If Matty Ice isn’t on fire, the Falcons are doomed

Antone Smith makes another play. (Bill Kostroun/AP photo)

Antone Smith makes another play. (Bill Kostroun/AP photo)

Antone Smith makes another play. (Bill Kostroun/AP photo)

Antone Smith makes another play. (Bill Kostroun/AP photo)

East Rutherford, N.J.

These short takes off the Falcons-Giants game are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. The Falcons lost 30-20, in case you haven’t heard.

1. The Atlanta Falcons cannot win if Matt Ryan is only pretty good. For a while, this seemed another those vintage Matty Ice games in a season that has already yielded two (the overtime victory over New Orleans and the blowout of Tampa Bay). He completed 17 of his first 21 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. He would complete 12 of his final 24 for 150 yards, 74 of those coming on a dump pass that Antone Smith turned into a touchdown. Ryan said the Falcons never got into a rhythm in the second half, and he conceded he was as culpable as anybody. Trailing by 10 points with 20 minutes left, the Giants began to overwhelm the Falcons’ jerry-built offensive line, which hadn’t fared badly in the first half. The game’s biggest play — the Falcons went for it on fourth-and-1 at their 29 with 4:40 remaining — featured the Giants’ only sack.

2. Julio Jones: Where’d he go? The great receiver caught eight passes for 88 yards in the first half and had the MetLife Stadium patrons groaning over the Giants’ inability to cover him. He caught three passes for 17 yards in the second half. “I don’t think it was by design,” Ryan said, but the Falcons’ offense — which entered the game ranked first in the NFL — mustered only two first downs on its first six series of the second half. (One by penalty, the other on Smith’s catch-and-run.) The Giants’ manpower advantage wore on an O-line that was already threadbare, and by game’s end there was nothing left.

3. About Antone Smith, even Arthur Blank may be wondering. When coach Mike Smith was asked if the Falcons plan to give the productive bit player more touches, Smith’s boss laughed out loud. (Not-so-wild guess: Blank might have brought up the matter in one of his weekly meetings with the team’s upper crust.) Said Smith: “We need to have more plays designed for Antone. When he touches the ball, he makes plays … I know everybody likes Antone. We like Antone a whole lot as well. We have to make sure that we get our playmakers the ball.”

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173 comments
StevenWicinski
StevenWicinski

Would someone that knows Arthur Blank please tell him to get the hell off th field during the game! What purpose does that serve? Except TV face time.. He is embarassing himself, the team, the city and the fans. Just like Jerry Jones, Al Davis and Dan Shynder. I.E. (pushing soon to be felon Michael Vick around in a wheelchair). He needs to spend time with his scouts watching prospects. Yes Vick was exciting but, I would have rather had L. Tomlison.... Mora, Petrino, long term deal for Mattie "icecube" Ryan... He threw 22 picks his senior year and that was in the ACC.. Blank may know Hardware, but he does not know how to run a NFL team.... Good thing we are getting a new billion dollar stadium that we don't need or want... I guess a billion dollars is worth saying "Hey Jerry Jones, mine is bigger than yours...". Too bad someone can't watch him work, and fire him... At least Atlanta will be first in something. THE MOST EXPENSIVE EMPTY SEAT in all of Sports

Tvshooter
Tvshooter

With all the talk about Antone Smith....the guy has been on the team since 2010. After the end of this season I would expect he's a free agent. Curious when his contract is up? The way he's been playing, someone will pay the man. Even though the Falcons can't figure out how to get him in the game (hint: wherever you see in the playbook "S Jackson", cross that out and write "A Smith").

cspecial
cspecial

what got them beat was the defense once again. even though they blew chances with stupid play calling inside the red zone and good field position, the defense don"t seem to know their purpose.that is, to tackle the ball carrier. they sit there stupidly tackling or play grab butt with the blocker and all they had to do was tackle  and stop the person carrying the ball but they end up either tackling the blocker instead of the ball carrier or not even seeing the ball carrier.i wonder do they know or work on these things in practice?.they sits there and wait on the ball carrier instead of breaking down, chopping their feet and exploding into the ball carrier.all of this goes back to the defensive coordinator. he has people ion defense whos scared to hit. he needs to weed these people out. they had no business losing to the giants not the vikings.mike smith don"t fight for his team.hes allowing officials to take his games. he just sits there smiling and let them have their way cheating his team.he will be smiling out the door if hes not careful.oh well, hope they will play better this week if they care about the season and the playoffs.they scored enough to win yesterday but they need a killer instinct and better play calling on offense.

