On Sunday, the Falcons lost again. They lost because they cannot hold on to double digit leads, in the same way fully cinched belt cannot hold up against a 70 inch waist. There are physical and metaphysical impossibilities, and the Falcons are all of them at once.
I joked on Twitter in the third quarter, when the Bills had improbably surrendered a 28-3 lead, that the cursed was lifted for Atlanta. It was a joke both because you cannot simply lift a curse like that because another team does something and because deep down, the fear never leaves. The Bills held on to win and the Falcons surrendered a 26-10 lead, their second major blown lead in two games. Shockingly, that was a record.
The Falcons are the first team EVER to lose back-to-back games despite leading by 15+ points in the 4th quarter in both. pic.twitter.com/bnwDMP5voE— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 27, 2020
Atlanta’s had chances to fix this, or at least to make the kind of decisive, satisfying change that would buy them goodwill they now entirely lack. Whatever defenses remained for Dan Quinn and company in 2019 were gone by the end of the season, but it was clear that Arthur Blank’s refusal to move on from the current regime meant they simply could not fail in 2020. Instead, they followed up a historic loss with another historic loss, and they did it on the longtime owner’s birthday. You could not script these things, and yet they continue to happen.
Injuries were a factor here, but I’m not sure knowing the Falcons were missing several starters makes you feel better about a 26-10 lead that turned into a 30-26 loss. It does nothing for me.
The Falcons are broken beyond any hope of repair at the moment. It is not likely that they simply assembled a full roster of professional football players who are snakebitten and incapable of winning, so the first step for them will be clearing out a coaching staff that had a laundry list of reasons to get this thing right and is utterly incapable of doing so. From there, the rest of the season will be spent likely losing quite a bit and figuring out which players can and cannot return during a year where the cap is expected to shrink. If they happily find their way into some wins, it’ll be even more clear that Dan Quinn just did not have the answers for a team that does have talent, however unevenly that talent performs. the team’s short-term future looks quite bleak, but putting off the reckoning to come will do nothing but make that short-term pain worse in the long-term.
The Falcons have done nothing but make deeply unpleasant history since the Super Bowl, and with each passing year it becomes more apparent even to the most diehard believers that they are incapable of anything else in their current incarnation. It’s time to make the kinds of moves that at least give the Falcons a chance of not repeating their sad, doomed recent history, and there’s no sense in waiting until they lose to the Packers to do it.