In their third preseason game, the Atlanta Falcons (0-3) were hoping to see a much-improved team, but instead, the NFL witnessed the Tennessee Titans (1-2) strangle the Dirty Birds from start to finish as they defeated the Falcons 27-16.
Going into this game, coach Mike Smith felt confident that his team would put it all together both defensively and offensively. At the beginning of the game, it went from unimpressive to worse as Matt Ryan and the first-team offense mustered only six points. Although the Falcons were outmatched and outplayed as a team, at the end of the day it was the offensive that captured the headlines … not in a good way.
With the Falcons moving the ball easily against the Titans on their first drive, everything went downhill as they entered the red zone. At the six-yard line in shotgun formation, Ryan was sacked on a third down, losing three yards and quickly realized that it was going to be a long night.
Throughout the first half, it seemed at one point that Ryan was doing an obstacle course, except he looked like a chicken with its head cut off trying to run for his life while the Titans’ defensive line were chasing after him. When the final buzzer rang, the Falcons’ offensive linemen allowed their opponents to sack their quarterback five times.
With Mike Johnson out for the year, the Falcons’ big men continue to struggle in pass protection, especially Lamar Holmes, who has yet showed consistency since he became the starter.
Now I understand that this is still the preseason and nothing too serious can be taken away from it, but with that being said, people can not ignore the truth. The Falcons are terrible in pass protection, and if the coaching staff can’t figure out a solution, they might as well put Ryan on a stretcher.
This was a game that is just unacceptable, preseason or not. At this point of the year, the Falcons should be improving, not moving 10 steps back in the other direction.
Next up are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who the Falcons are hoping that they can perform against at a much higher level than what they displayed against the Titans.
No matter how sharp a falcon’s talons are or how keen its eyesight is in targeting its prey, it will never be able to soar through the sky if its wings are clipped. Right now, the Falcons’ offensive line is limiting the wingspan from its potential of soaring through the sky.
If the Falcons plan on being an explosive team, the guys up front will have to learn to block and get their faces out of the turf. Five sacks in preseason may not be a big deal, but one wrong hit to Ryan will send the Falcons’ dream into the gutter in a heartbeat.