won nine games this season in 14 tries, which is mighty impressive when you consider how they’ve played in those games. The Falcons have lost games to teams they had no business losing to (Bills, Dolphins) and barely beaten teams they should have thumped (Buccaneers, Bears, etc.). While this year’s team has been a bit better on defense and a large bit worse on offense, though, the thing that has repeatedly doomed them is their mistakes.
When SB Nation asked us to write about the one thing we’d change about our teams in 2017, then, my answer was an obvious one. I’d erase the penalties which erased the interceptions which might have made a difference in the outcome of multiple games this year. I’d delete the interceptions that came off receivers bobbling and bumbling what should have been obvious catches. I’d terminate Julio Jones’ drops, especially the wide open one in the end zone against the Panthers that might have won that game. And I’d definitely send Steve Sarkisian’s decision to run a jet sweep on 4th and goal against the Patriots into the void.
You see, when you add up all these little, annoying mistakes, you start to notice just how persistent they’ve been. You realize that they’ve cost the Falcons multiple games this year, and are the difference between sitting in first place in the NFC South and vying for a top seed, and needing to win your way in. My viewing experience on Sundays, Thursdays, and Mondays would have been much more pleasant minus some of those mistakes, too.
The reality is that the Falcons aren’t going to look as elite in 2017 as they did in 2016. The NFL is such a mess they might be able to ride this a long way, but that world-beating squad is gone for the moment, and we’re not going to get them back. If I could change one thing about this team, then, it would be the mistakes that have kept them from winning semi-convincingly, and have lost them games.
What would you change?