There’s a quote from a scene in Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon” that sums up the Falcons’ Sunday night performance pretty well.
In the sequence, Lee is working with a young, inexperienced martial arts student. When he Lee approaches him, he greets him with a traditional bow then immediately (and inexplicably) says “kick me”. The student, although slightly thrown off by his request, proceeds to kick him. What is said shortly after was, in my mind, the most memorable piece of dialogue spoken in the film.
"What was that, an exhibition? We need emotional content.– Bruce Lee"
Atlanta came into this game looking for a win and answers; However, they left with a loss that raised even more questions about this team. The 30-23 loss to New England wasn’t just the typical loss either, where both teams fight hard and one comes up just short…This was simply the flatest I’ve ever seen the Falcons perform in Mike Smith’s tenure. I was reminded of San Diego’s team from last year while watching the game. The 2012 Chargers, while talented, looked like a team that defeated themselves before they even came on to the field.
Are the Falcons the 2012 Chargers of 13′?
Atlanta was a popular Super Bowl pick heading into the 13′ season for a few reasons. Many expected Matt Ryan to solidify his elite status, a defense in its second year under Mike Nolan, the addition of Steven Jackson, the return of Tony Gonzalez (Who just about single-handedly got Atlanta back in the game). At the very least, we were expected to give Seattle, San Fran, and Green Bay a run for their money.
We’re now 1-3 and many fans are questioning if this team has the heart to make a run at all.
Keep in mind that the injury bug struck this team early. We’ve loss Kroy Bierrman and Bradie Ewing for the year, Sean Weatherspoon will be inactive until week 11, Roddy White is less than %100 with a nagging ankle issue, Sam Baker has back and knee issues, and both Steven Jackson and Asante Samuel have thigh issues…But, even with a pretty long injury list, we still had a chance to defeat the Patriots who were depleted of a couple of starters themselves. After a disappointing loss to Miami, I expected Atlanta to rally at home.
Instead, they put out an even worse performance than last week. The offense many expected to carry this team only put up 10 points the entire first-half. Matt Ryan was indecisive, inaccurate and we couldn’t run the football. The penalties from Sam Baker killed the momentum early. After his performance I’m certain Sam Baker had no business being out on that field Sunday night. The rally at the very end of the game was too little, too late. If Atlanta played like they cared in the first-half they wouldn’t have been in that situation to begin with. After a loss like that I’m left wondering…
What will be Atlanta’s identity for 2013?
Last year, it was the passing game, turnovers and mistake-free football…This year, it’s looking like redzone stalls, mistake-filled football along with bend-and-break defense. Atlanta has not put together a solid four quarters of football in what feels like forever. Even with that being said, it’s early in the season and stranger things have happened. The Falcons do have the talent to turn this thing around, but do they have the toughness and will to do so? What I saw last night was a team that could not push themselves. I didn’t see any leadership on the sidelines. As a matter of fact, who is the leader on this Atlanta team?
When you lose games questions like that continue to pile up.
As much as I want the Falcons to make the playoffs, I would really hate to see them limp into another one-and-done postseason. As much as people want to bring up 2010 Green Bay and 2011 New York Giants…I believe every team’s path to a championship is unique. Just because the scenario is similar doesn’t mean the outcome will be the same. Next week we face the New York Jets on Monday Night then head into the bye. Right now this is a team without a soul…I honestly don’t know what to expect after this loss to New England.
Will the real Atlanta Falcons please stand up?