Falcons-Saints (one that got away)

After the first half, I did not think that I would actually write about a game that the Falcons could have – let’s say should have – won. The game was much more interesting than the final 35-26 score would have indicated. This brings me to three points.

Turner looked fantastic
Turner and the Falcons rushing attack is back. Turner looked explosive for the first time this year, racking up 150 yards on 20 carries. This is probably the first time ATL has lost when Turner has rushed for 100+ yards. In fact, this is the first time ATL under head coach Mike Smith (and in the Matt Ryan years) has dropped back-to-back games. MNF put up a stat that the Falcons were 6-0 under coach Smith after a loss.

Pass protection sucked
Now that ATL has shown a rushing attack, WTF happened to the pass protection? I think the Saints ended up with 3 sacks, but it seemed like Ryan was under constant pressure. In fact, the Saints were able to seal the deal because they could get pressure with a three man rush. That is a huge let down.

Defense was solid
I have not crunched the numbers, but the Falcons defense played solid, aggressive, blitzing football. Yes, in general the secondary sucks, but they played well. I am not sure how the final statistics will stack up to the typical numbers New Orleans has been putting up, but I suspect that the Falcons were better than average. I appreciated the fact that they were fighting until the bitter end, forcing a late fumble, which setup the successful on-side kickoff recovery.

Looking forward
The announcers carried on about how the Saints would not lose another game, but if I am the Falcons, I like my chances against them when they visit the GA Dome. It is not as if the Falcons did not give the Saints a good game; ATL could have one this one. The no call against White on the interception before the half ended up being the difference in the game.

The NFC South is lost, so it is now time to play for a wildcard spot. The good news is that the Falcons can get health quick with games against Washington (home), Carolina (away), New York Giants (home, but not playing well), and Tampa Bay (home). The Falcons could be looking at a 7-4 or 8-3 record when Vick and the Eagles come calling Dec 6. So there is still hope and optimism.


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