For once, the Falcons’ offense didn’t hold up its end

Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) runs back an intercepted ball from a Atlanta Falcons two-point conversion during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

He’s gone, and so’s that one-point lead. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

There are times when it appears the Atlanta Falcons’ offense cannot be slowed, let alone stopped. These were their first six plays from scrimmage against Kansas City on Sunday: Matt Ryan-to-Julio Jones for 11 yards; Ryan-to-Jones for 16; Ryan-to-Jones for 17; Devonta Freeman 9-yard rush; Freeman 5-yard rush and Ryan-to-Freeman for 12. Six plays, five first downs, 70 yards.

The seventh play should have yielded another first down — Ryan-to-Gabriel for 10 to the K.C. 1 — but was nullified on a holding call against Jake Matthews. (Iffy call.) Undeterred, the Falcons scored their touchdown anyway. They wouldn’t score another until they trailed 27-16.

As hard as it is to criticize an offense that has been the best part of this team — the best by far, we stipulate — it would be hard to pin Sunday’s 29-28 loss on the defense. The Chiefs’ offense last scored with 7:05 remaining in the second quarter, at which point the game was tied at 13. Here were K.C.’s possessions thereafter: Punt, touchdown off fake punt, punt, punt, end of game. The Chiefs had 17 first downs; the Falcons had 32.

It’s hard to lose a game when you have 32 first downs. (The Falcons’ previous high was 31 in their victory at Tampa Bay; they had 43 points that night.) But the Falcons failed to score touchdowns in half their six red-zone excursions, and two Ryan interceptions — both by the Atlantan Eric Berry — yielded nine points, including the game-winning deuce on a 2-point conversion try after they’d taken a one-point lead.

The only thing the Falcons’ defense did wrong was fail on third-and-6 with two minutes remaining. (Albert Wilson, who’d scored on the fake punt, beat Ricardo Allen on a slant.) The raging offense rang up 418 more yards but fell one point short. Ryan is discussed at much greater length elsewhere, so for the purposes of this post we’ll leave it at this: Don’t go wishing Matty Ice a Berry Christmas.

The Falcons are now tied for first in the NFC South with the aforementioned Buccaneers, whom we’d all left for dead a month ago. The Falcons do have the softer schedule from here on — Tampa Bay has to play at Dallas — but this is no longer a walk in the park.

The Chiefs entered the game with an even lower-ranked defense (28th) than the Falcons’ (27th). The offenses weren’t even close — Falcons were third, Chiefs 27th. But Andy Reid’s crew keeps inventing ways to win, and this time K.C. prevailed with a fake punt and nine points’ worth of Berry-pickin’. The Falcons, alas, invented a way to lose. Several ways, actually.

Reader Comments 0

43 comments
sacks
sacks

This game was lost several different ways..The coach gave away 5 sure points..Ryan gave away 8 points..The defense..well what can you say..they could not get key stop on 3rd down.

We still can not convert red zone to 7..looks like we are locked in on going for it on 4th down or field goals..

Birdfanforlife
Birdfanforlife

There was nothing wrong with the coaching decisions to go for it or to go for 2 - both were by the book. The problem was with the play calling. We have essentially been unstoppable on the shot gun dive play all year. For some reason we called short pass plays instead against a ball hawking secondary and speedy linebacker corp. Dumb. I don't blame Quinn but I do play the bad play calling. Plus after Matthews went out Ryan had to throw the ball instantly.  Seriously though I think we basically punted once the whole game against one of the best defenses in football - how crazy is that.  

candlin14
candlin14

You certainly can blame this game on the defense and especially DAN QUINN  just as much as you can on Matt Ryan.


The last TD you mention Mark Bradley in which KC scored with 7 minutes left came from a 3rd and 10 conversion for a 1st down. How many times have we allowed soft zone coverage to kill this football team? TO MANY TIMES!!!! 


