It’s often very easy to place blame after a disappointing loss. Even though the Falcons only lost by a couple of touchdowns, the game was never really that close.
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Lets just make this clear. The offense did absolutely nothing to help the situation. Just a week removed from putting up 37 points against last seasons 4th ranked defense, the high-powered Dirty Birds lacked any semblance of competence. That aside, the run defense that was supposed to have become bigger, tougher, stronger and meaner in the off season showed the same resistance as the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby!
After the loss of star wide receiver and possible the Bengals best player in the AJ Green, many Falcons fans confidence at a chance of victory would have risen greatly. One could imagine that Mike Nolan would be able to put 8 or more defenders in the box and challenge the Bengals unproven receiving corps (also minus their other starter Marvin Jones) to step up. Apart from a crafty wide receiver fake reverse and 50 yard pinpoint connection from Mohamed Sanu to Brandon Tate and another incredible catch and run from Sanu, the young wide outs from Cincinatti were mostly held in check. Minus these two Sanu spectacles, the receivers only combined to amass 14 catches for 176 yards. Furthermore, 7 of these catches and 101 yards gained were to running backs!
For the most part the secondary was able to limit big plays to receivers down the field, however the front seven were unable to stop anything! Time and time again I found myself wondering why the Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson didn’t just keep calling run plays straight up the middle. The defensive line was completely inept of creating any push into the backfield, let alone any pass rush. Second year undrafted free agent linebackers Bartu and Worrilow were a lone bright spot, combining for 23 tackles.
At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to beat any team in this league when your defense doesn’t record a single sack or interception. Interestingly (and annoyingly) enough the Falcons have surrendered exactly 472 yards of total offense in both games to start the 2014 campaign. Through 120+ minutes of football, none of the Atlanta defenders have managed to record a single sack either! Mike Nolan has some seriously work to do, as he desperately needs to find a solution to this ever-growing problem.