No offense: The Falcons sputtered when it counted

Says it all, does it not? (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

Says it all, does it not? (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

These short takes are presented as an adjunct to the Falcons-Colts game column, which can be found here. The Falcons lost 24-21 after leading 21-7. They’re 6-4 after starting 5-0.

1. After taking a 14-point lead midway through the third quarter, the Falcons managed three first downs and 66 yards on seven possessions. This is how those drives ended: Punt, fumble (on the first play), punt, interception (on the first play, returned 6 yards for the tying touchdown), punt, punt, interception. Yes, they were missing Devonta Freeman, lost in the first quarter after sustaining a concussion. Still, this is a team with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. This team, playing at home against the NFL’s 28th-ranked defense, didn’t advance past the Indianapolis 40 on its final seven possessions. That’s terrible. The Falcons tried to tweak their offense over the bye week — they ran the occasional hurry-up set, to no effect — but you wouldn’t have known it from this.

2. We can’t say that the Falcons have been unlucky. On the contrary, this marked their fourth (of 10) games against a backup quarterback. They’re 2-2 in those, having suffered consecutive losses against San Francisco and the just-promoted Blaine Gabbert and Indy and the 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck. They’ve had the NFL’s softest schedule, and through five games they made hay of it. They’ve since lost four of five, and matters are about to toughen. Their next three games are against Minnesota, which leads the NFC Central; Tampa Bay, which has risen to 5-5, and Carolina, which hasn’t lost.

3. Roddy White lives! And makes catches! The forgotten former Pro Bowler was targeted three times on the Falcons’ first series, catching one pass. On the day, he was targeted nine times — second-most among Falcons to Julio Jones’ 15 — and caught four passes. (Ryan’s first interception touched White’s hands before it was snagged by former Falcon Dwight Lowery.) But here’s the downside: Those four receptions netted 24 yards. Of the Falcons’ 25 completions, only Jones had a catch of more than 18 yards. There’s really only one downfield threat on this roster, and he can’t catch everything. Though fullback Pat DiMarco did slip scandalously uncovered into the end zone for the Falcons’ first touchdown. That was a nice wrinkle. DiMarco also caught a second touchdown pass. Maybe he’s the new Tony Gonzalez.

Reader Comments 0

49 comments
papadeddy
papadeddy

All I know is there is a sore somewhere in this team whether it be JJ RW or even a coach and until Quinn cuts it out Mr. Blank will cut him.

cobeacJack
cobeacJack

HEY MARK -  remember your blog 5 weeks ago "Book it" Falcons are going to the playoffs - and I said then to put down the vodka you are jinxing the birds. Jinx or not it was way too early and proud for a team with a history of folding.

ugasad
ugasad

Blank replaced his wife for a newer model, why can't he do that with the players and the executive team. Oh the heck with it all, even Blank needs to be gone.

LoMoney
LoMoney

@ugasad with all his money, arthur could have gone a lot hotter and younger than this 30 something chick. What  gives???

RoswellJ
RoswellJ

Ryan is horrendous!!!!!!!! Our season is over!  This QB needs to be benched! $100m bust. The only way Arthur will get this, is for the dome to empty next home game! Quinn is a defense coordinator, not head coach quality! I would trade Ryan for Hasselback even up right now!!! No mobility, no vision and no arm strength!!!

LoMoney
LoMoney

@RoswellJ arthur makes millions if the team sucks or not from all the tv/media money, naming rights, merchandise, ... ---- keep the money coming in chumps---he's got expensive tastes!!!

gditty
gditty

Cam Newton has a patch work offensive line, his receivers would not make 2nd string with the Falcons, also the Falcons have a better RB.....but when you add Ryan's name to this equation....why do we make excuses for one, but not the other? How much more talent would you have to place around Ryan and how much money would it take to make Ryan better than Cam?

sacks
sacks

Think about this..If AB & TD had made Ryan play out the option year of his contract, Guess where Ryan would be right now? ON HIS WAY OUT OF TOWN ON A GREY-HOUND!!!

