The Falcons lost to the Buccaneers Sunday in a game that was never really close; Atlanta needed a Thick Six from Marlon Davidson to even bring the score within one possession. The Falcons struggled to keep Matt Ryan clean and upright, but even when the offensive line did their job, the receiving core didn’t do their part, or Ryan took too long to get rid of the ball. There were so many different points in the game where the Falcons made mistakes, whether that be sacks, penalties, or other mental lapses. Arthur Smith could’ve called an absolutely perfect game, and they still would’ve come up short.
The Falcons have a number of issues to resolve before they can be considered contenders. The trenches need a complete rejuvenation; both the offensive and defensive lines need more top-end talent and depth pieces. The Falcons also aren’t great on the perimeter; the secondary and receiving core could use upgrading. There’s no pass rush presence, and there’s no ability to protect Matt Ryan, which will never lead to success.
The Falcons also don’t have a single bit of home-field advantage, losing every game played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season. In fact, Atlanta hasn’t won at home since November of 2020. The Falcons are winless in their last seven games in Atlanta, and Arthur Smith has yet to win a game in front of a home crowd. Technically, the Falcons are 1-5 at home in 2021, but the lone victory was a “home” game against the Jets in London. So, in actuality, the Falcons are winless under Arthur Smith in the Benz.
Out of all of these problems, the biggest one has nothing to do with the on-field product. After going to my first game under the new regime, I have come away with one conclusion: nobody cares about the Falcons in Atlanta. The dreary Sunday was met with very little energy from fans outside the few hundred in the Home Depot Backyard. The stadium’s lower bowl was half-filled, and the entire stadium might’ve been closer to 50/50 Bucs/Falcons than anyone would care to admit.
Unfortunately, fans don’t win games; players do. Even still, the fans were utterly absent from the game, which is how I imagine the rest of the home games have been. If one didn’t know anything about football, one might not be able to differentiate between the home and away team purely based on the environment. Bucs fans were just as loud as if not louder than Falcons fans on Sunday, and it is becoming increasingly clear there is an attendance problem. Arthur Smith still hasn’t earned his first victory at home, and the fans aren’t the cause of that; however, it is evident the coaching change hasn’t positively affected fan attendance.