The Falcons are in freefall. This is the worst start of the Dan Quinn era and one of the bleakest stretches of football in recent memory for this team, and that has chiefly been fueled by a defense that cannot seem to do anything right. Unfortunately, they hit another milestone in their march of futility on Sunday.
The Falcons, who didn’t even hit Kyler Murray all day unless he was running with the ball, failed to get a sack for the third straight game. They’ve done so against three of the worst offensive lines in football, the hapless Titans, Texans, and now Cardinals, which if anything makes this even worse. That’s the first time that kind of stretch has happened in many, many years.
For the sake of perspective, here, you should know the following:
- The Falcons only had one game in 2018 without a single sack. One!
- Ditto 2017.
- Ditto 2016.
- In 2015, they had four games without a sack, but none of them in a row.
- In 2014 that number was five games (pretty bleak), but only two in a row at one point.
- In 2013, it happened three times, but never in a row.
- In 2012, it happened twice in the final two games of the season.
- In 2011, you finally get that three game streak early in the year, and the Falcons managed one more shutout.
That means that despite the very uneven nature of this Falcons defense over the years, you have to go back to mid-Smitty to find such a stretch of ineptitude. That 2011 defense, by the way, featured the great John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux, but also fine but unspectacular players like Kroy Biermann, Corey Peters, and the immortal Ray Edwards. This defensive line has two former first round picks, multiple solid veteran free agent signings, and a chronically double-teamed Grady Jarrett working for it, plus some guys like Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell who have flashed pass rushing potential in the past. Couple that with Dan Quinn’s aversion to being aggressive about rushing opposing quarterbacks and you have a problem.
This is another black mark on Dan Quinn and this defense, and it’s not clear how they plan to get right with another shaky offensive line coming up. They have to get right soon, though, not so much because there’s a lot of hope ahead in this season, but because with the exception of Vic Beasley and a couple of veterans on short-term deals, the building blocks of the next good Falcons pass rush were supposed to already be here.