As I wrote last week, the Falcons have fallen into a very disturbing pattern of starting strong, and then going uncomfortably numb. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC has the same assessment:
The Falcons continued their pattern of strong starts blowing leads. In this one, they blew leads of 10-0 and 20-10.
The 27-23 loss to the Dolphins hurts because this is a game the Falcons clearly had control of and should have won. Except the coaches don’t seem to understand that you have to play to win the game, don’t play for field goals.
F — Special teams: Harry Douglas can’t let the punt hit the ground and then he can’t fumble after getting crushed after picking it up. The Dolphins went in to tie the game after having a short field. Also, kicker Matt Bryant could have change the dynamics of the final drive by making the 35-yard field with under 5 minutes to play. The depleted Falcons need a boost from the special teams and didn’t receive it.
D — Coaches: The coaches had the players believing that “next man” hullabaloo. The offense came out straight hardcore and the defense was attacking the pocket. But someone has to be accountable for not sustaining the massive early flow and for the not coming up with the correct call to stop the Dolphins’ march to victory on three third downs.
If ATL was playing for a TD on that final drive, Matt Bryant would never have been called upon to try to give ATL a six point lead. The game would have been out of reach, but this has been typical of the Falcons. They play it too damn close to the vest.
Next up, the Falcons look for their season to implode against New England. A 1-3 start may be too much to overcome …