The Falcons suffer a Sunday setback, in more ways than one

Philadelphia Eagles' Ryan Mathews (24) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Much happening here, the winning TD included. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFC South by 1 1/2 games over the Buccaneers, with whom they’ve split, and the Saints, against whom they’re 1-0. They’re 2 1/2 games ahead of the Panthers, against whom they’re also 1-0. Division-wise, Sunday’s loss in Philadelphia didn’t hurt all that much.

We say again: This year is not last year. The Falcons were also 6-4 after 10 games in 2015, but Carolina was then undefeated. Before Sunday’s games, Football Outsiders gave these Falcons an 86.1 percent chance of winning their division. They lost, but so did the Saints (on a blocked PAT that was returned for the winning points) and the Panthers (after blowing a 17-point lead). Only the Bucs helped themselves, but Tampa Bay entered play yesterday with a 1.2 percent chance of winning the South.

Which isn’t to say there wasn’t damage inflicted Sunday. The NFC teams most apt to claim the two Round 1 byes are the Cowboys, the Seahawks and the Falcons. All played difficult road games Sunday. Only the Falcons lost. Dallas won in Pittsburgh on Ezekiel Elliott’s touchdown run at 0:09. Seattle won at New England with a goal-line stand inside the final minute.

Dallas is 8-1, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Falcons. Seattle is 6-2-1, 1 1/2 games in front. The Seahawks’ tie with Arizona means there can be no tiebreaker with Atlanta, which they’d have held anyway due to beating the Falcons on Oct. 16. (This assumes Atlanta doesn’t tie somebody.) Had the Falcons prevailed in Seattle, they’d be a half-game in front. But they didn’t, and they aren’t.

Of the Seahawks’ seven remaining games, one is against a team that’s above .500 — Philadelphia on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Of the Cowboys’ seven games, six are against teams with winning records. At some point, you’d figure a team dependent on a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back would experience a wobble, but this is sports and who knows anything?

The Falcons’ schedule is much easier — six games remaining, four at home, with only Kansas City above .500. Meaning: This isn’t nearly settled. But losing in Philly on a day when Dallas and Seattle won was a reversal.

So was this: Sunday’s 24-15 loss marked the first time the Falcons have scored fewer than 23 points. It marked the first time they’d managed fewer than 362 yards. (They had 303.) It marked the third time they’d been outgained. The Eagles had 429 yards, meaning the Falcons’ opponents have exceeded 400 yards as many times (four) as the Falcons themselves.

Only one NFL team has scored more than 300 points — the Falcons (with 320). Only three have yielded more than 280 points — the Falcons (283), the 49ers (likewise) and the Browns (301). The Niners and Browns are a collective 1-18. This isn’t company you want to keep.

Even as the Falcons were rising smartly from 0-1 to 6-3, we wondered what would happen if the raging offense had, ahem, an off-day. We just saw. The Falcons lost. Ten games and two drafts into Year 2 under the noted defensive man Dan Quinn, his defense ranks 26th in a 32-team league. He really does need to do something, don’t you think?

Reader Comments 0

24 comments
sacks
sacks

the falcons suck..they have sucked for 50 years..they will suck for another 50 years!

E983
E983

This team looked like they did week one when they played the Bucs. Sloppy.

kerryb
kerryb

This was just a team needing a bye week to get healthy.  They are missing their two headed monster at RB and their best corner was hurt.  They were also playing their second road game in a row against a team that wins at home.  They will be fine.  I just wish the coach would stop going for it on 4th down on their own side of the field.  That gave the game to them.  You never do that with 3 minutes left and 3 time outs.  That's a little too aggressive.

candlin14
candlin14

@kerryb 

I agree. But if you do actually do it, use one of the dam timeouts and draw up the best play in your playbook for the love of god. How stupid can this coach possibly be.. Twice now we have gone for it in our own territory and twice now we have run two idiotic plays. With 3 timeouts left and the two minute warning, THE GAME IS ON THE LINE!

