Turnovers sink the Atlanta Falcons in ugly season finale
With a chance to put the New Orleans Saints out of the playoffs the Atlanta Falcons had plenty of reasons to want to win an otherwise meaningless season finale. Tom Brady’s Bucs and the Carolina Panthers are rivals, but there is a special type of mutual disdain that explains the rivalry with the New Orleans Saints.
The closest Atlanta would be in this game was an early 7-6 score thanks to two clutch kicks after stalled Atlanta drives. From there everything went downhill for Ryan’s Falcons. Three different times in this game Atlanta had a drive that ended in a turnover.
The first was a Matt Ryan 50/50 shot to Russell Gage that the Saints DB made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch on. The next two would both come on Mike Davis fumbles that may cement his future in Atlanta.
All of the issues that have plagued the Atlanta Falcons this season were fittingly on display in a disappointing season finale
Despite what the 30-20 final score may indicate this game never felt that close for an Atlanta team that put all of their struggles on display. Their inability to rush the passer, lack of playmakers, and unwillingness to stop the run is what tilted this game heavily in favor of New Orleans.
The bright side of the loss for the Falcons and their fans is the improved draft positioning and the clarity the team should have gained on Mike Davis and Russell Gage. Davis fumbled twice and put an exclamation mark on what has been a very disappointing season for the running back.
Russell Gage was the flipside of that coin continuing his recent run of impressive performances giving Atlanta what very few offensive highlights they had.
Atlanta can now fully switch their attention to the off-season and the myriad of roster issues they have to address. It should be a fun off-season for a young team that despite the ugly ending has reason to believe they are building in the right direction.