There is no way around the fact Steve Sarkisian entered the year on the hot seat after the Falcons massive offensive drop off from 2016 to 2017. That seat reached its hottest point after week 1 when the Falcons offense flopped on the road against the Eagles, again. The same red zone failures that plagued this team a year ago were key in the defeat, and even Sarkisian’s proudest supporters (whoever they were) had to feel a little uneasy.
The seat cooled tremendously after weeks one through four when the Falcons strung together 11 straight touchdowns in the red zone and hung up 30+ in three straight games. Surprisingly, Atlanta lost two of those games, but even Sarkisian’s most petty critic couldn’t blame him for the Falcons most recent blunders.
With that being said, since week four the Atlanta offense has been massively overrated. They put up 34 points on the Buccaneers, who have allowed 30+ points to virtually everyone this season, and put together one shining performance on the road in Washington. Outside of that, the Falcons haven’t scored more than 23 points in their five other games and have only eclipsed 20 one time. It’s not like they are playing a bunch of world-beating defenses, either, only the Dallas Cowboys rank in the top ten in terms of points per game allowed.
Once again, the red zone issues are crippling the offense, and the team as well, considering the defense can’t be expected to hold many teams under 20 points with the number of injuries they have sustained. Over their most recent three-game losing streak, the offense has failed to score altogether on half (4/8) of their trips to the red zone.
I do not want to be the one, with a pitchfork in hand, leading the charge calling for Sarkisian’s job. There was clearly a disconnect between the offense he was trying to call in 2017. The unit so far in 2018 passes the eye test and have had several showings where they are unstoppable. There is also something to say about continuity with offensive coordinators. Matt Ryan and Sarkisian should only feel more and more comfortable with each other as they move forward.
However, if Sarkisian’s seat was hot coming into the season, he is going to be judged based on his whole body of work. Simply put, there are no excuses for this offense to fail to score 20+ points in half of their games this season. The inconsistencies on a week to week basis are a major problem. Not to mention, there is going to be pressure for someone on this coaching staff to take the blame. Arthur Blank has made it evident Dan Quinn’s job is safe, as it should be, but for Sarkisian and several others on this staff, that may not prove to be true.