Bills at Falcons
October 1, 2017
Photo & Article By: Allison Smith
Well, no one really expected the Atlanta Falcons to go undefeated, BUT, it is hard pill to swallow even against a solid Buffalo Bills team. You simply cannot hand a team like the Bills the ball 3 times. The defense did play a bit off early in the game, but stood up and made the big stops when necessary, causing 2 long field goals, and only gave up 16 points.
After over 300 passes with no interceptions, in two games, there have been 5 interceptions and a fumble by Matt Ryan. Agreed, these were not all on Ryan, 4 of the 5 interceptions were tipped by our receivers. Point is, catch the ball or don’t touch the ball. It did seem that this week’s passes were a little off, as the receivers were stretching or falling for these and other passes. And it isn’t a single receiver that we can get to and shake, it seems to be something in the locker room they are passing around.
Not sure if Ryan is back to his old days of trying to do too much and getting a little pass crazy, or we are just having some bad luck. Clearly, it did not help with Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu not returning for the second half, but we have enough receivers to make up those spots…not BE Ju or Sanu, but to catch some passes. I think the biggest issue was the size difference and Ryan is not use to throwing to smaller receivers and couldn’t lay the ball where it needed to be.
Tevin Coleman and Andre Roberts both fumbled, but the ball was recovered by the Falcons, otherwise we could have lost the ball 5 times in a single game. I am sure that “ball control” will be on the top of Dan Quinn’s list of topics this week. Along with “missed tackles.” There were too many of those as well, allowing the Bills to gain too many extra yards. Some are growing pains with the young guys, some are due to being down several starting defenders, Vic Beasley, Jr., Courtney Upshaw, Ricardo Allen, and mid-game, Jack Crawford.
The defense, overall, held up well, especially when the game was on the line. On the final two Buffalo drives, the defense forced a 56 then 55-yard field goals. Kudos to Stephen Hauschka for making these field goals, but as far as they were, they were kicked low, so I would like to have seen one or two of the giant tight ends in the middle trying to block these field goals. Robert Alford had good pressure on the edge for one, but there was not enough pressure to stop either of these field goals.
There were many reasons for this loss. So many missed opportunities. A loss to a good team is acceptable, but when you helped the opposition so much and know you could have won, it is a little harder to swallow. Included with the turnovers, the allowing too many extra yards….there were two questionable plays that went against the Falcons. As fate would have it, the football gods were not smiling on us. According to the announcers, and anyone with eyes, the “fumble for a touchdown” was clearly a forward pass knocked out of Ryan’s hand. And the Nick Williams tipped pass (note, he was laid out reaching for the ball) that hit the ground as Micah Hyde caught it for the “interception.”
The capping blow of the day was the ending drive. After the defense had two great stops near midfield, the offense drives into the red zone, Ryan has 4 straight passes, one a completion to Austin Hooper, but three bad passes over Taylor Gabriel. I don’t know that anyone is sure why, even with limited time on the clock and no time outs, why you would not double up with Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman behind Derrick Coleman and just run the ball in. Heck, let them run behind Dontari Poe or Ben Garland. Try anything better than 3 errant passes. Except for a few times on the day, the running game ran pretty smoothly….even behind the right side. Which again allowed Ryan to take quite a beating.
Buffalo controlled the tempo of the game and it never felt like Atlanta had a rhythm, even when leading. Buffalo was easily doing whatever they wanted with running game. They were doubling up on both Grady Jarrett and Poe and able to knock them back into the linebackers, and some of that was with uncalled holding calls, but that doesn’t matter now. Falcon defenders were never really in space, they were constantly locked up with Bills.
It was black jersey, throwback day, so maybe, hopefully, it was just a throwback type loss for the Falcons. Long time fans know, it can be very nerve racking and frustrating to be a fan from the 1990’s. Close games always went the bad way back in the day. I was repping my brand new black Grady Jarrett jersey, but because of my long hair, you couldn’t see the name, so I took it as a great compliment when someone yelled “Kerney” at me.
Good news on the day, the Benz Nest was packed with over 71,000 in attendance, al biet too many Bills fans made it in as well. It was a beautiful, breezy day for tailgating. The crowd was loud, excitable, and stayed until the end. If there is anything a Falcons fan knows, if it is close at the end, the game could go either way.
And, as a nice Brotherhood story, after running the “12 Gauge” (the Falcons play call for the Wild Cat), Sanu lined up under center, ran the ball in for a touchdown, was ruled down at the inch line. On the ensuing play, Freeman ran in the touchdown and promptly gave the ball to Sanu. We may be down, but we are never out when we are together in our Brotherhood. Note that Rico was coaching as best he could from the sideline as he was usually lined up close to the defense on the field.