Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Complete Team? Almost.

It's always funny to observe Falcon fans as I leave the Georgia Dome each home game. Some fans are hype chanting and clapping "LET'S GO Falcons." Then there are some fans that are smiling but shaking their heads at the same time. I find myself often doing the latter. It is always exciting when the hometeam gets a win, especially against a team we are supposed to beat. However, most ATL fans can't seem to figure out the reason why their team has to make every game a difficult one. This game should have been a blowout. Leading at the half 17-0, I was almost positive this game would have been a 31-0 easy win. An ugly win is still a win. At the end of the day, that is the most important. However, Atlanta tends to start game strong offensively and defensively, then come out the second half and fall apart. Its almost like they test their opponent to see if they can come back, so we can have a nail biting 4th quarter comeback.What type of football is that? Where is the Atlanta Falcon's "killer instinct" that dominates the entire game? That is a key component lacking.

The 24-14 win over the now 2-9 Minnesota Vikings was fun to watch. It's a good feeling watching a bad team get beat. Matt Ryan had an excellent game completing 27 out of 34 passes for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. Roddy White had a great game for the second straight week. Also, our 3rd wide receiver Harry Douglas is becoming a main target scoring his 1st touchdown of the season. Operating in and out of the No Huddle offense kept the Minnesota defense in question, which allowed Ryan to spread the ball around on the offense including Tony Gonzalez (TE) Michael Turner, (TE) Jason Snelling, (RB) Jacquizz Rodgers, (RB) and backup TE Michael Palmer who scored the last Falcon touchdown to seal the deal.

The defense managed to shut out Minnesota in the 1st half. They slowed down the Minnesota offense sacking Christian Ponder four times in the game. Although there were no interceptions or forced fumbles, the ATL defense came very close to picking three Ponders bad throws. Almost doesn't count. Which leads me to my next point.

Atlanta Falcons, offense, defense, and special teams must learn to finish the plays and finish games. Dropping key passes and game changing interceptions could be costly when trying to secure a spot in the playoffs. Roddy White dropped two passes and Julio Jones dropped a deep ball that could have easily been a score or put the offense in a position to score. This cannot happen against playoffs teams like the Packers and Saints that you have to score points against to beat. When the defense has an opportunity to create an interception, they have to catch the ball. Also blown coverages, like Ponder's 26 yard TD to WR Percy Harvin cannot happen. NO WAY, linebacker Curtis Lofton should have been that deep covering. Where were the safetys? The Falcons will not survive the playoffs with blown coverage and missed opportunities.
If the season ended today, Atlanta would have the 6th spot in the NFC playoffs. With the next five games to go, we would need to be at least 4-1 to secure our spot in the playoffs. Hopefully with a one more Saints loss, ATL could be the division winner. It will be tough, but anything is possible. For now, we are in the wildcard spot, let's not beat ourselves out of it.

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