We’ve had three full days to digest the Falcons’ ugly loss to the Eagles, and I’ve had three whole days to rifle through all of the post-game analysis, gripes, and laments. They’re compiled below, so if you’re in the mood to read some bad stuff penned by great writers, you’re in luck! Here’s today’s edition of Falcoholinks.
Oh, Keanu. We’ll miss you terribly.
With a still sour taste in our mouths from Atlanta’s last meeting in Philadelphia, this game was like eating warheads dipped in ipecac syrup. The Falcons of course dropped the opener 18-12, but adding a massive injury to that insult was the following day’s news that star strong safety Keanu Neal would miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Neal is already one of the league’s top safeties, and he was poised to take his game to the next level in 2018. We’ll have to wait until 2019 to see the Falcons’ enforcer on the field again.
Replacing him will require some creativity on the part of the Falcons’ coaching staff, and word out of Flowery Branch is that the team plans to turn to in-house options instead of seeking outside help.
Things got worse when Sark ran verts
That final red zone series was eerily reminiscent of last January’s playoff meeting against the Eagles, both in execution and result. You know how it went, but The Falcoholic’s Adnan Ikic took a deep dive into Sarkisian’s play-calling at the end of the game, and hammered home what we all saw on Thursday: the red zone woes have returned like a plague ship.
Matt Ryan’s awful opener
Quarterback Matt Ryan has put together some memorable opening games. This one was memorable for all of the wrong reasons. The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter had a roundup of many analysts who are already jumping off the Ryan train.
Atlanta’s franchise signal-caller and new recipient of a five-year mega-deal posted the lowest quarterback rating in a season-opener in his career. There are legitimate concerns with Steve Sarkisian’s play-calling, but Matt Ryan deserves a large share of the blame for his poor execution in Philadelphia.
For this, he was the season’s first sacrifice to the Great Metal Falcon. May he return for Week 2 whole and unaccompanied by a dark passenger.
Here’s to Week 2
We’ve got a full week to ruminate on the Eagles loss, but it’s important to put it all into its proper context. This team has some glaring question marks, primarily in red zone play-calling and execution, but it’s still an extremely talented squad. Writer and resident optimist Cory Woodroof takes the temperature down a few notches and provides a stark reminder that a poor showing in Week 1 does not a losing season make.
The Falcons have the Carolina Panthers in on Sunday, so here’s to a better showing at home.