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Falcons vs. Panthers: 3 Falcons Up, 3 Falcons Down after fifth straight loss

Fact: Matt Ryan hasn’t used a bandaid since 1993

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Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons went into yesterday’s home game as 1 point favorites. We knew they’d probably lose, and guess what? They did. Their loss resulted in the firing of both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. But if we’re being honest, that writing has been on the wall for some time now. No matter how much we appreciate their contributions to the franchise, this had to happen. It just did.

Ultimately the franchise and its fan base want the same thing: a relevant, competitive football team. I do believe the Falcons can get there, sooner than many seem to think. A wholesale “rebuild” might not be necessary, but the Falcons will have to find the right coaching staff and revamp their schemes.

For now, let’s take a quick look at some of the best and worst individual performances during Sunday’s loss.

3 Falcons Up

Todd Gurley

Gurley’s 35 yard touchdown run capped off the Falcons’ first offensive drive and put them ahead, 7-0. He racked up 121 rushing yards on 14 carries, his most efficient and productive performance as a Falcon. Dirk Koetter decided to slam the brakes on the running game because, well, he’s Dirk Koetter. But yesterday’s performance shows that Gurley still has something in the tank and can be a dynamic player under the right circumstances.

Calvin Ridley

Julio Jones’ hamstring injury won’t quit and Ridley looked part of a WR1. The latter racked up 136 receiving yards today on 8 receptions (10 targets). It was a bit of a rebound performance for Ridley, who went receptionless on 5 targets against the Bears.

A.J. Terrell

According to Pro Football Focus, Terrell only gave up 22 yards yesterday. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater beat up on Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Oliver like they stole from him. Good to have you back, A.J.

3 Falcons Down

Isaiah Oliver

Oh, Isaiah. Why do the Falcons keep doing this to you? Oliver was bad yesterday. Really bad. Exhibit A:

Teddy Bridgewater made Oliver look downright foolish, but he’s not the first opposing quarterback to do that this year. Oliver has eloquently made the case against himself and I have to think the Falcons will bench him once they’re able. Darqueze Dennard was placed on IR at the end September and can return after 3 weeks under the modified IR rules in place this season. And in a perfect world, the Falcons will seriously limit Oliver’s snaps once Dennard is back.

Matt Ryan

Ryan is skidding right now and truth be told, Dirk Koetter isn’t making his job any easier. Ryan completed just 21 of his 37 passes today. He also threw a decisive interception during the 4th quarter that more or less sealed the Panthers victory. Ryan hasn’t looked the part recently, which has predictably led to some premature discussion about his future in Atlanta. Ryan just needs to return to form going forward.

Dan Quinn + Thomas Dimitroff

The Falcons parted ways with their head coach and general manager yesterday, and they did it for a reason. Both men made substantial contributions to the franchise, but in a world where actual job performance counts for something, their firings were long overdue.

Honorable mention: Matt Hennessy

Hennessy got limited snaps yesterday, but he drew a holding penalty on the first play of the Falcons’ third offensive drive and gave up multiple pressures. In short, he’s not ready yet. This probably means we will continue to see a rotation of some sort at left guard.