Once again, front office falls in love with a player-coach type and they REFUSE to pull the trigger until it's way past too late!!

Now, we the fans are STUCK with this worthless heap of a mess known as Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Hankerson,Jake,Vic,

and Shannahannahannan!!  Why do we keep picking up the garbage of the NFL and convincing ourselves that we can get a year or two's production out of them?

White and Ryan are at least 2 years past their prime..Both have been going nowhere fast!  I will give you 5 Ryan's and 5 White's

for 1 Jamis Winston straight up!!

What do you think Ryan and White will bring on the trade block?  Absolutely  nothing!!

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

What happened to chopp?  Did the Falcons ticket office fire everyone since PSL sales are impossible after ANOTHER loss like this?  Back to work, pork chopp!

SaintsFkngCheaters
SaintsFkngCheaters

Matt Ryan was outplayed by a 40 year old back up QB. That tells you all you need to know about our chances going forward.

Big Wally
Big Wally

If a Shanahan or a Shottenheimer is your OC, your offense is going to suck.

SaintsFkngCheaters
SaintsFkngCheaters

I see only 1WIN the rest of the way. This is a POORLY COACHED group of pathetic losers. The Panthers will destroy this team. Matt Ryan is finished in this league. He is the MAIN REASON we are losing along with the horrible, predictable paly calling.

LoMoney
LoMoney

@SaintsFkngCheaters relax---dan used to coach in seattle and thomas used to be with new england! they know all the tricks!!

rockinreel
rockinreel

MY TAKES:

1. Shanahan should be blamed for most of the offensive woes.  Throwing the ball over the nose tackle to Freeman the first five games was a sure 10+ yards.  Haven't done it once since the losing streak started.

2.  Opposing defenses have our offensive playbook figured out.  Again, Shanahan.

3. Why would you even sign "I drop half the balls thrown to me" Hankerson.  He was like that with the Redskins.  Why do you think they got rid of him?


4.  If you are a smart OC, Why would you have Hankerson, who can't catch over Hardy or Nick Williams.

5.  Nick Williams has made some impressive catches for us on third and long.  Have we used him during this losing streak?  ...to surprise the defense?  NO!  You play people who can get open and catch the ball,   See Patriot football.

6.  Why is it that every time Ryan thows to a receiver, they are NEVER EVER wide open except for Patrick Dimarco.  Even Julio is hardly open.  Freeman and Dimarco are the only ones, who sneak thru the defense and get open.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Ryan's arm is shot.  Can't throw the ball down field any more.  Yet, I bet the talking heads on the radio will still be blaming someone else.

HelloMarty
HelloMarty

The main reason the Falcons blow leads or just stink the place up is the guy who wears #2 plays like #2! For whatever reason King Arthur wants to pay his mediocre QB's like the QB stars in the league (remember #7's contract). Well Matty Ice is more like Maty Mauk!  If it weren't for his interceptions he would not have any leading (MOST) stats!

Accept if Falcons fans, Blank again wrote a Blank check for an average, at best, QB!

ftputt
ftputt

This offense doesn't fit Matt Ryan.  He used to throw into space and the WR would go to the ball.  Now he is trying to throw to someone with a small window.  He doesn't have the arm for that.  How is Tampa's offense doing?  Pretty well, don't ya think?  Too bad we dump the old OC.

RoseUp
RoseUp

It's time to admit that Matt Ryan is not the franchise quarterback the Falcons thought he was. It's true that they have never given him a decent offensive line to work behind, despite the fact that he is strictly a pocket passer; but even if he did have time to allow his receivers to get downfield, he can't throw it that far anyway. Yesterday's Hail Mary pass was pathetically short of the goal line. And his decision making is often terrible. The pick-6 yesterday was the turning point. I'm not saying there are any options out there to replace him right now. But the team needs to start thinking about drafting a quarterback soon.

