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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 07:18

Falcons stumble, but no need to panic

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The Atlanta Falcons (3-2) have now dropped two consecutive games, and fans have begun to question the play calling by the new OC as well as the quarterback play, many even saying it’s time to move on from the 10-year veteran QB Matt Ryan. In my opinion, those voicing that thought are overreacting to a pair of disappointing losses.

What the losses unmasked was an offense that must be clicking on all cylinders to be successful. Neither the ground attack nor the passing game are sufficiently overpowering to win games without the counterbalance of the other. In the loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, Atlanta lost both Julio Jones and Mohammad Sanu which led to a second half effort that relied on the ground game without the threat of an effective vertical air attack. The loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 followed a very similar scenario.

While Jones played against Miami, and made some outstanding catches, he was not at 100%. Combined with the absence of Sanu to draw attention away from Jones, that lowered the effectiveness of the air game and forced the Falcons to rely on the ground game against a Dolphins defense that is one of the best against the rush.

Big yardage penalties on the Atlanta defense that extended Miami drives in the second half were also a factor, as were drops by Falcon receivers that stalled drives.

While the losses are disappointing, the reasons are clear and have less to do with Ryan’s performance (or the play calling) and more a result of the lack of a pass game at 100% that makes the run game more effective. It’s disappointing hearing the chatter from those that are ready so quickly to turn on the team after a couple of losses that were a result of a lack of a 1-2 offensive punch-not the result of a QB that is “past his time” as I have heard many say.

While a 3-2 record heading to Week 7 is not what Atlanta fans were hoping for, it’s far from a sign of the decline of the Falcons. It’s not time to panic-yet. 

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