The Falcons once again fell in a contest they should’ve won.
Coming into the weekend, Atlanta had lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but this one was much worse. At least Baker Mayfield’s team is a playoff-caliber one; Bryce Young’s Panthers are in line for the worst record in football.
Carolina has no coach, no pulse, and virtually no talent on the roster. Somehow the Falcons only mustered seven points, but the club still looked in control late in the fourth quarter.
The offense got all the way down the field with the potential to put the game on ice if they scored a touchdown. Hell, a field goal would’ve put the Falcons up four points, forcing the Panthers to score a touchdown to win.
What happened next was as predictable as a Wasp on speed — a Desmond Ridder turnover.
This season, the Falcons quarterback has six turnovers in the red zone, three fumbles and three interceptions. This one went to Xavier Woods which led to a Panthers game-winning touchdown. And what makes it worse? The lousy Carolina club is the one making jokes.
“We just knew he (Desmond Ridder) would probably give us the ball when put in those situations,” Brian Burns said.
Burns is just saying what Falcons players are probably thinking. The defense consistently came up with stops, outside of the final drive, and Ridder consistently put them in terrible positions. He rarely rewarded the defense this season when they forced turnovers. They’re only humans; there’s no way they don’t have similar thoughts as Burns, and the same could be said for the offensive side of the ball.
Players may voice their support for Arthur Smith, but I can’t recall one quote supporting their quarterback. Somehow, the Falcons are the butt of the joke in a division with a team that has only won two games. This is rock bottom. The Panthers’ only goal was to drag Atlanta with them, and they succeeded.
“Obviously, we’re not gonna clinch anything, but it feels good to mess up their Christmas,” Burns added. His teammate was on the same page. “The Falcons are going on vacation like we are,” Derrick Brown said after the game.
The Falcons have a serious issue at hand. Desmond Ridder isn’t a starting-caliber quarterback in this league, and Arthur Smith may soon be out of a job because he hitched his wagon to the third-round pick. For now, they deserved to be pointed and laughed at.
Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire