Sunday’s 29-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs drops the Atlanta Falcons to 7-5 and has fans suddenly worried about the playoff picture.
The Chiefs came into the Georgia Dome with a different type of momentum on Sunday. Kansas City had quietly accumulated 8 wins and was the best kept secret of the AFC. The Atlanta Falcons have also been winners as of late but remain one of the most talked about and debated teams in the NFC. It was high-powered offense versus tenacious defense and the Chiefs literally stole the win.
It is extremely uncharacteristic of an Andy Reid-coached team to commit so many penalties. Kansas City was flagged 13 times on Sunday and yet you wouldn’t know it by looking at the box score. The Chiefs defense knew exactly when to bring the pressure and when to drop 7 back and play coverage. It was beyond frustrating to watch Atlanta look downfield so much in the first half, given the offensive line’s struggles to keep the pocket open.
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Falcons Nation now wonders why the team fired Mike Smith in the first place
Only the Chiefs were prepared to take risks on Sunday. Andy Reid’s 4th down play-calling was outstanding and executed without hesitation. Even better was the decision to execute a fake punt. Kansas City rolled the dice and the Atlanta Falcons didn’t see it coming. Dan Quinn was very out-coached on Sunday and Falcons Nation now wonders why the team fired Mike Smith in the first place.
The Chiefs defense mostly deployed single man coverage and didn’t give up anything through the air they did not expect going in. Kansas City’s linebackers also did an excellent job covering Atlanta’s backs and tight ends. There’s was also was much to envy with the way the Chiefs utilized Travis Kelce on the other side of the ball. Atlanta’s defense had no solution to Kelce and Andy Reid made them pay.
Congratulations to Matt Ryan for posting his 50th consecutive game throwing for 200 yards or more, an achievement tarnished by his throws to Kansas City safety Eric Berry. Berry’s ‘pick-6’ to end the 1st half left the Georgia Dome stunned. Berry later walked the game off with an interception return on Atlanta’s final 2-point try. Matt Ryan has been in the league long enough to know who the “ball-hawks” are and where they line up each play.
[Atlanta] will not get over the hump until [Matt Ryan] stops making Ryan Fitzpatrick-like decisions late in big games
Fans who have been critical of Matt Ryan will underscore today’s performance with a red pen. Neither of Ryan’s interceptions were balls that should have been thrown. Worse is knowing there were more bad throws that should have also been interceptions. Matt Ryan can be brilliant at times but the reality is the Atlanta Falcons will not get over the hump until he stops making Ryan Fitzpatrick-like decisions late in big games.
The Falcons lost Jake Matthews to a knee injury in the 1st half, Mohamed Sanu to a groin injury in the 2nd half, and Julio Jones was hampered by a foot injury. All 3 injuries limited the offense and will continue to do so if any miss extended time. The offensive line managed to hold it together late in the game but not having Jones and Sanu limited Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling.
Atlanta could have certainly used a healthy, 6’3″ Julio Jones in the corner of the end zone on both 2-point conversion tries.