The Atlanta Falcons showed that they can compete with the best
When looking back on this season, it is easy to pit the Atlanta Falcons with the league’s worst teams based on record. However, they have shown numerous times that they can compete with the league’s best.
Who would’ve thought that the now 5-9 Atlanta falcons would provide one of the seasons best games of the year? Twice the Atlanta Falcons almost won in the dying moments. It took a review to correctly call a touchdown for Julio Jones for the Falcons to grit out a victory. Jones also breaks his nine-game scoreless streak.
First and foremost, give credit to this Atlanta Falcons team for fighting into the very end of the game. Even when down by nine points, you still had the belief that this team wasn’t out of it just yet.
When you’re in a losing season, it is super easy to get swallowed up in the race for draft position. However, it pays huge dividends going forward when you still compete and still go all in to win games.
This win against the NFC leading San Francisco 49ers has the potential to have a greater impact than drafting a hybrid linebacker in the back end of the top 10. Sometimes all you need is confidence, and this could provide a major boost going forward.
Let’s also not forget that twice the 49ers had drives extended due to poorly thrown penalties on Grady Jarrett. This resulted in 10 points. Add on the fumbled punt by Kenjon Barner which set up a very easy score for San Francisco, and maybe the Atlanta Falcons win the game well before the end.
There are still issues that need to be addressed
Yes, the Atlanta Falcons scored 23 points, the final six points don’t really matter in the outcome of the game, but the offense took a long time to get going and even then, still struggled throughout most of the game.
This Atlanta Falcons team has no run game and that should be addressed in the draft. The Atlanta Falcons have two draft picks in the second round, one of them should be to address the running back spot.
Yes, Ito Smith may be a solid replacement for Devonta Freeman, who should never take another handoff in Atlanta again, but we have yet to see Smith step in and be a true number one back.
The same goes for Brian Hill. Hill and Smith may only be relief backs because neither proved they can be the main guy yet. When Hill was given the chance to take the reins as the prime starter, he underperformed and was very forgetful.
When you don’t have a consistent run game, it makes passing that much harder.
This also falls on the play-caller. Dirk Koetter has to go. Julio Jones ended the day with 13 catches but was targeted 20 times.
With Calvin Ridley out for the season, this is the prime time to get your young guy’s decent action and targets. There was no reason why Olamide Zaccheaus should’ve been left out of the offensive game plan entirely. Nonetheless, he did get his second NFL touchdown when the 49ers fumbled o the final kickoff trying to pull off laterals for the win.
Furthermore, the young Atlanta Falcons receivers struggled to get open all game long. This is also against a Richard Sherman-less defense. You have to give your young guys better chances to get open and make a play.
Dan Quinn’s future
Atlanta Falcons fan should be weary to the fact that Dan Quinn has a chance to come back in 2020. Arthur Blank has given him the chance to write his wrongs and finish the season strong, and Quinn is showing just that.
This win against the San Francisco 49ers and the Falcons’ most recent performances shows that the chances Quinn made have worked. The Falcons are now 4-2 since the bye week and have competed in 5 of the 6 games.
Maybe next season Dan Quinn can bring in a new offensive coordinator.