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Falcons vs. Panthers takeaways from Week 8

What did we take away besides a lousy Sunday afternoon?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

What did we take away from this past game? Headaches. Disappointment. A lot of questions. And, as we detail below, maybe some bigger picture things, as well.

This setback won’t define the season

As fans it’s hard not to get caught up in the week to week machinations of the team. Losing in the fashion the Falcons did won’t inspire confidence, but this team was always going to be a work in progress. We’ll know more about who this team is after the next few games, but the setbacks suffered today aren’t enduring...yet. With a new coaching staff and complications in player availability, challenges should be expected. The Panthers aren’t a good team, but they do have a quality defense and that was at the forefront on Sunday. Atlanta has a lot of lessons to learn but there’s reason to believe they’ll learn them and build on this disappointing loss. - David Walker

The Falcons are still the Falcons

The past three seasons—heck, the past 50-plus years—have shown us that the Falcons have and an essence that fades but cannot be destroyed. We love them regardless, but at the heart of it all is a thirst for disappointment that seems impossible to slake, and the higher we build them up the harder they let us down.

This was just a regular season loss in a season where our expectations are not stratospheric, but after some positive efforts where the offense overcome the loss of key players and the defense proved opportunistic, it was a disappointing effort. The gains the Falcons seemed to have made over the prior four weeks in terms of improved offensive line play, passing game creativity and at least a reasonable ability to punish teams for their offensive mistakes evaporated, and whether they were fundamentally illusory and the Panthers exposed that or this is just a one week rough spot, we’re in the familiar position of reeling from one disappointment and bracing for more.

Someday, the Falcons will have the team name and branding, but we’ll be able to head into winnable matchups without fearing and eventually seeing this exact outcome. That day can’t come soon enough, and hopefully the ups and downs we’ve seen and will continue to get in 2021 help us get there sooner. -Dave Choate

What an exceptionally big “oof”

The last few games the Falcons were fun, a characteristic that has been rare, if not nonexistent, since that interception bounced off of Keanu Neal’s in the playoffs. Kyle Pitts is a whole bundle of fun. The biggest question since his emergence is how will the offense adjust to extra attention being sent his way? The Panthers smartly bracketed Pitts and waited for anyone else to beat them. That’s not to put it all on the offense, but putting up 13 points at home means your team is not very good. I think this brought me and my expectations back down to earth. Pitts is great but this team needs so much more talent to be competitive. - Matt Chambers