The second loss for the Falcons, in the first three games of the season, will be a tough one to swallow. The Falcons, were clearly the second best team for the first three quarters, but decided to show up in the fourth quarter and make a game of it.
An early fumble by Matt Ryan, set the tone for most of the game, even though the Falcons Defense prevented points off that early turnover, the Falcons started slowly again. On offense the O-Line were horrible again, particularly in the run game, Turner was held at the line of scrimmage on nearly every run play. In pass protection, things were not much better! Ryan was constantly pressured and that quick pressure forced the two fumbles, for which the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the O-Line for not protecting Matt properly.
The only way the Falcons moved the ball offensively was from the no huddle, Matt Ryan called a great game when asked to, and executed brilliantly in the fourth quarter. I was massively impressed by the way Ryan drove down the field calling the plays and executing quick pass plays, as to avoid the pass rush from Tampa. Roddy White played well but made a few key drops that may have cost the Falcons, on the other side, Julio Jones was a beast last night making great catches as well as contributing in YAC. Say what you want about the Falcons giving up a lot to get him, but he is a star!
Offensive play calling was a massive issue last night. You have to question what OC Mike Mularkey brings to the table, when QB Matt Ryan does a better job than him of calling the plays.
On Defense, lots of encouraging signs, a few turnovers mixed in with a solid red zone defense gives me hope. Ideally, there needs to be more pressure from the front 4 but when the Falcons blitzed last night they looked quite good. The offside at the end of the game was very frustrating but the Falcons can take a lot of positives from this loss.
The Falcons face Seattle and Green Bay in the next two weeks, if they can win them both it still leaves the Falcons at 3-2, which I would have been delighted with at the start of the season, considering our tough start to the schedule.