This game was the definition of ugly. But it ended like the last episode did. The Atlanta Falcons played the defending Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles on the night the unveiling of the Eagles Super Bowl banner. This match up was being hyped an elite offense vs. defense showdown of the ages. What we got was anything but that…sort of.
Both defenses balled out as they kept their teams in the game. The Philly defense completely shut down the Falcons’ run game while the Falcons’ young and fast defense exposed Nick Foles for what he truly is and made the passing game non-existent. The offenses, however, were the furthest thing from elite or even good for that matter. Foles played like he truly was nothing more than a backup that got lucky, as he completed 19 passes on 34 attempts for 117 yards and a pick. Matt Ryan looked like Foles and completed 21 passes on 43 attempts for 251 yards and a pick as well. Both quarterbacks had awful QBRs as Ryan had a porous 12.4 while Foles wasn’t much better with a QBR of 26.2.
The demise of the Falcons came at the hands of themselves and the refs. The striped zebras made themselves known as they threw the yellow haymaker a whopping 26 times with the Falcons penalized 15 times and the Eagles 11 times respectively. They also botched many calls, the main one being the Julio Jones catch down the sidelines in the third quarter.
However, you can’t just blame the refs. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian didn’t gain any new fans. His play calling was once again awful, especially in the red zone. Players on the offense not named Julio Jones or Jake Matthews played like utter garbage, Ryan especially. He constantly made horrific throws we haven’t seen from him since his early Falcons days, and had severe tunnel vision on Jones. Jones in fact almost had more receptions than the other receivers COMBINED. He caught 10 passes for 169 yards while everyone else had a combined total of 11 catches for 82 yards.
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The offensive line were good in pass protection but couldn’t do jack when run blocking. Therefore, the running game was basically non-existent all game long. But where both parties flashed some terrible play was in the red zone. Sarks’ play calling in the red zone again killed this team as the game ended in the exact same fashion as it did in the divisional round last year. The execution of these plays was not good either. It felt like this team was playing together for the first time ever.
The torture doesn’t end for us Falcons fans. If you watched the game, you would of seen that most of our star players got injured one way or another, especially the ones on defense. Defensive end Takk McKinley and linebacker Deion Jones went down for a couple of plays. Even running back Devonta Freeman was taken out the game due to injury. However, the one that hurts the most was bruising safety Keanu Neal suffering a season-ending ACL tear. This leaves a huge void in the secondary. It gives second year safety Damontae Kazee a chance to shine. If the opener was any indication, it seems like we are in good hands. He laid the hit on Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert, which caused the Deion Jones pick. Former Patriot Jordan Richards will initially be his back up. However, expect the front office to sign a veteran safety like former 49ers safety Eric Reid. Stay tuned for that.
The Final Word
The hated Carolina Panthers roll into the dome next week for a much anticipated divisional rivalry match. What I hope the Falcons do better for week two and on is our offense needs to get better, both in play calling and in execution. If that happens, I see us having very little problems. The defense has shown that it can carry the team.
I hope you enjoyed this article as it is my first as a member of the FPC Falcons family. Stay safe and remember to always RISE UP!