Atlanta Falcons: Don’t press the panic button just yet
It is still too early for the Atlanta Falcons to press the panic button.
While looking at the box score, a 13 point loss for the Atlanta Falcons at home isn’t what you want to start the season. Despite some people’s efforts to say the game wasn’t as close as the scoreline indicated, a play or two here and there had the magnitude to change the entire complexion of the contest.
Had Sharrod Neasman not fumbled away the successful fourth down conversion, the Falcons wouldn’t have given Seattle a golden opportunity starting at the Atlanta 36. This possession is on the heels of the bold 4th-and-5 call where Isaiah Oliver simply got beat down the sideline by D.K. Metcalf right after halftime, and this was after the Atlanta Falcons defense forced Seattle to punt three consecutive times to end the first half.
That’s 14 points given up where the blame falls on the shoulders of the players rather than the coaching staff. We would be praising Dan Quinn’s bold decisions had Neasman not fumbled and Calvin Ridley held onto the ball.
To counter, Matt Ryan could’ve given Ridley a better ball, but you still expect Ridley to bring it down when it goes through his hands. And I get it, the easiest thing for fans to do is to blame the coaching staff because they have made it so easy for the past few seasons.
Take away those two possessions, the costly third down and 23 penalties, the conversation after Week 1 could be entirely different going into Week 2 against Dallas.
While our negative moments changed the flow of the game in a dramatic way, the positive takeaways were seemingly forgotten in the conversation and shouldn’t be left out when previewing the Atlanta Falcons Week 2 contest.
The Atlanta Falcons offense showed they are still one the leagues best offenses and can produce against almost any team. You would like to see more of Todd Gurley, but he showed flashes of potential early one and almost opened the game with a long touchdown run.
He forced Quandre Diggs to make a tackle in the open field and even put Diggs on his butt. With Diggs being as talented as he is, he was able to make the tackle anyway, if it were anyone other than Diggs, Gurley coasts for a long score.
The defensive line also gave pressure to the Seattle offense and gives Falcons fans hope that that unit won’t be an afterthought in 2020.
Preseason would have been huge for the Atlanta Falcons.
Despite the high points of Week 1, this past weekend shows just how important preseason action is for players and coaches alike. It’s easy to mask deficiencies during training camp when no games are being played to showcase the cracks in offensive and defensive units. The issues that plagued the Atlanta Falcons defensive secondary could’ve been addressed had they appeared during those lost games.
Yes, Dallas has a deep pool of talent on offense, but if the defensive line can create pressure like they did against the Seahawks, I’m unsure Dallas can operate at the same efficiency that Seattle had. The only concern I have about the defensive line is, was their performance authentic or was it masked by Seattle’s poor offensive line.
Despite how many times we crap on our offensive line about getting Ryan sacked, Seattle has those same issues. Both Ryan and Wilson were sacked 48 times in 2019, so a true measuring stick to their growth will be seen in Dallas.
The Atlanta Falcons will also see a run of very winnable games before the bye week. The Falcons face off against Carolina twice, Detroit, Denver, Minnesota, and Chicago. Throw in Green Bay and the Falcons have the offense to be sitting at 6-3 or 7-2 at the bye week. However, if the defensive secondary doesn’t step up, the Atlanta Falcons will be in a nightmare scenario once again, and the offenses in the back half of the schedule are not as kind as the ones they will see before the bye.