The Atlanta Falcons fall to 3-9, officially eliminating the team from playoff contention, after their Thanksgiving loss to the New Orleans Saints.
It was less than a month ago when the Atlanta Falcons shocked the NFL by dominating the Saints in New Orleans to win their second game of the season. That game was won with great defense, holding the Saints to no touchdowns and sacking Drew Brees six times, and great offensive line play, only allowing one sack that day. Unfortunately, the Falcons were unable to match that performance in last night’s game.
The Matt Ryan haters will be out in full force after last night’s loss, that saw Ryan lose a fumble and throw two interceptions late in the game when the Falcons had a chance to comeback in the game. After the game, Ryan took full responsibility for his turnovers, as a leader should. However, unlike the game in New Orleans, Ryan was sacked 9 times in last night’s game. Nine times!! That’s unacceptable for any offensive line. Also, it’s unreasonable to expect any team to win, under those circumstances, no matter who the quarterback is. Matt Ryan wasn’t perfect last night, but this loss does not fall on his shoulders.
Despite the horrid offensive line play, the Falcons offense found ways to move the ball. With Julio Jones out for last night’s game, it was always going to be an uphill battle for this offense to move the ball. The Falcons run game continues to be pedestrian, failing to rush over 100 yards, but with the offensive line the way it is, that’s not a shock. Calvin Ridley had a productive game, catching 8 for 91 yards.
The Falcons defense played well, just unable to reach the heights they found in New Orleans. Sean Payton and Drew Brees knew the Falcons embarrassed them in the last game so they came out throwing the ball quickly for short gains and using their running backs efficiently. The Falcons didn’t record a sack against Brees in last night’s game, giving him all the time in the world he needed to throw the ball. The Falcons did keep the Saints under 100 rushing yards and Brees under 200 yards, for what it’s worth.
The Falcons had chances to make the game tight for the Saints. Younghoe Koo, who has been very good since joining the Falcons, missed an extra point and a field goal in last night’s game. With the score ending as close as it did, those missed opportunities sting in retrospect. Despite the miscues, Koo did have two successful onside kicks. That second onside kick was when the Falcons were down 8 points and had a chance to tie the game before the Saints shut the Falcons down to close the game out. A very up and down night for the Falcons on special teams.