Unbelievable, yet somehow believable.
If you watched Sunday’s Falcons’ game at Dallas, you might have thought at 20-0 Falcons after the first quarter, they’re in good shape. At halftime up 29-10, they’re probably OK.
Even after Dallas fought back to pull within two points with no timeouts and 1:49 remaining on the clock, you know what’s coming.
Every football fan saw it.
So what happened?
The Falcons WATCHED the ball trickle 10 yards upfield, Dallas fall on it and eventually kick the winning field goal as time expired.
The Falcons had every single opportunity to win the game. Even at 39-37, simply fall on the football on the onside kick and you win. Game. Set. Match. You go to 1-1 and not 0-2.
Instead, four Falcons stood around watching and waiting. For what? Maybe there was a Lombardi Trophy inside.
As the receiving team, they can fall on the ball before it travels 10 yards. It’s the kicking team that can’t touch the ball before 10 yards or else they are penalized. Anything else would have been better than forgetting the rules and allowing the Cowboys to gain possession.
No turnovers. Forced three fumbles in the first quarter. You think there’s no conceivable way the Falcons lose this, but they, once again, prove they can build any lead and somehow find a way to lose it. They cannot seem to find a way to finish off teams when they have a sizable lead for majority of a contest.
Dan Quinn’s Falcons: Inventing new ways to lose games.
The Cowboys are a very good football team, but they did not win that game. The Falcons, instead, gift-wrapped it with a nice bow on top.
Yes, it didn’t have to be at that point so late. Julio Jones drops a sure touchdown. Falcons elect to go for two up 26-7. Stuff like that hurts, sure, but what should have been routine now has this team at 0-2, a head coach scrambling for answers and ownership surely scratching and shaking their heads.
The thing is, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Yes, it’s a far cry from Super Bowl LI in Houston in January 2017, but the theme has been ongoing since then.
There are a plethora of questions, but among them, how does this continue to happen and at what point do we say enough is enough?
Let’s face it; the Dan Quinn ship has sailed. That left as the Lombardi Trophy was handed to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Houston. Since then, we have seen coaching mistake after mistake, back-to-back, and now ANOTHER double-digit blown lead.
What do we chalk it up to this past week? Lack of focus, lack of discipline, lack of accountability? It was and still is high time for a coaching change to be made because how much longer will leadership continue to cope with debacle after debacle?
When the Falcons arrived back in Atlanta after this most recent game, Arthur Blank nor anyone on the Falcons’ staff should think this is fine or acceptable. The fan base should not be content with this either (they’re not).
There is a boatload of sadness and disappointment, but one of the most disappointing aspects? The Falcons’ ownership is wasting talent. Atlanta has the best wide receiver in the NFL, a borderline-elite to elite quarterback who continues to excel year after year, top receivers, some pretty solid defenders, too, and yet, we sit here with nothing to show for it.
Julio Jones deserves a Super Bowl ring. Matt Ryan does too. But do the current Falcons deserve them?
As stated before, this is nothing new. Would any other franchise put up with this cacophony for this long? (Am I speaking to a brick wall?) Multiple double-digit blown leads should be a clear-as-day indicator something isn’t right. The Falcons have the talent to be good, if not great. They could compete in an NFC South with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers and Drew Brees’ Saints. On paper, they have the talent to NOT blow big leads.
If you’re still looking for answers, all you have to do is look at the last couple of seasons, in particular last season. A record of 1-7 at the bye week. Near last in defensive categories. Coaching continues to hold them back. A change should have been made long before now, but here we are. How Blank has stayed patient this long is anyone’s guess.
If it was not clear by Sunday’s cataclysmic letdown, it should be now: This coaching staff would never, and I mean NEVER, lead Atlanta back to the Super Bowl, much less win it. You can take that to the bank.
If the Falcons had lost to the Cowboys Sunday in a back-and-forth game, this column might not exist. It’s the way they lost that is frustrating, yet somehow just seems oh-so-familiar. What’s more disturbing? Fans start going from worried they’ll lose to expecting them to lose. That’s a huge difference.
What happened Sunday in Arlington, Texas, is a tale as old as ... well, the Falcons or SBLI. Winnable game VERY well within reach. Make the play and you win. However, Sunday’s gaff in Big D will go down as another highlight-reel feature of the Dan Quinn era. It just makes you shake your head and possibly causes a slight chuckle. Same Falcons. Same story. 2020.