Can the Atlanta Falcons endure a crushing defeat and find a way to bounce back?
The kick sailed down the middle between the uprights. The Cowboys crowd erupted in jubilee. The referee’s arms flailed in a fashion to indicate a successful attempt. The Falcons made a long trek to their locker room draped in the cloth of embarrassment amid their second loss to open the season.
Week 3 is suddenly upon the Falcons, and now their task is to steel themselves against a physical Chicago Bears team that is 2-0 despite how you feel who they defeated and/or how they beat them. A game that on paper Atlanta “should win.”
However, the same assumption was carried out against vs. San Francisco in 2015, vs. Indianapolis in 2015, vs. Miami in 2017, vs. Cleveland and Cincinnati in 2018, and vs. Arizona in 2019. These were games in which the Falcons were supposed to “handle business” and walk away with a comfortable win. Nonetheless, each one of those contests ended in a loss that left fans scratching their heads, dishing verbal rants to televisions, and perhaps even firing up the years-long “fire Dan Quinn” movement that flares up in the fanbase, though not as hot as this year.
Whatever positivity you can muster from the Falcons 40-39 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in week two is impressive on your part. Because yes, you can give quarterback Matt Ryan his flowers for passing for 276 yards and four touchdowns while posting a 126.3 quarterback rating. Yet let me remind you that the last time Ryan had the ball, the Falcons were up nine with under four minutes remaining.
You can absolutely give the Falcons plenty of kudos for stopping the Cowboys on not one, but two fake punt attempts, the last one occurring with the Falcons nursing a 12-point lead and the ball on the Dallas 40-yard line. Then, the memory promptly surfaces of the Falcons hands team preferring to watch a shortly kicked onside instead of gaining possession and sealing the victory.
A loss such as that can easily manufacture a precedent that the season may not necessarily go your way. I mean, it’s not often that teams score 39 points, force three turnovers and not commit one on the offensive end and lose. As a matter of fact, it has never happened before until history was made in JerryWorld on Sunday. Once again, the Dan Quinn-led Falcons finds themselves on the brutal end of NFL history.
At least on the defensive side of the ball, the Bears are pretty stout. Their front seven is led by an underrated defensive line and an elite pass rusher. There are plenty of questions still active within their offensive element. But for a team still in search of their first win, the Falcons approaching this game as if it is a victory in the bag is a terrible mindset to have, and the need to show resiliency and let the loss roll off their shoulders is apparent.
So the ultimate question facing the Falcons this week is not concentrated on X’s and O’s, but rather the Falcons can bypass the growing snickers and smirks from onlookers and discover a winning way that has eluded them thus far in 2020.