Although they have very different histories, the University of Alabama’s football program (which I also follow) and the Atlanta Falcons have very different histories, their 2016 seasons ended in pretty much the same manner in additional to both having markets in the state of Alabama.
In the National Championship game, Alabama’s offense went cold on the home stretch, tiring out our defense and allowing DeShaun Watson to start a rally that denied us a second consecutive title.
Something similar happened tonight to the Falcons. In an admittedly great Super Bowl, particularly compared to SB 50’s slow-paced, one-sided cure for insomnia, we outplayed New England for a vast majority of the time, though I do give them credit for never giving up. Through three quarters, we lead 28-9. Tom Brady was getting beat up and their defense was getting shredded.
In retrospect, I should have seen what was coming. Another huge comeback allowed. This is the Atlanta Falcons. But after Stephen Gostkowski kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 28-12, I was like, “what is with the lack of blitzes and creative pressures all of a sudden?” I mean, at least look to score to put the game away. But no, we looked to kill the clock, wearing out the defense (it was on the field for forty minutes) to create another handicap on top of the wrong plays being called.
What’s more, this eventually instilled a since of panic in the offense that caused Jake Matthews to commit a holding penalty that got the ball out of field goal range. When New England won the toss, I knew we had lost. We had an exhausted defense going up against a red-hot Tom Brady.
No doubt the defense gets upgraded again. Desmond Trufant will either be back or free up cap space. And Chris Chester, the weak link in our overrated offensive line will probably be gone and good riddance.
But can this team please stop taking its foot off the gas before the game is mathematically out of reach? There’s a strong case to be made that if you can nuke the opposition, you should. It’s not like this is unproven. As advertised, this has happened so many times in the Matt Ryan era. If this never stops, I fear that Ryan will retire with a resume similar to Dan Marino’s.
Of course, we have to hire a new offensive coordinator soon. Can’t imagine who.
I’m sure franchise history will recall this as a great season. But the manner in which we fell short is not OK.
I’m thinking of starting to make Youtube videos within the next few months. I may analyze the team from there next season. Either way, I will be back. Right now, season’s over. RISE UP!!!