Terrytime
Terrytime

FALCONS DEFENSE NEW NICKNAME IS THE CHIC-FIL-A DEFENSE...CLOSED ON SUNDAYS!

TheOldMan
TheOldMan

You could survive the crappy o-line with a decent defense and vice versa.  You can't survive both.  Its all on TD.  He picked them all.  Did well on skill offense and the DBs.  The rest stink.

csamuels45
csamuels45

I know  Atlanta things look blink they look like 3-13 or 4-12 but wait... This is the NFL who knows ... Sometimes things get worse before they can get better. The team is down but not out. 

featherly
featherly

I'm gonna make a case for Matt Ryan and say give him 120 million more in the bank, and he WILL perform at a higher level than now.  My reasoning is that with the lack of talent he's surrounded by after he's ostracized himself from decent performers that management can't afford to pay for courtesy of a "loaded" down qb (once again), his survival instinct will finally kick in and he'll possibly play with enough passion to run for the 1st, & get you more than the 3 TDs against teams who are actually playing at a professional level (Bucs did not count).  One thing I gotta give him-- he knows when the BIG GAMES are... CONFERENCE GAMES at HOME. Nothing else. Prediction, 3-13.


Antone, great play, but you can't reel in a a 74 yarder on every play.  Defensive schemes will be more focused on you and bring you to modest yardage once you become a regular on this team.  Keep your head up, and legs ready!

csamuels45
csamuels45

@featherly  Well with that record, Smitty and Thomas are gone. Blank will not have it PERIOD

csamuels45
csamuels45

Ever since the Texan preseason game, I knew we were in trouble on both lines. I am tried of losing and I feel sorry for Ryan because he is doing the best he can.

csamuels45
csamuels45

Poor coaching staff  is the BIGGEST  problem

csamuels45
csamuels45

We just need a new Head Coach and General Manager. John Gurden  will be great in Atlanta. This team is better than 2-3. Get rid of Mike Nolan too because he does not  know what he is doing. Sad mess just sad all of that talent

Falcants1970
Falcants1970

@csamuels45  No Gruden! He won the SB with Dungy's players in TB. After he was in charge for a few years, TB went downhill. Hire Cowher and a GM that actually knows football!

PeteMTL
PeteMTL

Have the Falcons converted a fourth and one in the last 5 years ?

Is Robert Alford NFL caliber ? 

Is Arthur having nigntmares about PSL sales for 2017 ?





csamuels45
csamuels45

@PeteMTL Alford is only good as Defensive Line. You can cover and cover but a QB having that kind of time can only hurt a Secondary

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

The Falcons have a history of not recognizing their talent...Brett Farve, Deion Sanders...


If Blank was still running Home Depot and he put men like TD and Smitty as his #2 and 3 men to run the company, then HD would've been bought out by Ace Hardware by now or gone out of business.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

Start A. Smith over Jackson. the worst we could do is lose. Nothing smitthy hasn't seen before.

falcons11
falcons11

the subject of the Julio Jones draft is commendable but, the Falcons have had plenty chances to  get qualified free agents, I'm talking big name free agents. Remember , this is  Atlanta. It doesn't matter  which pro team it is..they will not spend money on the BIG free agents. They try home grown, but ever since the past no Atlanta team has brought in a  bonafied free agent unless they have gotten too old. Face it. what-ever the reason , The Falcons, Hawks, and especially the Braves are content on bring in names, not talent


MarktheShark
MarktheShark

Falcons have pass rush to slow down opposing QB.  No rushing D either.  Below average running game  So unless Falcons' passing game is extraordinary, they stand little chance of winning any game.

reckingball
reckingball

It is hard for the QB to be "on fire" when the OLine is incapable of giving him enough time to wait for his receivers to get open.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@reckingball A headline worthy of the Enquirer or Weekly World News...Maybe 'batboy' can play OG...

Ruffski
Ruffski

@reckingball Matty Ice will spend the rest of the season running for his life. Da Bears will bring some pressure for sure. Let's see if the Falcons can adjust.

csamuels45
csamuels45

@reckingball There is nothing Ryan can do with no protection. If they can get a Online and Pass Rush this is probably the best team in the lead

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

The Falcons rebuilding continues.  Sorry I sound like a broken record but due to the Julio Jones trade, 2012 was "the shot".  The Falcons have been in rebuilding mode since then.


