We believed in Atlanta’s dirty birds last season. The Falcons were the ideal storyline with the cool-nicknamed QB, Matty Ice, the veteran TE who would not be denied, Tony Gonzalez and the workhorse RB who could not (even if you understood that Atlanta is a running team) and would not be stopped. Even after last postseason’s collapse and embarrassment against the Green Bay Packers, we believed.
I was routing for the other guy, but it would have been interesting to see the Falcons with a little spunk in the eye of defeat. Aaron Rodgers is only a man with one of the most accurate arms in the league and the deepest receiving corps in the NFL.
Surely, there was some way he could have been defended or even defeated.
Unfortunately Atlanta could not see the light until after the train had already slipped off the tracks and appeared to still lack a plan of consecutive attacks in their rematch this season. The Falcons were not beat in the same devastating fashion they were in last postseason’s meeting with the Packers, but they look unequipped to handle themselves properly.
A quick start gave Atlanta a 14-0 lead and the defense had Rodgers exactly where they wanted him. Of course his uneasiness in the pocket had to do with the fact that not one, but both starting tackles were out and replaced by rookie LT Derek Sherrod. But, once Rodgers got his feet settled and Coach Mike McCarthy was a little more confident in his rookie, the sky was the limit, per the usual.
But, still we believed the Atlanta Falcons could make the game theirs with just one more play. One more score. That score never came and fans were scratching their heads wondering things like, Why did Mike Turner disappear in the second half (bad playcalling) or Why didn’t the Falcons score in the entire second half? You know the types of questions that you do not expect to ask a team that is loaded with targets, ready and willing to make the big play and a starting QB that is always revving himself up for that big moment.
Maybe the problem was that QB Ryan was searching for that big moment with every throw he made as if the Packers closing in on their once solid 2-TD (+2 extra points) score was the kiss of death.
Did the loss from last season resurface as Rodgers hit 12 receivers and a RB for 396 yards?
Maybe the Falcons are not really who we thought they were. Being captured in last year’s hype was easier done than said. Atlanta was the team to beat in the NFC South. Ryan had stepped forth with the confidence and the fantasy football stats to scream out, This is my town and I am THE leading dirty bird!
He only had three more interceptions than he has acquired this season just after five games and the Falcons were 4-1 by Week 5’s end. What was the game-changing difference? What separated them from this year’s display of “questionable beginnings”?
THE ATLANTA FALCONS OPERATE PRIMARILY OFF OF THE RUN!
If I understand this, the diehards understand this and Mike Turner must understand it completely, why does offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey call plays as if this source of common knowledge eludes him?
Turner gets the ball like a RB elite starter should in the first half of games, but then something strange happens. A weird occurrence kind of like a hurricane in the Midwest takes place. Atlanta’s offense becomes numb to his first half efforts and they begin having Ryan throw the football like a madman. Turner’s touches decrease by twenty from the first halves of games to the second halves.
Most shockingly of all, the RB gets the ball more when they are ahead than when they are behind. You would think that the most talented man in Atlanta’s offense would be shown a little more attention when the game is on the line than the Falcons do with Turner.
Atlanta is sitting only one game on top of the Carolina Panthers and I am more than sure this is not where they envisioned themselves in the preseason.
Then again, you have to play to win…..to win.
Follow Nyhlaa Black on Twitter @nyhlaablack