The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of questions to answer after their 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots at home.
What exactly are they going to do to fix their terrible offense in the redzone? With so many tools on the offensive side of the ball (including a world class tight end in Tony Gonzalez) this is pretty worrisome. Maybe it’s because Stephen Jackson is injured and they don’t have that big back needed on the goal line. Maybe it’s because the offensive line just doesn’t give Matt Ryan enough time to throw the ball.
Either way something’s got to change about what the team does close to the end zone and especially late in games, as this one came down to a final drive right in the red zone. This marks yet another game that was lost, despite having a great drive down the field near the very end of the game.
It’s becoming a bit of a theme.
The highlights for the night for Atlanta were… well probably just one: Tony Gonzalez.
He had an outstanding game with two touchdowns and 149 yards on 12 receptions. Time after time Ryan would look to Gonzalez to keep the drive alive and time after time Gonzalez was there to make another great catch.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the case with Ryan and his other top targets, Julio Jones and Roddy White. Sure Jones finished the game 108 yards but he only had six catches while White ended up with just three. There were several big plays that Ryan could have made to both of the receivers, but simply made bad throws.
The Falcons had no problem moving the ball (they totaled 457 yards, more than the Pats) but they are relying on the passing game a bit too much (just 58 rushing yards) and this means teams only have to focus on one aspect of the game.
This can’t continue to happen if the Falcons want to succeed.
Defensively it was a bit of a nightmare the entire game. The running game was unstoppable for the Dirty Birds in the first half, moving the chains over and over before Tom Brady tossed his first TD to some guy named Matthew Mulligan.
In the end, Brady threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns while the running game between Stevann Ridley and Lagarrette Blount was solid as well. The two amassed most of the team’s 132 yards on the ground and Blount picked up a 47 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The team is banged up on defense, but when has a football team ever been healthy for the entire year?
It’s time for the Falcons to turn there season around, because it will be over with a few more games like this one.