But you know what? At least the Falcons got there last season, and we have every reason to be optimistic about this team continuing to contend. This was not the case during the Mike Smith era.
As Falcons fans, we have weathered plenty of irritating losses. Over the next few days, I'll be ranking my top 5 most frustrating defeats from Smitty's tenure. Weigh in and share yours, also.
5. Week 10, 2012: Falcons 27, Saints 31
If you'll remember, we were all riding high going into Week 10 of the 2012 season. The Falcons were 8-0 and looked unstoppable. Then they faced the Saints at home.
Look, I could rank any loss to the Saints on this list. They are such a garbage team, and losing to them makes me irrationally angry. But this particular loss, which snapped the Falcons' incredible winning streak, was a particularly awful one.
First of all, Jimmy Graham had 146 yards and two touchdowns, Just typing that sentence gives me flashbacks to the level of fury I felt every time the Falcons could absolutely not cover a damn tight end. Secondly, the Saints started 0-4 that season, which was hilarious, but this win over Atlanta renewed New Orleans fans’ hopes that the team might get a wild card berth.
Spoiler alert: they didn’t. The Saints finished the season 7-9 and missed the playoffs, so that’s good, at least.
But what made it worse was that the Falcons had a chance to take a lead with under two minutes to play and they couldn’t get two yards. Two. Yards. TWO DAMN YARDS.
This is from the NFL.com recap of that game. It pretty much sums it up.
"It's very frustrating," Falcons coach Mike Smith said, who is 2-7 against the Saints and 49-15 against the rest of the NFL in his four-plus regular seasons as Atlanta coach. "We were close. ... This will be something we will learn from."
Matt Ryan had the best stats of his career to that point on that day, with 411 yards and three touchdowns. Tony Gonzalez had 122 receiving yards and two touchdowns. It’s so frustrating to even think about this stupid loss.
The Falcons just didn’t get the outcome they wanted, y’all.