Live from the Dome: Falcons must fly without Julio Jones

Here's Julio, flying for some of those 259 yards. (Matt Ludtke/AP photo)

Here’s Julio, flying for some of those 259 yards. (Matt Ludtke/AP photo)

Here's Julio, flying for some of those 259 yards. (Matt Ludtke/AP photo)

Here’s Julio, flying for some of those 259 yards. (Matt Ludtke/AP photo)

The weekly active/inactive announcements aren’t often of great interest to me, for one reason: I don’t play fantasy football. (I see enough of the real kind, thanks very much.) Today it seems prudent to note that Julio Jones will not play for the Atlanta Falcons against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and this is important because, duh, he’d become the hottest receiver in the NFL.

Even before official word came, a Falcons official pointed to midfield and said: “There’s Julio. He’s standing there talking to the quarterback. He’s not running patterns. Does that tell you anything?”

I’m not saying the Falcons can’t win without Jones. The Steelers have wobbled all over creation this season. They’re 8-5, but they’re one of two teams to have lost to Tampa Bay. They’re also one of two teams to have lost to the Jets. They can be really good. Or they can stink on ice.

The early guess is that 30,000 Steelers fans will grace the Dome by kickoff. (At the moment, there are many more folks here wearing black and gold than red.) But there were a bunch of Bears fans on hand in October and how’d that turn out?

(OK. Bad example. The Falcons lost by two touchdowns. Let’s move on.)

The only reason the Falcons were competitive in Lambeau Field on Monday night was because of Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. One of those isn’t playing. This never looked to be an easy game — for these Falcons, there’s no such thing — but it just got harder.

With that, the figurative floor is open. I’ll be here until somebody wins, and I invite your company. And I thank you, as ever, in advance.

Reader Comments 0

922 comments
kevkat
kevkat

Despite Ryan and he has been bad at the wrong time, have we forgotten that Mike Smith cost the team two wins with bad coaching? We'd still be in first place alone even after this loss.

tmc
tmc

What has happened to Matt Ryan? He's looking a lot more like Matt Schuab this year...

I do appreciate MR subtle movement to get out of trouble this year. I believe he has improved in this area to really help the O-line and team... but he has also made several really bad throws resulting in picks that have killed this team.

He still throws for a lot of yards and touchdowns... but they seem to be empty stats after a really bad decision/throw & int. It also seems to be happening more and more as the season is going on.


One thing i noticed today for sure with the abscence of Julio Jones, it seemed 99% of the pass play calls were within 15 yards of the line of scrimage. THAT, is ridiculously bad play calling and the other teams seem to know it.


But the bottom line is Matt's got to get better! The o-line has, it's time for him to improve too. 

khd713
khd713

Just like last week, Ryan played a pretty good game with one glaring exception. The pick-6 was a killer, again. As fragile as this team is, there is no way they can get away with that kind of horrid mistake from their $100 million QB. I'm generally a fan of Matt Ryan and think he is a good leader and overall top-quartile NFL quarterback, but jeez he throws more inexplicable and damaging INTs than any QB I've ever seen.

shermantothesea
shermantothesea

4th and one and we never go for it cause coach wants to turn it over to the defense.  The WORST defense in the NFL.  How many games do we lose with this decision.  The season is on the line and our defense will never win a game by holding the other team in check.  Rather gamble and lose than lose for sure with our defense.

khd713
khd713

@shermantothesea Not true. He's gone for it multiple times in the past – and failed, resulting in torrents of criticism. And just last week he chose an onside kick instead of kicking deep and relying on the defense, which also caused a flood of criticism. In today's game the defense actually was playing pretty well in the second half and had just forced a punt on the previous possession. You can't have it both ways. Punting in that situation with 5:30 to go was the right call. The defense (Trufant) let the coach down.

cadet4life
cadet4life

Hey Arthur- dont you feel a little embarassed that we cannot garner any more support than what you have at the dome? I've been aATL fan over 40 years and it embarasses me to watch. Good Luck on getting the fans to the new stadium- Clean house along with a bunch of players who would rather watch than play.

