Falcons are Missing Something Special


Sep 22, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins tight end Dion Sims (80) catches a touchdown pass as Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) looks on in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons lost another one.  This is so frustrating because they lost in the same way they win so many times before: A last-second drive to go up by more than a field goal with very little time left.  Luckily, it’s very obvious what is behind the losses of this team.

The offensive line is awful!…Except in run blocking.  And that they kept a top-notch pass rushing team from getting a single sack.  Actually, Matt Ryan had quite a bit of time in the pocket a lot of times.  Let’s face it, the offensive line is not that bad.  They were scary in the preseason and looked bad a few times, but in total—as a whole, they aren’t terrible.  They’re actually pretty good sometimes.  No, the real problem is…

The Defense can’t pass rush! Did you see how much time Tannehill had in the pocket? Except for when he had to escape it.  And when he got hit right after the throw.  And the five sacks that the defense was able to get from a lot of different players.  It looks like the pass rush is just fine also.  They may not be the best in the league, but certainly not the worst.  In fact, they are performing pretty well.  A little spotty here and there, but they can get to the quarterback.  That’s because the problems aren’t actually on the line, the problems are on:

The rookie corners have no experience! These guys come in and are expected to play well, but they just suck.  Except for Trufant who hasn’t given up the deep throw.  And Alford looks almost better than Asante when he was in.  And McClain is still taking out those intermediate routs.  Okay fine, the rookies are doing just fine as well.  The corners are keeping the deep threat out of the equation and are matching up well.  It seemed that the short throws are what killed Atlanta in the last drive when McClain was out.  Of course that leaves:

The running game is non-existent without Steven Jackson! Except Jason Snelling who ran for 53 yards on 11 carries.  And Jacquizz Rodgers who ran for 86 yards on 18 carries.  In fact, the run game looked better than it had in years against a good run defense to top it off.  With or without Steven Jackson, the Falcons have talent in the backfield.

Let’s face it, Atlanta is talented.  Everyone looks good, even the backups.  Bartu, Massaquoi, Rodgers, Snelling, and even DiMarco look just fine stepping up.  Matt Ryan to Julio Jones works great and the O-line, D-line, rookies or depth is not what is killing this team.  With all the problems, Atlanta won in almost every single category of the game.  They had Way more rush yards, more passing yards, more turnovers, more first downs, and way more time possession.  Atlanta was the better team in every way: Except for the special qualities.

Discipline is costing this team penalty yards.  Decision making from Harry Douglas in fielding a called off punt was back-breaking.  Not being gutsy, being too conservative on third and fourth down when the other team hasn’t stopped the run or pass all day long.  You can’t point to any specific problem because Atlanta is doing well.  They just don’t look like they have “it.” I don’t know what “it” is, but they had it last year and are trying to find it this year.

Let’s hope they do find it, because against the Patriots, the Atlanta Falcons need it.