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The Falcons can’t even lose without making history

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It can’t just be a run-of-the-mill loss for the Atlanta Falcons.

Cincinnati Bengals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons made history in a very bad way when they lost to the Bengals yesterday, and while I’m eager to start talking about the Steelers game as soon as possible, we do need to take a moment and appreciate just how amazing the Falcons have become at falling agonizingly short.

First, there’s the fact that only four teams in the last nearly eight decades a have managed to pile up 36 points without any turnovers at home and lose. The Falcons have now done it twice in two weeks:

Then there’s the fact that no team had done so well on third downs and lost a game dating back to 1991, and yet:

This is truly astonishing, and it tells you exactly how awful the defense has been over their last eight quarters of football. They managed to dig in for approximately a quarter and a half against the Bengals, which is to their credit, but they still couldn’t get that stops when they needed them most. If the offense was just a little bit better these last two weeks the Falcons may still have won, but the thing is, they shouldn’t need to be. It’s a swirling combination of poor play and bad luck that by now seems like it could only happen to the Atlanta Falcons.

The problem is that the Falcons aren’t a garden variety bad team, the way they were for much of their existence. They still have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball—though the scales are tipped heavily toward the offense at the moment with their injuries and the various disappointments on defense—and they’re capable of playing well enough to hang into games until the bitter end. That means they have a shot to win every week if the offense is dealing, sure, but it also means we may have more of these ridiculous, history-making losses in our future.

I’m not looking forward to seeing any more, frankly.