Put the final nail in this coffin: The Falcons are officially eliminated from the playoffs following a 17-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The final quarter of the season was going to be tough thanks to two matchups against the Buccaneers and one against the Chiefs. However, the bumbling Chargers were the only easy win on the slate.
The biggest problem is the Falcons are still a bad team. There was some good and bad and we are taking a look at both.
Russell Gage is UP
With Julio Jones out, Gage was able to shine... as a passer! We remember his spot-on pass in the Dallas Cowboys game that was sadly dropped by Julio Jones. Same plan on Sunday, except the deep pass to Calvin Ridley was caught for a touchdown.
Look at this beauty.
Gage did a lot more catching the ball, too, with Julio Jones out.
Matt Ryan is DOWN
Yuck. Ryan has had some games to forgot but I need this one removed from my consciousness via electroshock therapy. Ryan tossed three interceptions against the Charges. One was excusable with Ridley needing to do a much better job fighting for the ball in the end zone on a deep bomb. However, Ryan stared down Hayden Hurst and tossed an interception in a tie game deep in the 4th quarter. The Falcons got a quick interception, had one last chance to win the game in regulation, then Ryan tossed another off-target pass that was picked off with just 31 seconds left. Chargers, of course, drove down the field and kicked a game-winning field goal. We are seeing a concerning number of mental errors from the franchise quarterback late into this season. Ryan lost this game.
Matt Gono is UP
The team’s swing tackle was up against Joey Bosa on occasion and really held his own. It is too common this season to see Ryan get beaten up and the offense fall apart. That didn’t happen against the Chargers. Gono helped keep Ryan clean (not that it helped Ryan from making mistakes), which is huge for this team and putting together their 2021 roster.
Dante Fowler, Jr. is DOWN
Fowler is averaging close to a million dollars a game but that’s where his impact ends. Even against a rookie quarterback and an offensive line in shambles, Fowler was almost completely invisible. Fowler lined up against Bryan Bulaga’s replacement and still couldn’t disrupt the quarterback. The defensive line (minus Grady Jarrett, of course) struggled to do anything at all against both the run and the pass. You can really look at anyone who isn’t Jarrett and conclude the defense will be pretty bad at this current effort, however, this should be a multi-sack game for a player earning Fowler money.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson is UP
Gotta give credit where credit is due and Wreh-Wilson should have had the interception that helped seal the win. If not for Ryan’s final interception, Wreh-Wilson’s pick should have been like Julio’s sideline catch in the Super Bowl and iced out the game short of a very Falcons disaster. He’s been very solid depth for years and made what should have been one of the most impactful plays of his career.
Raheem Morris is DOWN
Only a few weeks back there were rumors Morris could keep the head coach job if the team kept up their post-Dan Quinn performances. Put a fork in Morris because his chances are done. This was probably the most winnable game in the later half of the season, with a struggling, error-prone team headed by a rookie quarterback. Yet the Falcons only came to play in the first half, followed by plenty of errors, poor execution, and questionable game planning. Maybe Morris gets an interview but no way Blank thinks he can sell this same coaching staff in 2021.