After a month like this, you’d think about fleeing the country, too. The Atlanta Falcons have lost four consecutive games by the aggregate score of 127-68. (Not-so-fun fact: The Falcons beat Tampa Bay 56-14 in September and have still been outscored by opponents by 28 points on the season.) They’re 2-5. Not one of their losses has been by single digits.
We started off thinking (for good reason) that their defense was lousy. Now their offense is, too. They’ve scored 40 points and four touchdowns in three games. The lowest three-game output for the 2013 Falcons — who finished 4-12, you’ll recall — was 33 points against Arizona, Carolina and Seattle, but all three of those teams wound up winning at least 10 games. This brings us to the truly sobering part.
The Vikings beat the Falcons 41-28 and haven’t won since. The Giants beat the Falcons 30-20 and haven’t won since. The Bears beat the Falcons 27-13 and lost 27-14 at home to the Dolphins on Sunday. Going back to Sept. 14, the Bengals beat the Falcons 24-10 and have won once since. Since beating the Falcons, those four teams are an aggregate 1-8-1. (Guess the Ravens should be stepping lightly, huh?)
The Falcons flew to London’s Gatwick Airport after losing in Baltimore, and maybe a week spent in England will provide the bonding experience this desperate team needs. Something good better happen soon, or else what was billed as a bounceback season will continue to devolve into a collapse so comprehensive that the only men sure to be left standing in Flowery Branch will be Arthur Blank, who owns the team, and Rich McKay, who can survive anything.
At this moment, the Falcons have only two things going for them — this week’s change of scenery and the NFC South. Their division is the NFL’s worst by three miles, and never has it looked more feeble than it did Sunday. The Falcons lost by 20 in Baltimore. The Saints blew a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Lions, who’ll face the Falcons at Wembley on Sunday. The Panthers, who lead the division despite holding a .500 record, trailed 38-3 in a loss to Green Bay.
It’s possible that 8-8 could win the South. At issue is whether the Falcons can muster the 6-3 finish that 8-8 would require. Given that there are road dates at Carolina, Green Bay and New Orleans ahead, Sunday’s “home” game against Detroit qualifies as a Must Win. And here we look on the bright side: When last the Falcons won a game outside the Georgia Dome, it was also outside the United States — against Buffalo in Toronto on Dec. 1, 2013.