The Falcons had every opportunity to take a stranglehold on the division, but the Buccaneers escaped Atlanta with a victory and now sit atop the NFC South thanks to a tiebreaker in the conference.
Drake London had his best game as a pro, hauling in 10 passes for 172 yards, and Mike Evans had one of his worst days against the Falcons. A.J. Terrell mainly held him in check, which is a stark contrast from the typical Evans outing against Atlanta.
What bit the club in its butt was how many points the team left on the field. By my count, the Falcons left at least 12 and one could argue even more.
What will get most of the headlines is Younghoe Koo uncharacteristically missing two field goals. The usual reliable Koo missed a pair of 50+ yard attempts, leaving six points on the field. It very well could’ve been the difference in the contest.
However, on the club’s opening drive, the Falcons left four more points on the field. Instead of ending with a touchdown, they settled for a field goal. Desmond Ridder missed a wide-open Bijan Robinson in the flat; it was a throw he should’ve made. That’s another four points left out there.
Then, on the following drive, the Falcons were backed up in their own endzone. Keith Smith missed a block, but Ridder held on to the ball way too long, resulting in a safety that very well could’ve been a touchdown. Last week, Arthur Smith ran the ball inside his own five-yard line; the Jets forced a safety. This week, he went with a pass, but it netted the same result.
It’s a difficult pill for the team to swallow. They let one get away yesterday, and it would have given them a commanding lead in the NFC South with just four games left to play. Now, the Falcons must regroup and get ready for another divisional contest on the road against the Panthers. It’s a terrible feeling for fans and players alike, but everything still remains in front of them as they aim to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.