Will The Falcons Ever Live Up to the Hype?
You would think after blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons would be ready to redeem themselves. “Can't get right” should be their new nickname. But it’s not just the Falcons; the Georgia Bulldogs failed to capitalize in a crucial moment last week also. How do you let a true freshman quarterback who never started a game step in at halftime and lead a comeback in the national championship game?
We need answers. The only explanation is this: football in Georgia is cursed.
2018 was supposed to be the year football fans in Georgia could celebrate something. The cards were laid out for championships, but the state of Georgia have been left with nothing but disappointment. The Bulldogs were playing a de-facto home game in Atlanta, with a comfortable lead at halftime, but just like their big brothers in the NFL, they let it slip away on the biggest stage. Its not often that you get the two most popular teams in the same state playing for the championship in a year’s span, and both teams blowing the game in excrutiating fashion.
The Falcons basically looked like the team to beat in the wildcard round this year, going on the road to Los Angeles and manhandling a solid Rams squad. They were a virtual lock in the divisional round in Philadelphia, facing an Eagles team who was without their best player in Carson Wentz.
10 points. That's it? That's all the Falcons could muster up against the Eagles?
The Falcons let Nick Foles win a playoff game without throwing one touchdown pass.
So who’s to blame? 4th and 2 on the goal line to win the game, and you throw a fade to Julio Jones, who went 1-for-18 this season on passes in the end zone. 1 for 18. He caught 1 PASS…out of 18 attempts…the entire season on passes thrown to the endzone, and the Falcons choose this play call.
Falcons fans can blame Steve Sarkisian for this outrageous play call. Sarkisian, an alleged offensive mastermind, owes Atlanta an apology for that one
Nonetheless, the ball was catchable, and it was a ball Julio Jones should have come down with, but in typical Falcons fashion…they came up short.
The Falcons led the NFL last season in scoring averaging 33.8 points per game, but under Sarkisian they fell to just 22.1 points per game. They fell off. "There are a lot of things that Sark has brought to our team that we really like," coach Dan Quinn said post-game. "I can take a long time to go through different spots, so it's easy to place blame all onto one person, and that's a shared responsibility when we don't achieve at the level that we would like to. There are a lot of really good things that we've done, and it was highlighted certainly [Saturday night] where we didn't get the job done at the end of the game.”
Talent isn't the issue in Atlanta; they are loaded with players. The Falcons just can't seem to get over the hump and become the team the city needs them to be. What happened to the swagger the Falcons used to play with? The confidence, the cockiness of the old school dirty birds?
“The problem is, I don’t know what Falcon is going to show up," Falcons great Deion Sanders said before the playoffs. "That bird ain’t dirty no more. I need that bird to get nasty. I need that bird to be undeniably one of the dogs in the league.”
You never know what Falcons team is going to show up when they hit the field. One week they're dominating, the next week they look like the Little Giants without Ice Box. Garbage.
The Falcons will need to take this off season to address some major issues, like revamping the offense. A huge emphasis on FINISHING should be the thrown around in every practice, and meeting room. The Falcons have built themselves back up into a respectable franchise with two straight playoff appearances, but they will be associated with the word “ALMOST” until they can find a way over the hump.