2013 NFL Playoffs: Atlanta Falcons Fail Down The Stretch

By Riley Schmitt
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

If you watched the first 14:06 of the NFC Championship Game, you would have thought the Atlanta Falcons were going to the Super Bowl. They blasted out of the gate to a 17-0 lead. Then, in prime Falcons fashion, they failed spectacularly down the stretch to blow a very winnable game in the 2013 NFL Playoffs.

This is a very alarming pattern for this team.  They seem to let off the gas once they build a lead and it never seems to change.  Last week, they managed to survive a blown lead but most of the issues remained.  The team could not guard the tight end if their lives depended on it.  Vernon Davis was open all day and it helped bring the San Francisco 49ers back to the win.

This is a team that is going to need to look in the mirror.  Matt Ryan started out hot, but had some crucial mistakes down the stretch.  On the final pass play he had, he tried to force a throw into coverage.  On replay, it looked like he had Tony Gonzalez open.  That is a play that most Falcons fans wish they could have back.

This isn’t taking away anything from the 49ers.  They fought back and they pounded the Falcons on the ground to win.  However, this is another example of a Falcons team that tried to do everything in their power to lose the game. Unlike last week, they didn’t have that final two minute drive to win.  It is sad to see, but they do deserve a reputation as choke artists.

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