There are words in the English language that when placed together create sad, heart-breaking stories that leave those who see it whimpering and distressed. While this vocabulary was utilized by the likes of Steinbeck and Hemingway in their time, sometimes words just do not justify the sadness and disappointment that surrounds a situation, leaving those who actually experienced what occurred struggling with a loss for words.
Such a situation befell the Atlanta Falcons and their fans last night in the team’s Monday Night Football matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons played incredibly well against a team vying for a first round bye in the playoffs, and thanks to a great onside kick recovery by Jason Snelling were in prime position to take the lead late in the game.
With 2:09 left and just thirty yards separating the team from a 31-27 lead, there was hope and excitement for the Falcons. The season was lost and had been for quite some time, but a victory over the Niners–in the last game at Candlestick Park, no less–would be a great form of consolation to a fanbase that once recognized San Francisco as bitter division rivals. Could the Dirty Birds really do it; could they leave San Fran’s playoff hopes hanging by a thread? If you have watched as little as a quarter of Falcons’ football in the 2013 season, you had to know that there would be some sort of catch to this scenario.
There certainly was a “catch” on Atlanta’s second and one play from the San Francisco ten yard line, but it was not the one Matt Ryan was anticipating. Attempting to move the chains, Ryan attempted a pass to Harry Douglas, who promptly bobbled the ball thanks to great defensive pressure from Tramaine Brock. The bobbled ball somehow, someway wound up in the hands of linebacker NaVarro Bowman, who made a clean grab and took off ninety yards to seal the deal for the 49ers. If you dare to see the play, click here.
The game was certainly more enjoyable than most for the Falcons considering the fact that they stood toe to toe with a real contender in the NFC, but once again they fell short in what I have to say was the most heart-breaking play of the year. It was bad enough the team is suffering through an awful season, but to get so close to victory before getting slashed? This team has the kind of sick luck that leaves Olympic swimmers drowning in bath tubs and stress-relief candles burning down buildings.
With one week to go, the Falcons sit at 4-11, tied for the third worst record in the NFL. Although the top two picks are now out of reach for Atlanta, Atlanta is still in play for a draft pick as high as third, depending on what happens to the Jaguars, Browns, Raiders, and Buccaneers. Now with just a home matchup with the 11-4 Carolina Panthers, this disaster of a year is finally winding down, which means we are down to just one more loss before it is time to start looking forward to the NFL Draft. It sure seems funny to this Falcons fan that the draft is now pushed back from mid-April to May 8th; having to wait an extra month to fix this mess of a team just seems like the cherry on top of this sorrowful sundae.
Has there been a more depressing play for the Falcons than Bowman’s INT on Monday night? Leave a comment and share your thoughts