The Atlanta Falcons blew a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl, wasting an opportunity to change city history, and breaking the hearts of fans.
There is no way around it, over it, or under. There is no way to sugar coat it. There is no spoon full of sugar to help this medicine go down. The tart taste of the epic melt down of the Atlanta Falcons can’t be sweetened. And while it is normal and necessary to take time away to heal and massage, there is a time to process and analyze. You can find my pre-Super Bowl LI “musts” for victory here and here. For those ready and able, here are the things that stand out from our Super Bowl stutter.
Matt Ryan Turnovers and Sacks (BAD)
. Most ardent Falcons fans know what happens when Ryan starts having to throw the ball under duress: He forces throws or takes sacks. He did both in the 4th quarter Sunday, after Shanahan inexplicably abandoned the run game. The fault doesn’t completely rest with Ryan, but taking a sack that late in the game, rather than throwing it away, and the fumble at mid-field, are the perfect examples of what I describe as
When he shows up, Atlanta loses.
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Even with this heartbreaking loss, there is reason for optimism, and there was good. Nothing about this team the screams “moonshot” or “fluke”. Quinn and company look to have begun building a team suited for playoff performance for the next few years. This is not a guarantee, naturally, but the Atlanta Falcons seem perched for relevancy for a while. The defense is incredibly young, and played incredibly well, for having played most of the game. Special Teams was almost perfect, and there is talent all over the field, and in all three phases. It may not help now with the pain felt by fans, but the Dirty Birds will fly again. Let’s just hope the Coaching Staff can remember how to run.