The defense could have stepped up late in the 4th quarter with a 3rd and 6 stop. Go back and watch our defensive set up on this 3rd down and 6 WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE. We had two safeties playing 10+ yards off the line of scrimmage. KC ONLY NEEDS 6 YARDS FOR THE DOWN. 


Of course the defense doesnt need to step up, because Ryan threw a Pick 6 and a Pick 2 so they have no problem taking the loss and pointing the finger at #2 along with so many fans in this city.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

If this team goes out and beats the Rams Sunday all is forgiven. Matt Ryan is the leader of this team go out there and play mistake free football.

HardyFalcon
HardyFalcon

I agree with you all. TD needs to be fired. He does not know talent or how to draft football minded players, example skipping Clay Matthews to draft Jeria Perry, who is out of football. We have more plugs on this team than the Browns. TD needs to be fired and Arthur stay off the field and camera

Ver1tas
Ver1tas

This loss is squarely on the shoulders of Coach Q. The final score should have been 33-20 Falcons. As you pointed out the defense held KC to little or nothing after the 2nd qtr, but Coach Q panicked and did not kick the field goal and then he really panicked and started chasing pts with the two point conversion attempt when they scroed to get to 22.  With that said, Matty Ice has a bad habit of staring down his receivers, especially when the heat is on.


DawgNole
DawgNole

@Ver1tas

When they "scroed"???

Perhaps you meant when they screwed--as in up?

BobDawg
BobDawg

It really is hard to be a Sports Fan in this State.... Geez... 


I will say the Braves and Dawgs are still the best bets to win one in the future... Hawks fumbled it away when Ferry got run off.... Howard is a coach killer. Falcons got "explosive" and lost their way.. Dawgs and Richt got complacent. Braves got old and lost their Farm System... Tech... Well still Tech... 

BobDawg
BobDawg

Michael Wilbon on PTI said a week or 2 ago that Tampa Bay was going to boat race the Falcons and win the Division... Wooda; Couda; Shoulda - Matt Ryan... 

noname
noname

Matt Bryant made a 59 yard field goal and was benched in the second half.



Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

This team has lost 3 games with the lead and the ball in the last 4 minutes.  I'd say the offense has been responsible for 3 bad losses.


That and the fact that Dan Quinn got pants'd on national TV by Andy Reid.

JOHNROFRANO
JOHNROFRANO

Quinn was outcoached. For example, on the first part of the fake punt play, KC lined up like they were going to try for a first down on fourth down. Quinn blinked first and called a timeout. I strongly suspect that KC would have called a timeout if Quinn hadn't. That lost timeout could have been very valuable later in the game.

Gman84
Gman84

Typical Falcons fizzle....inventing ways to lose for 50 years


Looking like 8-8 again or maybe MAYBE 9-7


Tampa Bay beat the Chargers on the road which the Falcon couldn't manage at home with a Q4 lead. Will likely be the difference in another disappointing season.

SnoopyJenkins
SnoopyJenkins

What is the hell is Matt Ryan seeing??  Is he going blind!!!  On both picks those receivers were NOT OPEN.   Why cant our speedy linebackers cover a tight end that runs a 4.8 40???

mgunter
mgunter

10 weeks in a row without th NFL! I think I'm cured ! Did some players still take a knee during th National Anthem? Did guys act a fool after routine plays? Did any players beat up ladies after th game? Did th games have enough commercials to last 4 hours? Did any husbands/fathers neglect their wives / children while sitting on th coach and staring at a box?

Falcaints
Falcaints

Quinn looks lost on the sidelines and then the same old boring post game conference; coach them up, we will get better etc.....  Then the media gives them a pass like always.

Falcaints
Falcaints

This is an average team, to pretend any different is just silly.

Eric1961
Eric1961

Same old story for me. Supported this team since inception and still getting the same results. Must win games are always lost or given away. This team will end up 8-8.

