In what was supposed to be a special night in Atlanta, the Atlanta Falcons offense was nowhere to be found.
Before the game, it was announced that the Atlanta Falcons would be without both Julio Jones and Austin Hooper due to injuries in previous games. This would be a test for the young playmakers to fill into roles designated to lead receivers.
It just wasn’t the same without the threat of Julio on the field.
The game started off doomed as Matt Ryan seeming held onto the ball just a few seconds too long and was sacked on the first play for a seven-yard loss. To add on, Dirk Koetter called a run play to Devonta Freeman, who just returned from a sprained foot and who has been awful all season long.
This set the tone for the rest of the game.
If the first offensive drive didn’t kill your mood, then Taysom Hill‘s blocked punt surely did you in. To add insult to injury, he scored on the ensuing drive for the Saints.
From here on out, the entire offense just looked bad.
Matt Ryan had a rare off night. Freeman was still getting more rushes than Brian Hill. The offensive line was nowhere to be found. The play calling by offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was just awful like it has been all season long.
Ryan ended this game getting sacked nine times. Ryan did play one of his worst games, however, it’s impossible to look put the blame on his shoulders when you had the supporting cast he had.
Yes, his receivers had a pretty solid day overall, the timing and rhythm just weren’t there and it showed.
It seems the loss of both Jones and Hooper greatly affected the timing on a lot of routes.
Matt Ryan threw a late-game interception due to a miscommunication with the receiver.
Nonetheless, this game just embodies this Atlanta Falcons team. the defense actually showed up to play, but the inability of the offense to move the ball just allowed for more chances for the New Orleans offense to take control.
It is just so hard for both sides to show up at the same time and play a complete game.
To be completely honest, the defense hasn’t played but two good games all season (Philadelphia and New Orleans – in New Orleans). Yes, the Atlanta Falcons defense intercepted Kyle Allen four times, however, the Panthers offense had no issues moving the ball downfield. The defense was just bailed out by Allen’s poor decision making.
To end on a positive note, albeit there really weren’t many positive takeaways. The trio of Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and Christian Blake impressed in their roles as being the main options for Matt Ryan.
- Ridley ended with eight catches for 91 yards
- Gage ended with five catches for 52 yards and scored his first career touchdown
- Blake finished the day with six catches for 57 yards
- Jaeden Graham four catches for 41 yards and his first career touchdown
There was some hope built up at the end when the Atlanta Falcons recovered three straight onside kicks – one was wrongly taken away but the Falcons made up for it right after.
But not much could be done as Matt Ryan simply had no time to pass the ball.
The offensive line and Devonta Freeman were just terrible.
Next week, the Carolina Panthers will come to Atlanta and we will all bear witness to Matt Ryan surpassing the 50,000 yards passing mark and build upon his hall of fame resume.