Miami 20 at Atlanta 17
October 15, 2017
By Allison Smith
First, sigh, shake your head, then relax, and try not to panic. If you have been a Falcon fan since before the 2012 season, you know this is typical Atlanta Falcons football. Take the full 60 minutes and win, or break your heart. Being a fan since the early 1980’s, I got use to this. But then we got spoiled with the Mike Smith winning years, and last year with the Super Bowl run. All is not lost. We have the team to do this year, we just need to wipe out the mistakes.
Clearly we all know, the untimely penalties are killing us. There were 6 for 73 yards this week. A couple on offense to back us up, and of course the “roughing the passer” penalty on Grady Jarrett (clearly that is hogwash) that negated a Deion Jones interception late in the game. In stadium, we never got to see the replay, but I think we all know that Grady would not hit someone late. If Jay Cutler was just standing there, he’s gonna get hit. Jarrett is a big guy, he can’t stop on a dime.
One note that likely everyone did not see, there was a defensive encroachment, so Cutler knew he had a free play, however, as he dropped back and scanned the field, preparing to throw, he saw a quickly closing Takk McKinley and downed the ball. Cutler must have seen Takk fighting linemen earlier and decided not to take that on himself.
Also, turnovers, not helping so much. At least this week, Debo had a couple of picks and if you watched, the defense was definitely aggressively going for the ball. On many of the gang tackles, because that is often what it took to make a tackle again this week, the defenders were actively reaching for the ball. The Falcons offense ended with only 1 interception this week, but at the worst possible time. Near the end of the game, driving for the win, a low pass to Austin Hooper was knocked out and intercepted by Georgia boy, Reshad Jones. Hooper possibly could have fought harder for the ball, but Clemson boy, rookie Cordrea Tankersly made a good play to knock the ball out. I am not less annoyed, but it not being yet another tipped pass for an interception is a slight positive.
I said, with 47 seconds left, and the ball on the 29, to let Matt Bryant do his thing and take the tie and see what overtime holds. With the recent turnovers and red zone woes, I still think that would have been a good, logical idea. Clearly, the Dolphins were playing for the tie, as they were not letting anything over the top.
Dontari Poe and Grady Jarrett were being double teamed again this week, but, along with others, getting major pressure on Cutler. Many passes, he was not able to set his feet and you could tell with is passes. Jarrett had 4 tackles, 1 combined with Clemson teammate Vic Beasley, Jr., while Poe only had 1 tackle, but also a key knockdown as well. Who knew Poe could jump like that?!?
On a happy note, highlight reel, Marvin Hall was moved to the active roster on Saturday and had a 40-yard touchdown reception on Sunday. Sadly, he was only on the field a few more snaps
and did not have another reception. Maybe, Hall would have been a good target on the day?
When you really knew the game was going downhill……early in the second quarter, the Falcons receive a punt, on 1st and 10 Andy Levitre has a false start, backing the offense up. They go 3 and out, and I said, “At least we have Bosher, he will….oh crap.” Before I could finish my sentence, he hits a 37-yard punt that goes out of bounds at the Miami 44. Later, Bosher had another short punt, 26 yards to the Miami 49. We all know this is very unusual. To add insult to injury, Josh Harris has the first horrible snap I can even remember, causing Bosher to try to run the ball…all of this happening at midfield.
In the end, the Falcons had 54 plays on the day and the Dolphins really controlled the tempo of the game, especially the run game, both sides. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 18 carries and a total of 100 yards, exactly. Freeman had one of 44 yards and Coleman a long of 20, so take those big runs away, and our rushing game was 36 yards. THAT is not our kind of running game.
Again, within the fan base at least, there is question as to the use of Julio Jones. While we realize he is often double teamed, Ju can catch nearly anything anyway. On the opening drive, Julio was interfered with, i.e. tackled as he was attempting to catch a 12-yard pass on the sideline. The PI was called and enforced, and if you noticed, Julio still caught the ball and would have come down with the pass anyway. Julio caught 6 of the 7 times he was targeted, so he is healthy and reliable as ever.
With Mohamed Sanu still out with his injury, we finally got to see some good targets and catches for Justin Hardy and Taylor Gabriel, both of who stepped up and did a good job, combining for 73 yards. I thought early on, this was going to be the Turbo Show. Sadly, this still did not open up the much needed running game however. And the Falcons scored no point in the second half.
I’m no coach and never played, but the defense comes out after half time looking gassed to start. I thought we were so fast and physical and deep. I don’t know if running in and out is causing more trouble than letting guys play more consecutive plays. But, I do know, we have too much talent on this team for missed tackles, tipped balls, and 17 points against a wayward Miami team. Cutler had an all-star game compared to the entire first 4 games of his 2017 season.
I am always Falcon Faithful, but that doesn’t mean I am not frustrated right now. Mark down my prediction for Sunday Night Football…..34/0. I haven’t made up my mind if it goes to the Falcons or the evil Patriots….but I feel a blow-out coming one way or the other. Forget the Super Bowl rematch, too much has happened and changed for both teams since that ill-fated night in February.