How about a season review of the NFL’s most famous choke artists? We may never know how the Atlanta Falcons manage to give away game after game in the fashion that they do. Given the talent on the team, the results just don’t add up. The clock may have already ticked on their Super Bowl window.
Atlanta Falcons Fail to Fly
The Atlanta Falcons opened up their 2020 campaign with a home matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. The offense would rack up over 500 yards, but they also turned the ball over twice. Russell Wilson made them pay with four TDs on route to a 38-25 Seattle win.
The Falcons next traveled to Dallas for a game against the Cowboys. The game started out great for Atlanta as they scored 20 points in the first quarter. They led at the half 29-10. Then it all came crashing down. The Cowboys would come back after being down 15 halfway through the fourth and win on a Greg Zuerlein field goal. Atlanta had a 99.9% chance of victory in this game and they somehow blew it. Surely the following week would go better against the Chicago Bears right? Nope, the Falcons would blow a 16-point lead and lose 30-26.
The End of an Era
The Atlanta Falcons looked to get back on the right path against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football in Week 4. The Atlanta defense didn’t prepare for Robert Tonyan who had a breakout game with 98 yards and 3 touchdowns. Green Bay would go on to win 30-16. The Falcons returned home to host the Carolina Panthers in Week 5. The Panthers scored 20 unanswered points and that would be enough to get a 23-16 victory. That also turned out to be enough to get Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn fired after the loss. Raheem Morris took over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Atlanta Falcons Show Improvement After Coaching Change
In their first game without Quinn, the Atlanta Falcons trekked up north to Minnesota to face the Vikings. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones took over the game, connecting for 137 yards and 2 scores to catapult the Falcons past the Vikings in a 40-23 victory. Since Dan Quinn is gone, perhaps the implosions would be to? Nope! Late in the fourth quarter, the Detroit Lions had the lead. The Falcons were trying to run out the clock and kick a field goal. That was until Todd Gurley screwed that up and scored with 1:04 left in the game. Matthew Stafford capitalized on the gift of time by throwing the game-winning TD to win it 23-22.
Coming off yet another brutal loss, the Atlanta Falcons went to Carolina for a Thursday night game. This game was close the entire time as neither team was up by more than one score. In the end, Atlanta prevailed with the 25-17 win. Week 9 saw the Denver Broncos come to Atlanta for a cross-conference showdown. During the first three quarters, it looked like they were still in Denver. Atlanta was up 21 at the end of the third, but then the Broncos woke up. Drew Lock led Denver in making a run at the game, but the Falcons were actually able to hold onto a lead and emrge victorious, 34-27. That win sent Atlanta into their bye week with a 3-6 record.
Falcons Lack Consistency Following Bye Week
The Falcons visited the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 11 to face the New Orleans Saints. The Saints were without Drew Brees due to injury. The Falcons had a 9-3 lead before Taysom Hill and the Saints scored the last 21 points to win 24-9. In probably the most surprising outcome of the year, the Las Vegas Raiders came to Atlanta to got completely outplayed. The Falcons defense stopped Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense from scoring outside of two field goals. The Falcons defense scored as many points as the Raiders did in the 43-6 blowout.
The Saints would then come to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to play the Atlanta Falcons for the second time in three weeks. Taysom Hill was still under center for the Saints in this game and would throw his first career touchdown pass. Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense couldn’t score as much as the Saints and lost 21-16. In Week 14, the memers got the matchup that they wanted. The Los Angeles Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons, two teams synonymous with blowing leads, would do battle. In this game, neither team could get a big lead, but the Falcons would ultimately hand this game to the Chargers. Ryan threw an interception which led to a Michael Badgley game-winning field goal. The loss officially eliminated the Atlanta Falcons from playoff contention.
Atlanta Falcons End Season on Losing Skid
The Atlanta Falcons next played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Atlanta had a 17-point led twice in this game. The old pattern continued as they blew this lead and suffered a 31-27 loss. The Falcons then traveled to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. This game was low-scoring and the Falcons led late in this game. Again, they could not hang on. Patrick Mahomes found Demarcus Robinson to put the Chiefs ahead. The Falcons still had a chance, but Younghoe Koo missed the potential game-tying field goal as time expired.
The Falcons ended their season of misery against Tampa Bay. The Atlanta defense forgot to show as they allowed 44 points on route to a 44-27 loss. The Falcons ended the year with a 4-12 record.
Falcons Have Top 5 Draft Pick
In hindsight, the tanking worked out for Atlanta as they now have the fourth overall selection in the draft this year. People are suggesting that they might take a quarterback and elect to move on from Matt Ryan. If this is what ultimately happens, they are simply doing wrong by Matty Ice. Wasting his career as well as that of Julio Jones. Arthur Smith has been hired as the team’s new head coach for next season. The people of Atlanta are waiting patiently for a better culture and another playoff berth.