Don’t freak out … yet
It almost seems like an annual tradition for Falcons fans. We go into a game with lofty expectations and the team finds a new way to frustrate us. However, so much went wrong in this game that it’s nearly impossible to pin it down to one cause, though that won’t stop most people from trying to do so. It’s a long season and the first game is rarely an indicator for how the next 15 will go, no matter how much we want to believe it is.
That’s not to say the team doesn’t have a large number of issues to work on - particularly the offense - but it is to say that much can change in just one week and we really should take this season one game at a time. If they look far better against the Panthers, the panic will surely seem somewhat premature.
Definitely freak out
I think it’s pretty clear the Falcons are staring 0-16 in the face.
Alright, there was no reason we should’ve lost. Why did we lose? Well, execution was abysmal. I like that we gave Julio the ball a ton, because he produced, but not at the cost of the game. Don’t force the ball into double coverage when Mohamed Sanu is four steps away from catching the game winning touchdown on a slant route. As a fan, I am beyond frustrated.
The excuse that it’s the first game is extremely invalid. This is the NFL and there are only 16 opportunities in a season. The Falcons have blown their first. I’m not going to bash our franchise QB, but where the heck was he? That interception is 110% unacceptable. Complete lack of communication. Julio did some weird fade off thing but Matt had released the ball too early. That play literally summed up the game. Now, on the bright side, the Falcons defense was solid for a while. They held a Super Bowl offense to just three points at the half. The injury bug got Atlanta. The loss of Keanu really deflated the aggressiveness on defense. Then Takk, then Debo, then panic.
If the Falcons want to win, they need to execute like the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. Sark needs to understand that four straight bunch formations in the red zone is completely ineffective. This team should use more RPO. We have that Hooper, Julio, Ridley, Sanu trio with their ability, Teco with his run/pass options, or can feed the rock to Freeman. We need more aggressiveness and creativity, like the Eagles showed.
Well, if you couldn’t tell, I’m frustrated.
Here we go again
It feels like we are redoing 2017 all over again. It would be tougher to find a single game that sums up Atlanta’s problems more than the Eagles loss. I could brush off some of it as it being the first game of the year. Quinn kept the starters out through a lot of preseason, so my expectation was they will likely look rusty. However, we saw all the problems we had last year. Too many penalties? Yup. Drops? Oh yeah. Uninspired play designs? Definitely. Red zone woes? Check. Matt Ryan looking the worst he has since his rookie year? Confirmed. I think it’s a safe bet that things will improve, but the team’s ceiling may be lower than I expected.
We’ll Be Alright
Everything went wrong for Atlanta in a Thursday game against the one team that always seems to have its number after a storm delay and on a wet field in Week One, where Dan Quinn’s teams typically don’t perform to their peaks. Also, half the defense got banged up. And they still almost won. It’s okay to be frustrated this team didn’t live up to its potential, but don’t think that they’re not going to very soon. Sark has to be better; we all know that, but so does Ryan. We know he will be by a wide margin. The defense looked stellar until Keanu Neal’s injury, so maybe cling to that until we get to the home game against Carolina? Everything will be okay. I can’t say all of your expectations will be met, but I can also say fairly confidently that the 2018 Falcons will *not* look like this every week. They’ll be much, much better than this.
Don’t harsh my vibe
I’m sure every professional sports franchise has fans that freak out after something relatively small goes wrong (e.g., a single loss in a 17 week season), but Falcons fans are uniquely vulnerable to hysteria. The sky isn’t falling: Ryan had a horrible game, there was some horrible officiating, and it was a horrible way to kick off the regular season. They will bounce back. I get it, you think they suck, top to bottom. But that’s just, like, your opinion man.