The reigning, defending NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons are currently sitting at 1-4. The season is over for the Falcons after a 30-28 loss to the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.
The Falcons were the favorites heading into the game, but that didn’t mean a thing come opening kickoff. Atlanta got outplayed by the Jets, a team that many didn’t give a chance of having success this season. The Falcons were in the Georgia Dome, where “Matty Ice” and company rarely lose, yet they still couldn’t come out with a win.
Atlanta had some questionable play calls at the end of the first half. Trailing 17-7, the Falcons had not one, but two opportunities on 4th and goal from the one-yard line. The first play resulted in the Jets getting called for pass interference. The second attempt was a baffling one, Mike Smith decided to give the ball to 5-foot-6 running back Jacquizz Rodgers to rush up the middle with a below-average offensive line. As you can imagine, Rodgers was stuffed and the momentum was with the Jets heading into the locker rooms.
Matt Ryan and company would come back late in the game. Trailing 27-14 in the fourth quarter, the Falcons managed to take a 28-27 lead with 1:54 left in the game. Cue Geno Smith, the rookie quarterback led the Jets down the field for a game-winning field goal drive. Remember the three points Smith left off the board? Ouch.
The Falcons are on a three-game losing streak, the teams longest such streak since 2007. Last year the Dirty Birds went 13-3, they already have four losses this season. Their NFC South divisional rivals, the New Orleans Saints are off to a 5-0 start. That is simply too much ground to make up in order for the Falcons to make the playoffs. According to sportsclubstats.com, Atlanta has a 6.1% chance of making the playoffs. Atlanta is ahead of only six teams in the league, four of which are unbeaten thus far.
This is a team that won its division a season ago, a team that went to the NFC Championship game a season ago. However in that game, Atlanta blew a late lead and the San Francisco 49ers went to the Super Bowl. A lot of promise was to be had for Atlanta heading into this season, but that promise has turned to a season of hopelessness.
The team has too many injuries to overcome. The offensive line doesn’t open enough holes for the Atlanta running backs and the defensive line provides no pass rush despite signing feared defensive end Osi Umenyiora in the offseason. The run game was supposed to see an upgrade from Michael Turner to Steven Jackson, but Jackson is currently hurt. Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, and Roddy White (who has been hobbled with leg injuries) are too good of a receiving core for this team to be 1-4. Matt Ryan is slowly, but surely losing his seat at the better quarterbacks of the NFL table. He is a guy who rarely loses at home until losing two straight there this season.
The Atlanta Falcons’ season is over. Is it time for Mike Smith to go?