In what turned out to be an ugly preseason game, the prolific, high-powered Atlanta Falcons were humbled by a rugged, physical Tennessee Titans team that had its way with them from top to finish. One thing that stood out the most besides the offensive line struggling once again was the two red zone trips that ended up with field goals instead of touchdowns.
For a team that is known for its scoring and its ability to put up points in bunches, the Falcons reverted to their old habits and made the same mistakes as they struggled in red zone opportunities.
On their first drive, the Falcons failed to convert their red zone trip with a touchdown as Matt Ryan was sacked. Although the offensive line was completely manhandled at the point of attack, the hot read was not there for Ryan to get rid of the ball before being sacked and forced to settle for a field goal.
In their second red zone opportunity at the Titans’ 13-yard line, the Falcons failed to get seven yards on two passing plays, and settled once again for another field goal. This time, the Falcons’ receivers either rushed their routes instead of running it smoothly, or failed to hold on to a perfectly designed play.
Nonetheless, the Falcons have been very inconsistent when it has come to red zone opportunities, and need to continue working in this area if they want to be a more efficient scoring team.
Last season alone, the Falcons were one of the best offensive teams in the NFL, averaging nearly 26.2 points per game. But against both the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game and Titans in their third preseason game, they have been inconsistent with offensive hiccups in key moments of the game.
I have no doubt in my mind that during the regular season, the Falcons will once again be a dominant team offensively and put a lot of points as they possess one of the best receiving units in the league. One thing that does stick out, however, is the the Falcons’ bad habit of not capitalizing or executing certain plays that can be a huge difference in terms of winning or losing a game in the playoffs.
Unless the Falcons want to be another Indianapolis Colts team before they won the Super Bowl, they need to learn in how to be precise and consistent offensively if they wish to take that next step up in becoming an elite team.
The Falcons’ first-team offense failing to score a touchdown is not the thing that is cause for concern, but how the Falcons’ failed to execute their offensive scheme within the red zone is what fans should be worrying about.
During the rest of the preseason and in the 2013 regular season, we shall see if the Falcons did their homework and learn from their mistakes in being inconsistent on offense. The good thing about offensive hiccups is that they can be corrected, and if the Falcons want to become a team to be feared, being consistent and honing their skills in what they do best will put them on the right course.