Intruder
Intruder

Underperfomers. Ryan, Beasley White, Hankerson, the offensive line, any blitzing linebacker, and whoever the coach is who doesn't tell Weems to never return a ball that is kicked into the end zone.

LoMoney
LoMoney

hopefully Atl can upset a couple of teams and make the playoffs somehow. I need a drink!

jpfromtheA
jpfromtheA

I've not been a Ryan fan since he was drafted but I wasn't calling for his replacement... until now!  He really is a big part of the problem on offense!  

OH:IO
OH:IO

Bradley's on a Debbie Downer roll

saneman
saneman

Matt Ryan is a joke. Roethlisberger has Antonio Brown  putting up record numbers while Ryan can't even get close with Julio JOnes. If a guy of Antonio Brown's size is uncoverable, why is it that the Falcons cna't do as much damage with Jones as their main WR?  

HootyGoot
HootyGoot

We need a new quarterback............period!

Falcons2013
Falcons2013

Lost 4 out of 5 to saints Bucs,49ers and colts and let's face it lucky to have beaten Tn. Wheels are off. That was soft part of schedule with exception that jags are still out there. Team is going nowhere but good to know we held onto dimitroff. Anyone want to finance a PSL.

Happy_Smith
Happy_Smith

WTF Kyle Shanahan! Yeeeee....UH!  Let's line up on Play # 1 and throw 3 times to Roddy, regardless if he was the best target!! the whole idea is to direct the ball to guy who is open at the best position on the filed.  Intentionally throwing to Roddy just for the rferk of it is no better than always targeting Julio.

... and why after buildin a 14 pt lead.. why don't we line up and lean on Coleman to Run!!  It's called Clock Mgmnt!!!  Nah... Let's throw it to the other team from our own 1 yd line!!!!  Holy $h!t!!!  Play Calling SUX!!!

Send Shanahan back to his daddy!!!  He needs a spanking!! DQ!!  Wake the F up!!  BLOCK, Tackle, and RUN the ball!!!!



Morning Dew
Morning Dew

Matt Ryan needs to be benched! His timing is off; has cold feet; inconsistent passing techniques; and unable to avoid the defense. Falcons will continue to lose, even though we some some of the best receivers and running backs. One player does make a large difference; especially since they are the QB. 

Susan89
Susan89

I was rooting for the Colts. I'm happy they won. 

atlfalconno1fan
atlfalconno1fan

Matt Ryan needs to go fast..he has regressed terribly..his window of opportunity has come and gone he acts  timid and fearful.and has no guts..trade him dump his huge salary that he doesn't deserve..he has lost all 4 games with rookie mistakes..he makes way to much money for pee wee league play

turftoe
turftoe

It looks like roddy and matt are drinking out of the same bowl!

bigeasy830
bigeasy830

I called Matt Ryan "Noodle Arm" when the Falcons drafted him. It took 8 years but looks like the rest of the fans finally understands what I was talking about. Matt Ryan cannot make plays with his arm. Sometimes a strong armed QB can get the ball to a receiver through a tight window or just make an unbelievable throw because he has a good arm, like Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, etc.. Matt Ryan cannot do that. Ryan was a technician but he has regressed, now he stares down one receiver and won't look for his second option. His biggest problem though is not his arm strength it's his heart. He plays like he's scared. He has happy feet when there is no pressure. Ben Rothlisberger hangs in there under pressure and delivers the ball. Matt Ryan gets happy feet and we all know if he cannot set his feet he doesn't have the arm strength to muscle the ball down field. The Falcons will never win a Super Bowl with a noodle arm coward as their QB.

RoseUp
RoseUp

@bigeasy830 Your observations are accurate, but I wouldn't have ended the comment by calling him a coward. That was pretty harsh and uncalled for.

almmanduane75
almmanduane75

@bigeasy830 That is one of the most ignorant posts ever and shows how little you know about sports.

LoMoney
LoMoney

no worries---thomas is working a new deal to trade 6 more draft picks for another wide receiver!! julio getting old!!

