The final game to end the 2017 season for the Atlanta Falcons was at Lincoln Financial Field. The final playoff team to make it in the NFC had four opportunities to beat the Philadelphia Eagles inside the ten-yard line. They could not manage to figure it out and the Eagles moved onto the NFC Championship game. Last night, it was complete deja vu.
Matt Ryan led the team down the field on the final drive. With 30 seconds remaining, it was 3rd and 8 on the Eagles twenty-yard line. Ryan found Mohammad Sanu for the first down, moving the ball down to the ten-yard line with 23 seconds. Atlanta took its final timeout, and fans of both teams could not take their eyes off this game. The same result happened just like the last game of last season; the redzone offense came up short.
The Eagles played the same zone defense on each play, with seven men playing across and four men rushing the passer. I hate doing it but yet again I have to question offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. All an offense has to do is attack a middle part of the zone with two receivers, and its an easy touchdown. Instead, Sarkisian made the situation a lot harder than what it was. Yes, obviously there is pressure on you with 23 seconds with zero timeouts, but a coach should be able to make in-game adjustments to his opponents. With Sarkisian, I am not sure he is capable of making any kind of adjustments during any part of a game.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan should not be off the hook either. He finished the 21/43 with 251 yards and one interception. And no, he did not register a touchdown. With such an immaculate offense on paper, it makes you wonder how good this offense really is. To be perfectly blunt, Ryan looked awful out there on Thursday night. Ryan targeted Julio Jones ninteen times this game. NINTEEN!
While Julio Jones had a masterful performance, everyone else had a very silent part of contributing. Ryan is going to have to rely and trust his other receivers if the Falcons want to have any offensive success this season. Atlanta’s defense gave the offense more than enough opportunities with great field position to put up points. But Matt Ryan was 1-9 for three yards and an interception in the redzone. That is not just bad, that’s pathetic and dreadful for any NFL quarterback.
So unlike last year after losing to the Eagles, the Falcons still have games to play. Many will have their doubts about this team after that ugly loss, but the team just needs to get away from Philadelphia for now. The talent on the offensive side of the ball is too good to perform the way they did on last night. All eyes will be on the offense next week against the division rival Panthers.