It's getting ridiculous.
In each of the Falcon's losses this year, they've either had a chance to tie the game or win the game on their final drive.
Each time, minus last week's final drive against the Dolphins, the Falcons got into the red zone and failed to score, and would subsequently lose the game. This disturbing trend continued last night as the Falcons came up just short, falling 30-23 to the Patriots.
The Falcons opened the game with a long methodical drive, where Tony Gonzalez had two catches that would contribute to a career night in which he would collect 12 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
The Falcons utilized intermediate passes and a couple of runs from Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling to get as close as the New England five yard line.
But instead of trying to run inside the 10 yard line, the Falcons would attempt three passes. A completed screen that resulted in only a one yard gain to Julio Jones and then two incomplete passes. The Falcons once again relied too heavily on the pass in this situation, and New England sat on it, and was able to limit the Falcons to an opening field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The rest of the quarter was a full of offensive ineptitude as neither team could really do much, resulting in the Falcons holding on to the lead of 3-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Patriots would take a quick lead in the second quarter by tearing through the Falcons defense with a series of runs that the Falcons simply couldn't stop. The Patriots worked their way to the goal line, running the ball all the way down the field before a one yard pass by Brady on the goal line resulted in the Patriots taking a 7-3 lead. The Falcons had been one of the better run defenses in the league heading into this game, but tonight, gave up 132 yards rushing.
The Falcons next drive carried on the offensive struggles that fans are coming to expect from this team. After another methodical drive, the Falcons would reach the red zone again, but fall short.
The Falcons would get close to the first down marker, but were two yards short on 4th down. Instead of kicking a field goal, Coach Smith elected to go for it.
This left seven points on the board that made up the difference in this game.
The Patriots would add on three points to take a 10-3 lead, but the Falcons would finally strike back.
The Falcons would call a series of runs and quick passes featuring Tony Gonzalez, Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers that would carry them to the Patriots 24. The attack was balanced and even though there was only one play that went for more than 15 yards, this balanced attack kept the Patriots defense guessing, allowing the Falcons to drive down the field.
This opened up a pass that was vintage Ryan to Gonzalez. A 21 yard strike to Gonzalez that would tie the game at 10. This was easily the Falcons most effective drive in which they didn't just pass the ball over and over again. Even when running plays didn't work, the Falcons didn't abandon it and kept trying to be physical, which kept the Patriots on their toes. The Falcons offense never looked as good as it did at this moment the rest of the game.
The third quarter resembled the first quarter, with both defenses playing well resulting in both offensive units being rendered quite ineffective. The Patriots were able to hit a field goal to take a 13-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter of play.
It was here, that a pretty even game, turned lopsided in a matter of moments. The Patriots had shot themselves in the foot, putting them back at their own 12 due to a penalty, making it 3rd and 19. The Falcons played a prevent style defense, only rushing three and dropping eight to prevent any deep passes.
But of course, Tom Brady found the hole in Mike Nolan's soft zone coverage for a 26 yard pass to receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. Making it worse was William Moore, who was flagged for a hit to the head on the stop, resulting in an extra 15 yards being added to the play.
After that moment, it was all Patriots. On the next play, the Falcons gave up a 47 yard rush to Legarrette Blount that would result in a touchdown, in which the Falcons offered little to no resistance to stop him.
The Patriots would take a 20-10 lead, and never let it go.
The Falcons would tack on a field goal on their next drive to cut the deficit to 20-13, another result of horrendous red zone efficiency in which Matt Ryan was sacked on the New England 18 on third down.
Brady would destroy the Falcons beleaguered defense on the next drive, scoring in only five plays to make it 27-13 in the fourth quarter, by which many in the Georgia Dome gave up and made their way to the exits.
On the Falcons very next drive, Ryan attempted to pass a deep route to Julio Jones which was picked off by New England's best corner, Aqib Talib. The Patriots would hit another field goal to go up 30-13.
But to the Falcons credit, they battled back, even if it was too late. The Falcons worked exclusively in the shotgun, running what was the equivalent of a two minute offense and wore the Patriots offense down that resulted in another touchdown from Ryan to Gonzalez that would cut the Patriot lead to 30-20.
With under five minutes the left, the Falcons attempted an onside kick and recovered. There was new life in the Dirty Birds. Once again the Falcons used their shotgun formation on every play to get the Falcons into the red zone.
The Falcons were on New England's seven yard line on second and one. Even though time was running out, they could have afforded to run the ball once to get the the first down. Instead, the Falcons elected to pass in the red zone, and once again, they failed to convert. They took shots at the end zone instead of just getting the first down.
So the Falcons had to settle for another field goal to cut the lead to 30-23. Despite the fact that the Falcons had all three time outs left, for whatever reason, coach Smith elected to attempt another onside kick. This one failed.
But the Patriots tried to give the game away one more time. Tom Brady fumbled a snap on fourth and one in which the Falcons recovered.
The Falcons now had a chance to tie the game, which had seemed improbably five minutes ago.
It started promising enough, Ryan threw a bomb to Julio Jones for 49 yards to get to the New England 13. But New England put the clamps on the Falcons again in the red zone. Ryan's next three passes were incomplete, as the offense was flummoxed once again in the red zone.
Another brutal loss for the Falcons puts them at 1-3 this year through the first quarter of the season. It's becoming more and more apparent that there are serious problems in Atlanta that stem from the inability to score in the red zone. This team was supposed to be an unstoppable offensive juggernaut. That was its calling card, that's what it was relying on. The defense was always going to be soft, but now that the offense can't score in the red zone, the Falcons won't win another game until they can figure out how execute better play calling when it matters most.
You need to satisfy your competitive drive, so why not beat our experts in fantasy football. At FightClub, our official Fantasy Football partner, you can change you team weekly and win cash. Get a free $5 credit when you sign up and try them out. And each week, Sports Media 101 will sweeten the pot and award the player with top points an extra $25. Match-up and show them how good you are. Can you handle FightClub?
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Game Preview: Atlanta Falcons Vs. New England Patriots
- Asante Samuel Out Tonight Against New England Patriots
- Game Review: Atlanta Falcons Fall to Cincinnati Bengals 34-10
- Atlanta Falcons Outlast St. Louis Rams 31-24
- Atlanta Falcons’ Targeted New Stadium Site Denied as Negotiations Fall Through
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/11ru