Big Wally
Big Wally

It's time for the media to start calling out Ryan.  His lack of arm strength is clear.  His passes are hanging in the air way too long, which allows the defense to close in on the receivers when the ball arrives.  Everyone else sees this, but the media will keep protecting him and blame something else.

Peachy99
Peachy99

Matt Ryan is the problem.  He gets worse each week.  He has to go and Shanahan can go right along with him. I was not impressed with Coleman today either. 

khd713
khd713

Mike Smith leads team to FIVE consecutive winning seasons. Then, GM fails to bolster defense or offensive line, and team suffers devastating injuries to Julio Jones and several O-line starters, and not surprisingly the Falcons suffer through two consecutive losing seasons. Owner's solution is not to find GM who will strengthen defense and O-line, but to fire head coach and his staff. New coach has improved defense, but, meanwhile, offensive line continues to be a disaster, game-management continues to be a disaster, offensive play calling, especially in the red zone, is a mystery and a huge disappointment, franchise quarterback looks completely lost, team looks completely unprepared as it fumbles and throws away key possession after key possession, and even the most money field goal kicker in the history of the franchise is off his game. Nice going, Arthur. It's your team, but if I were you I'd be on the phone to Mike Smith right now begging him to come back, and looking for a new GM. You might consider keeping Quinn as D-coordinator. That seems to be about the only thing he knows how to handle.

GeorgiaBugman
GeorgiaBugman

Falcons had us all believing after 5 games but seems the rest of the league figured them out. My observations (just 2) from today:


1. The O-line is a sieve.


2. Matt Ryan has been awful (I hate saying that, been an advocate since he got here). He is not seeing wide open players and continues to force balls where he shouldn't.


Best o luck finishing above .500 gents.

Falcons2013
Falcons2013

From 5-0 to maybe 8-8. They are a bottom five team. Playing weak schedule and back up QBs they have been awful and coaching timid. Still can't forgive field goal on fourth and one at goalline against 49ers. Figure losses twice to panthers and loss to Vikings and at least one to Bucs or Saints. Collapse against worst teams in league. And Ryan falling apart is reminiscent of Matt Schaub with Houston.

pride
pride

What I learned:

1) Ryan can't throw the ball more than 50 yards = injured arm

2) Hankerson is anything but clutch

3) The coaching staff is just plain dumb - trying to run the last kickoff out of the end zone as just one example

4) Shanahan has coached his offense to a hair under mediocre

5) Small running backs who can't stand up to the NFL's physicality, pass rushers who can't rush and head coaches who can't put a supporting coaching cast together and an owner who keeps listening to people with little ability to judge talent.

6) Money can't buy everything

ElroyJetson
ElroyJetson

@pride And don't forget about AB's MiniMe Dummytroff in his ear and glued to his side.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The Falcan'ts were overrated after a few games of playing losing teams.  Coleman is a steep downgrade from Freeman for some reason.  They seem to have about the same size and speed, but Freeman has better balance and vision.  


Ryan has been overrated since coming to the Falcons. 


The three targets to Roddy just seemed silly, like they were trying to say to the fans, "see we haven't forgotten Roddy".  That was so disingenuous it was a travesty.  Two of the three first targets were forced, as if they wanted more to make a point than actually move the ball.  Ryan then returned to his one look to the primary target and then panic.  Significant upgrades are needed on the OL and the DB positions before they will be a legitimate playoff team.

TGT88
TGT88

The media needs to be asking the Falcons' front office the same questions asked of the UGA athletic dept. (concerning Richt): Do they believe they can win a championship with Ryan at the helm? 


Supposedly, UGA's AD, McGarity, requires all of his coaches to set championships as their goals (not that it has worked very well!). Is the same being done with the Falcons (and other Atl/GA franchises)? 

Third-down
Third-down

@TGT88  I can answer that for you....NO!  Matt Ryan will never win a NFC Championship for the Falcons; never mind a super bowl. Yet, Cam Newton will win a NFC and Super bowl championship this season.