Falcons: Defensive and offensive woes, takeaways from Week 4

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The Falcons continue to be the embarrassment of the NFL. In what was supposed to rival Los Angeles and Kansas City’s 54-51 Monday Night Football shootout, the Packers completely shut down the Falcons offense while gashing Atlanta’s defense whenever they felt like it. The Falcons started the season off 1-4 in 2018. They followed that with a 1-7 start last year. Now, once again, they are behind the eight-ball with no wins in their first four games. 

This is no longer an anomaly; it’s a trend, and there’s no reason Dan Quinn should keep his job. However, Arthur Blank may be handcuffed to him for another week due to a short week and favorable run of games coming up.

At 0-4, it’s hard to see the Falcons improving in any real capacity. Carolina once looked like a win on paper, but they seem to have turned a corner while Atlanta has only looked worse. Maybe the process of a new regime should be expedited for better preparation for next season.

Offensive Woes

The Falcons saw poor performances on both sides of the ball. In the box score, Matt Ryan had a decent game going 28 for 39 for 285 yards. However, his inaccuracy left points on the table.

Ryan missed Calvin Ridley on multiple passes — ones that would have led to large gains and even a score. After being the only receiver in the NFL to have 100 yards each game thus far, Ridley recorded no catches against Green Bay. Whether the ball was thrown too far, too low, or not at all, Ryan failed to connect with Ridley in crucial moments.

Olamide Zaccheaus ended up being the Falcons leading receiver on the night, ending the game with eight receptions for 86 yards.

Atlanta can no longer rely on making every game a shootout. Julio Jones left early with the same hamstring injury that kept him out Week 3. That left Ryan with a cast of players that could never get open. It still doesn’t take away from the fact that the former MVP missed throws downfield or failed to pull the trigger at all. 

“Not good enough, I didn’t get the job done. Ultimately, that’s all that matters,” Ryan said via the AJC.

Matt Ryan also commented on the Falcons going 3 for 12 on third down. 

“We need to do a better job of converting on our third down opportunities to keep ourselves on the field. There are a lot of things that go into that. We have to be more efficient on second down to give ourselves a better look on third down. But we have to be better on third down”

Todd Gurley also left a lot to be desired. Leading up to the game, Green Bay allowed 5.5 yards per carry. While Gurley was effective in the red zone, scoring twice, he looked slow and worn down everywhere else, finishing the game with just 57 yards on 16 carries. 

The Falcons defense was doomed from the start

On the flip side, the Falcons defense was outclassed. For whatever reason, they refused to try and cover backup tight end Robert Tonyan, who was one of Rodgers’ primary targets with the Packers’ two top receivers missing due to injuries. 

Tonyan ended the day with six receptions for 98 yards and three scores. No team should be bullied by a fringe practice squad player, but that seems to be a staple of Dan Quinn defenses. 

When you assess this defensive performance, you can’t overlook how decimated this Falcons secondary was. Going into the game, the Falcons were missing Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen, Darqueze Dennard, and AJ Terrell. By halftime, the Falcons lost Damontae Kazee and Jaylinn Hawkins. 

Still, the lack of understanding of where to be on each play was unacceptable. You can’t keep bringing injures into the long list of excuses applied to Dan Quinn’s tenure. Every team has injures, and every team has to adjust. The Falcons just seem to do it worse than everyone else.


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