Call a f cking time out and run your best play. When the SEASON is the on line in the playoffs, I hope this idiot of a coach makes a better decision.

gjohn922
gjohn922

The defense needs to step cuz thats the only way we do more than just make the playoffs...if we do

candlin14
candlin14

Our writers sure do let Julio off the hook easily when he chokes. That pass just like the one in Seattle 100% has to be caught. The pass in Seattle a little more difficult to handle then the gift wrapped lob pass he dropped yesterday.

He needs to step it up when the game is on the line.

gjohn922
gjohn922

I totally agree...thats why u dont just feed one guy

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

I think most Falcon fans would be happy with an NFC South title and a playoff appearance. We haven't made the playoffs the last three years. Anything less than a playoff appearance would be a disappointment, but we are in pretty good shape heading into the bye because our division sucks.

Antoine Averill
Antoine Averill

Good lard get a grip the sky is not falling over losing one game . The Falcons hobble into Philly  with a few key players on the injured list . Julio Jones have never drop 2 passes in so many games . The  entire team needed this bye week to regroup they will be just fine .

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Antoine Averill: ". . . the sky is not falling over losing one game."

________________

They've lost FOUR games, nitwit.

JamesMcmullen
JamesMcmullen

Put pressure on Matty Ice, he will become Matty Slush! Julio Jones is playing hurt!

Antoine Averill
Antoine Averill

@JamesMcmullen Put pressure on any QB in the NFL and they turn to slush . And what dose that say about the Falcon Offensive front line ? They are to dam small . Atlanta is fine with smaller faster player on defense but you have got to put real men in front of your QB to protect and give him time to throw the dam ball. So what don't you understand about the game of Football? 

candlin14
candlin14

It amazes me that you continue to call out arguably one of the best QBs in the league this year. Your all pro receiver sure choked it up on a pass that hit him right in the chest in a crucial part of the game

kerryb
kerryb

@JamesMcmullen Denver, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Green Bay all put pressure on him and he didn't turn to mush.  You're just one of those Matt Ryan bashers.  Grow up.

SaulK
SaulK

Atlanta is in the worst division in football--they should win it easily, and hopefully pull an upset in the first round of the playoffs.

Harvey
Harvey

That's two games lost due to unbelievably bad decision making by officials.  (End of first half reversal of fumble call is beyond a "missed call". Taking two steps after catch, one after ball holding arm tucked ball toward chest,  can only be interpreted as 'making a football move'.  Ball was loose after contact and before hitting the ground:   that makes it A FUMBLE.

David McCallum
David McCallum

Did you see the hit Earl Thomas put on Gronk? Unfortunately, the Falcons only have one of those kind of players - Keanu Neal. Let's hope this up coming fine from the league doesn't hurt his aggressive play.

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

The Eagles took away the run and made us 1-dimensional. This put Shanny in a panic so he went back to the old target Julio offense. The defense also had a bad day vs the run. I say we go .500 in our remaining games and win the division but we may  not win a playoff game again this year folks...........

David McCallum
David McCallum

It is a joke to put the Falcons in the same class as the Cowboys and Seahawks. As a Falcons fan it was nice to hear Leodis McKelvin, mediocre DB call out the Falcons offense. I agree with him. What he was really saying is that the Falcons are a soft team that can't take pressure.

Antoine Averill
Antoine Averill

@David McCallum You first have to put real men up front protecting the QB and busting holes for the running backs. Falcons offensive line got dominated the entire game .But i still believe the Falcons can play with the best in the NFL  on Offense be it Seattle ,Cowboys etc . But they do lack a big offensive line which will come back to haunt them in the playoffs. 

candlin14
candlin14

David how can you say that when we nearly beat Seattle in Seattle and we will not play Dallas until the playoffs, hopefully.

I don't mind the skepticism at all because it's hard to be optimistic with this franchise. I would like to see us win or lose one game using an entirely different defensive scheme like man to man and relentless blitzes.

Seahawks are beatable and so are the Cowboys.

Addy10
Addy10

@candlin14 "I would like to see us win or lose one game using an entirely different defensive scheme like man to man and relentless blitzes"


co-sign, i would love to see it too