C-JaySr
C-JaySr

The level of play from the team as a whole has improved and it has happened against some pretty good teams.  That is encouraging, but at the end of the day, the Falcons lack talent.  Schemes will only get them so far....and that distance could very well be far enough to earn a playoff birth.  On paper, one in it "should" be another one and done, but anything can happen in the playoffs.  My one hope is that no matter how the season ends, I believe Blank needs to make changes.  The GM's has not done a good job of drafting talent and signing free agents.  I am not going to look at Coach Smith's record this year as that's too easy.  All one has to do is go back to the winning seasons, 12-4 and 11-5 and you will still see clock management issues and the inability to adjust after halftime.  There were games they won where they were out-coached, but lady luck was on their side.  Well guess what, LL has found a new lover so talent, smarts and strategy have to take over.

TampGator1
TampGator1

Maybe Dimitroff can figure out a way to trade Falcons fans for Steeler fans....and get them to cheer for the Falcons in the Dome instead of the Steelers.  That environment in the Dome today was a total embarrassment to the city of Atlanta.  BE ASHAMED.

TampGator1
TampGator1

All you people posting complaints on here about the Falcons from your home basements while Steeler fans dominate the Dome in your own city......BE ASHAMED.  You have no right to complain about anything.  You do not support your team with your attendance.  Again....a perfect example of why the city of Atlanta has become the worst professional sports town in America. 

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

I'm not going to lionize the fairweather Steelers fans who are so mentally weak that they have to bandwagon a team with six Super Bowl rings instead of supporting the hometown club. This does not apply to the true Steelers fans who made the trek to Atlanta today. Props to them for supporting their team.

Props also to the Falcons fans who did show up to root for the home team today, even though this sad-sack bunch has given them little to cheer about over the last two years.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TampGator1

"You people"???

Ah, Mr. Condescending himself has stepped down from on high to preach to the underlings.

What an arrogant blowhard.

YOU should be ashamed. How the hell do you stand yourself?!

JSSN
JSSN

@DawgNole

Hey I thought that supposed to be my territory? ;-) Speaking of blowhards, where are ZuZu and God Almighty RangeRover?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JSSN @DawgNole

Nah, you don't hold a candle to tampongator1 in narcissistic-lying-hypocritical-blowhard territory. Don't feel bad; nobody else does either.

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

How much cap space do we have left? We should use the rest of our cap space to sign Matty overprICE to another extension so he can help us by throwing pick sixes.

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

When will the coffee boy finally come out and admit that he's a coffee boy? How long before the coffee boy destroys our next year's draft picks?

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

Don't worry, guys. Dimitroff is already hard at work scouting the best players the Big Sky Conference has to offer. Help is on the way.

JSSN
JSSN

Oh yeah, All that MAC talent came up huge!!!

UGA76
UGA76

We need to lose out so the new GM has higher draft picks to use to fix the abhorrent talent level on this team. 

TampGator1
TampGator1

@UGA76 


I also think Falcons fans need to go see the Falcons play instead of Steelers fans. 

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

where is tyson jackson and paul soliai. I want to know how exactly did they improve our defense this year.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@JSSN 


Hey, Falcons fans did not attend the game today.  But the Steelers fans sure did.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Tim Tebow has won more playoff games than Matt Ryan. That sums it up pretty good.

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Rhetoric 


Inaccurate post.  But what would you expect from a Falcons fan not at the game today.

TNScott
TNScott

Just like last week bad 1st half because of. Matt Dry Ice. Gives up a pick 6 which was the ultimate difference of the game. Dry Ice produces a lot of smoke but then disappears like a fart in the wind.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Atlanta can't keep trying to win by playing around Matt Ryan's mistake, 2 game in a row his TD-6 can't be overcome.  We are go for the4th down on the 50 kick field Goal inside the 5. Time to retire Jackson as much as I like the guy and his effort.

Fierce
Fierce

Only silver lining here is, the Falcons control their way into the Playoffs, if they win the final 2 division games. 4-0 in the division already. What a bunch of crock this season is. 

moboman
moboman

@falcon82111 I have seen rookies play with more poise, and more field smarts.  Unload him.  Tired of playing just well enough to lose.

moboman
moboman

The recurring theme -- the 100 million man loses by the pick 6

TnDawg
TnDawg

Other than Arthur Blank, who in the organization deserves to keep their job???

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TnDawg

How the hell does AB deserve to keep HIS job?!

He, after all, is the one who hired these nincompoops and continues to put up with their miserable efforts.

JSSN
JSSN

Oh yeah Mike Smith, 0-2! Where's the T-shirt! And 0-4 versus the AFC North!