Last night’s loss to the New Orleans Saints was a heart breaker and gut puncher to Atlanta Falcons’ fans first for the simple fact that the loss came from a division rival. Second, what hurt more than being beaten by an arch nemesis is the way that they lost. The final score was 17-13 and as always the team matchup is determined by less than a touchdown. The key to the Falcons win was said earlier by Deion Sanders in the NFL Network Pregame Show, “They have to run the ball and run it well.”
Dirk Koetter, the Falcon’s offensive coordinator, made sure of this in the first half and it was successful because the defense was somehow holding Drew Brees to a touchdown and a field goal. For the first time in many weeks, the offensive line had holes open that allowed Steven Jackson to run. Sadly, he was really the only person who was allowed carries. Mind you, the Falcons have Jaquizz Rodgers and also saw the breakout of RB Antone Smith against Tampa Bay who ran for a fifty yard touchdown. Dirk Koetter really failed to use the kid. Smith only got one carry for 11 yards and was never used again. There is no reason for him to have been on the bench. Since the Falcons don’t have anything to lose but the game itself, why not try everything you can.
In the second half, the Falcons didn’t have the same passion as they did when they first came out…which is something that can be traced back to many seasons, even the ones where the Falcons had the No. 1 seed. The Falcons defense was starting to slack and couldn’t stop the Saints passing game. Then the offensive line came out and all of a sudden decided they couldn’t protect QB Matt Ryan. He was sacked five times yesterday, which is something Falcons fans would think is happening every time the Falcons play. At one point the Falcons offensive line was just looking at him as he got up off the ground. Terrible, terribler, and terribilest. And those are not words, but there is no word to describe the horrors that we saw of an offensive line yesterday. These problems didn’t all of a sudden exist by no means, they’ve been worse this season. But the problem is that the Falcons were a touchdown away from winning the game.
When it came down to it big plays and missed opportunities lost the game for the team. These problems need to be solved and the team we saw playing last night needs to play this way every game. The game result was disappointing, but there is hope that the team is not lost completely. Needless to say, Dirk Koetter needs to fix his offense. I am very glad that the Falcons can run the ball, we just need pass protection for Matt Ryan. This is something that can be done and hopefully we see that when the Falcons play the Buffalo Bills in December.