The Falcons dug themselves into too deep of a hole to recover from in the first half of yesterday’s game, falling behind 20-3 to the Jacoby Brissett led Colts at the half. Despite a valiant comeback effort coming out of the locker room, Atlanta could not stop Indianapolis from running out the clock on the final drive, falling 27-24. The loss puts them in a tie for last place in the NFC South – not a good look when considering the expectations coming into this season and the injuries the other teams in the division have suffered.
Dan Quinn’s seat is blazing hot
There’s no way to beat around the bush regarding this topic, which is why I am leading off with it. The Falcons once again came into a hostile environment looking like they had just seen a ghost – unprepared and undisciplined – which is why they lost this game. I’ll give Quinn some credit for rallying his troops in the second half, but he’s running out of excuses. If the Falcons can’t find a way to win this division, given Cam Newton and Drew Brees are dealing with injuries, Quinn will be looking for a new job by the end of the season.
Will the real Matt Ryan please stand up
In the first half, Ryan threw another mind-boggling interception on 1st and 10, as the Falcons were moving in for a score. There was no pressure, and he tried to fit a ball into triple coverage to… Luke Stocker. That gives Ryan six interceptions already through three games. He threw seven all of last season. However, Ryan responded when the team needed him, leading the Falcons to three touchdown drives on their three second-half possessions. He was 22-for-23 with three touchdowns and 216 yards. With that Matt Ryan, the Falcons are as good as any team in the league. We will see if he can avoid those abysmal, Jameis Winston-Esque turnovers the rest of the way.
A tribute to Keanu Neal
Keanu Neal is a warrior and a bonafide football guy. I remember when Dan Quinn told him he’d be sitting out Week 1 of the preseason, and Neal was furious. Neal loves the game, and you can see it in the way he plays. Last year, he suffered a devastating ACL injury in Week 1 of the season but returned in even better shape for 2019. And yesterday, he tears his Achilles. Not only is this a brutal loss for the Falcons defense, but you feel for the guy on a personnel level. This is his livelihood, the game that he loves and works at profusely, and for the second year in a row, he will miss the majority of the season.
The mental toughness it takes to come back from one catastrophic injury is insane. Not many players can do it twice. However, Neal strikes me as somebody that is built different – both physically and mentally. I don’t think anything will stop him from returning to the football field at an elite level. We wish him the best in his recovery.
Something has to be done with these officials
I’m not one to harp on referees, but yesterday was one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve seen in my life. There were several spots for the Colts that were clearly short, yet they were handed the first downs without any measurement. Not to mention, the lopsided amount of penalties that were assessed on the Falcons. AND MY GOD, how the hell does Keanu Neal get unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing his helmet after he tore his Achilles. What a ludicrous move by the officials, and frankly, I think there should be some sort of apology issued to Neal for that sort of incompetence. Unacceptable.
Colts won the battle in the trenches
It was not a dominant effort by the Colts offensive line. The Falcons held Indianapolis to 79 yards rushing on 24 carries, but when it mattered most, Atlanta could not stop them from killing the clock on the ground. A couple of excellent play calls helped as well, but the Colts showed the Falcons the textbook version of how to close out a game. They also did a fantastic job of keeping Jacoby Brissett clean, who had possibly the best game of his career.