Tim A Sharp
Tim A Sharp

are u serious this article should read our defense lets us down again we are number 1 in offense in the league and 29th in defense. in football defense wins games this is a prime example if we were somewhere around 15th in defense we would be unstoppable. love my falcons but the title to this article is wrong.

Tim Tinklenutz
Tim Tinklenutz


Think about it.  For the past 50 years to present, the Falcons are always needing some help to make the playoffs.  i.e. We just lost a game we really needed and we beg Tampa.... Will you please.. please.. lose so we can keep our first place status?  Not, the Bucs take care of business.  The Falcons never can take care of their business when it counts and that is why they are always losers.  Add a little salt in the wound, only the Falcons could find a way to go ahead by one and then be down by one on a failed 2 point conversion.  And, if you are going to go for it on 4th and 1 or go for "2", please have a play that has a chance in hell.   How long can this city take this mess?


bfred
bfred

@Tim Tinklenutz Snapping into the shotgun on a conversion try is just idiotic. As is going for 2 earlier in the game (and also missing).  Kick the extra points and this game's tied.

HawgDawg
HawgDawg

Kick the etra points and we win by 2...it would be a 4 pt swing

PFloyd94
PFloyd94

@DawgNole @HawgDawg Nope. A 4 point swing, as originally stated. Kick two extra points plus eliminating the "Pick 2". That's 4 points. Wow.

patriotdog
patriotdog

From Norb Hecker to Dan Quinn, this franchise is cursed.....with bad luck and bad decisions.

They'll blow their once big division lead and again, upheaval will reign. Believe me, I'd love to have hope but I've seen it before.

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

@patriotdog Last year we started 5-0 but no playoffs ... this year ridiculous high powered offense but also possibly no playoffs ... something is deeply wrong with this franchise...

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Support of what, you loser?!

Fifty years w/o a championship?

Raise your lousy standards.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Just my opinion: No constant pass rush today allowed Smith time to pick out his receivers easily. Smith gets rid of the ball in a hurry! Next, whomever called that pass play on the 2 point conversation made a bad decision.  Ryan is responsible for it's poor execution. We were far superior to the Chief's offensively but our coach lost the coaching battle. Our fast LB's do not cover well and their tackling is suspect. But they are rookies, why play both at the same time? No really hard hitters there! Lastly, if we have lost Julio, Sanu and our starting Tackle we are in trouble, even against the remaining teams that seem weaker than us!

Peachtree Bart
Peachtree Bart

The best player on your team is the kicker.  You take 5 easy points out of his hands and lose by 1.  And if you go for two, why not run the ball?   Best RB tandem in the league and you throw low-percentage passes?    


Horrible.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Peachtree Bart I agree....I wouldn't if we ever played jump ball with Julio in the end zone....blows my mind?

StrangeMurphy
StrangeMurphy

The city of Atlanta needs to drop football as a competitive sport.

John1066
John1066

There were some missed calls against falcons (missed PI against Freeman, I think in endzone and then the false start by them, followed immediately by neutral zone by us that replay showed was actually a false start by them). That being said, you get 100+ gift yards in penalties, you should win. Red Zone killed us. Despite all those penalties in first half and a fumble recovery we were tied late in the half until the pick 6. Should have been up comfortably. Just one of those red zone trips being a TD instead of FG would have made difference. Killer.

EJ_IT_OPS
EJ_IT_OPS

The coaching staff chased points all day. Matt had yet another round of ill advised decisions leading to interceptions and the fake punt after a TO 55 yds up the middle....c'mon. This is the same old Falcons it has been for 50+ years. Very flawed.

khd713
khd713

This one is on the coach, too. The third quarter fourth down call to go for it instead of taking three points was just insane. Absolutely one of the stupidest decisions I've ever seen an NFL coach make. And despite that stupid decision we still had a chance to win the game – should have won the game. Wow, the mismanagement today was incomprehensible, and in this league you just can't afford to give away games. There will be consequences, sooner or later.