Matthews was a good pick last year and the Falcons need to hit on more 1st round future pro bowlers.


Here's my Falcons 1st round wish list taken from ESPN's latest draft prospect rankings:


Leonard Williams DE USC
Leonard Floyd OLB UGA
Vic Beasley DE Clemson
Mario Edwards Jr. DE FSU

And if all else fails...

Todd Gurley RB UGA


There are quite a number of bad teams in the NFL this year so the Falcons will probably draft lower than #6.  I wouldn't mind seeing them go bold and trade the 2016 #1 and a veteran for someone's 2015 #1 so that we have two 1st round picks in 2015.  I think I'd rather seem them break in two high potential impact rookies next year rather than continuing to stagger them each year.  Taking any 2 of the above would be pretty sweet actually.

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

@DawgnIT


Horrible trade. Falcons had too many holes to fill along both lines to give away a draft for a WR, no matter how good Julio is. Mr Fantasy Football (Dimitroff) thought the Birds were one player away. LOL

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

@LakeDawg @DawgnIT Agreed.  I like Julio but I also like many other players in the NFL who don't play for the Falcons.


The Falcons were probably 1 player away, that player wasn't a WR though.  Any quality defensive upgrade might have been enough in 2012 but we'll never know.


The more I think about it, drafting a stud pass rushing DE and OLB in the 2015 1st round is the ticket for hope!

Trainer2013
Trainer2013

Dimitrioff might have the power to call the shots for building the roster. But if Smitty doesn't have the balls to weigh in and demand the players he wants to coach, he isn't much of a man OR a coach.


Smitty & Dimitrioff?


They gone.

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

@Trainer2013


I've always wondered if Smith had a say in the draft or if he was a good company man and just accepted the player evaluations. Either way Smith is as much to blame as Dimitroff. And Blank as well.

reckingball
reckingball

@Trainer2013

It's Dimitroff. Should Smith resign if Dimitroff doesn't give into his demands? I don't think that it works that way.

Trainer2013
Trainer2013

A. Blank is a business man. He doesn't want to open a new, expensive, not needed stadium with a losing team. This is Atlanta. Other than a few thousand die hards, the stadium would be mostly empty.


Maybe in the modern NFL, you don't really need actual people in the stands to make a team work financially. But in person or on TV, a losing team is a bad image, and that image will eventually impact A. Blank's bottom line. Blank is a successful man. He wants a successful team.


Coach Smitty? Nice guy. Good coach. He has proven he is NOT a great coach. He DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO MAKE GAME DAY ADJUSTMENTS. Making the right adjustments during a game is what separates good coaches from great ones.


He gone.


Dimitrioff? He's been here long enough doing what he does to show his abilities. He hasn't put together a good team on both sides of the ball during his tenure.


He gone.


I suspect A. Blank will make some BIG changes by the middle of this season. He'll do it so he can get the jump on next season and start rebuilding this franchise for its transition to the new stadium.


Last point: Coach Smitty only looks like a great coach when you put his record up against the horrible record of this franchise. The Falcons are arguably one of the 2 or 3 worse franchises in NFL history. Compare his record to that of coaches in other franchises and Smitty is just a average or below average coach.


Mark, get your pen ready. Big changes ahead.

Ruffski
Ruffski

I'll believe it when I see it...

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

The Falcon's can't win with the current GM in charge.  How many of his draft choices are playing every Sunday ? 


How does a team get so many Draft busts on Defense ?

turftoe
turftoe

we will continue to see the same results as lone as Mr Blank owns the team! The fans and the media need to put pressure on  Blank to put a better product on the field. things are never going to change! until we demand it!

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Mark Bradley - Your ? 3 is the reason Coach Mike Smith will be fired at the end of the season, if you lie to Arthur Blanks he will no longer have trust in you, Coach Smith continue to lie to the media and every body by saying we will give Antone more touches, LOL!!!!!!!!!!


ANTONE SMITH 4 TOUCHES AND ONE FOR A 70YARD TD.


Why can't Coach Smith started Jackson at Fullback and started Antone at Tailback, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.


STARTED ANTONE SMITH, WITH DEVONTA AND QUIZZ BACKING HIM UP.


MOVE JACKSON FB SINCE COACH SMITH SO OBSESSED WITH HIM.


GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bowfan
bowfan

The Giants are a physically dominating team, unfortunately I didn't feel that we would be able to beat them.  But ... we were actually in it, not completely blown out until the 4th qtr.  That's the plus I take away from the game, a little ray of hope  Falcons played them better than NYG's last two opponents.

Seems like our def backs are all undersized, and unless we get pressure on the other team's QB, they are doomed to fail no matter how fast they may be.  I was never a fan of MeAngelo.Hall, though speedy and he played well after leaving. But watching #23 Alford running down Jerious Wright (fastest 40 of SEC NFL combine) of Minn - Wow!  that WAS impressive Hats off to him!  

Are opposing QBs picking on #21 more than our other guys?  I just wonder why we haven't got some bigger backs like Seattle or Minn have.  Those guys in the Minn game covered our receivers like big and tall shadows.

Does TD have some complex that wont allow him to sign some defensive guys with size? I'm sure there's a joke there somewhere

Anyway, the upside is our next 3 or 4 games look winnable at this point.  Enough rambling for now.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Have you seen the new television shows that recently premiered?

The first one is a new show called "Softish" starring the Atlanta Falcons.

The second one is a remake of an old show, "Clueless", starring Mike Smith

crd617
crd617

We will continue to see the same results as long as dummytrof and smithless are at the helm....... 


slydawg
slydawg

When it comes to Soliai and T. Jackson, they are doing their jobs by taking up blockers so that the linebackers can run free to make plays. They are not pass rushing defensive tackles. Problem is, the Falcons don't have Terrell Suggs, Daryl Smith, Bart Scott, Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Chris McAllister,and Ed Reed. That's a huge talent gap. Who were the defensive coaches? Mike Smith, Nolan, and Rex Ryan.

DealMe
DealMe

AtL's in the weakest division in football---new orleans barely beat lowly tampa and carolina is not that good.  Atl will win this division by 2 games.  

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@harworkinman @LostGoat 

Agreed, though all the teams are horrible in the NFC South - Seattle won their division a couple of years ago at what, 7-9 - I just don't see the Birds winning 7 games!

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

@LostGoat Falcons will go 2-4 in the division.  Panthers sweep while Tampa and NO get their split at home.

csamuels45
csamuels45

@LostGoat You are right..I think if Atlanta can hang close they can win this divison

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Well it is time to realize the truth, Defense wins in the NFL, and all the money given to the offensive side of the ball, has the Falcon's losing most close games in the end.



jimbroski23
jimbroski23

I'm sorry, but couldn't this same headline be written about any team in the NFL: "If Rodgers isn't clicking... If Brees has a bad day... If Luck isn't lucky..."???

Not that the other comments aren't legitimate. Especially about the play calling.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@jimbroski23 Yep,the Headline is pandering to the Fan Base's obsession with Ryan's big contract. It could indeed apply to any QB and any team in the NFL. Ryan did fine,the game was lost due to poor playcalling and a countinued lack of halftime adjustments,but thats not as sexy or buzzworthy as dangling the carrot about Ryan...

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

If you can't get a yard or two you can't win.  I count at least 5 times we failed on short yardage.

Ruffski
Ruffski

The defense played better this week, but we're not good enough to compete each week. You can't go for it on 4th down from the your 29 with 4+ minutes left. At least change field position and give the defense a chance to make a big play, or allow NY to make a mistake. The play sealed the game for NY. Horrible play call right there. I agree that Antone Smith must get more touches each week. It's probably about time for Jackson to get injured anyway.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

In the second half when the Giants dial up the pressure, Dirk koetter play calling was horrible. I didn't see Weems or Dimarco catch one ball out in the flat. In the red zone--- I didn't see Toillolo a part of the offense. Why is it on the road Matt Ryan can't seem to get it done.? Roddy White wasn't a compliment to Julio Jones yesterday. He has separation problems. Why didn't Mike Smith step in and say something about the play calling, when it was obvious the offense was stagnate. Goodman, Massaquoi , Stanley M. and Kroy Bierman are stealing a check. You get no production from these players. Passing the ball on third  and one or fourth in one--- without running the ball, won't cut it. There will be no playoffs, if you can't win on the road. Alford needs to work on his technique, he was out of position on that 15 yarder to Odell Beckham. Why didn't Antone Smith get more touches? The Falcons two free agents Jackson and Solia are average at best --- they have to get lucky to get a sack. Even if this team steam rolls the Bears come Sunday, I won't be saying this team has rebounded. Because guest what, you got to get back on the road. Where you've lost ten straight.