In a much-anticipated matchup between two division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons and the rejuvenated New Orleans Saints, Matt Ryan and co. picked up right where they left off in 2012 by failing to convert in a short-yardage situation with the game on the line.
At the end of the game, the feeling was all too familiar for Ryan and his teammates as they walked off the field in the same fashion just a few months earlier in the NFC Championship game. The Falcons lost to the Saints 23-17, as the rivalry continues to be lopsided with the Saints now owning an astonishing 12-2 record.
Mattie Ice finished the game with an overall strong performance by passing for 304 yards and tossing in two touchdowns, while Drew Brees countered with 357 yards and two touchdowns. While both quarterbacks had one interception each, Ryan’s interception proved to be more costly, as it sealed their fate with a loss.
In the final minutes of the game, Ryan and the Falcons’ dynamic offense put together a masterful drive that took them all the way to the Saints’ three-yard line. With four shots to “Ice” the game, the Falcons failed to convert a golden opportunity to not only start the season on a winning note, but lost the chance to make this a statement game in terms of who controls the NFC South.
Although the Falcons are only one game in, the kryptonite continues to be the same for a team that is hoping to make a Super Bowl run. Even though the Falcons are considered by many to own one of the league’s most explosive units offensively, the Falcons’ offense continues to be one of their biggest issues in terms of executing in key moments of the game.
The Falcons may have the firepower to go up and down the field at will, but if they can’t score in the red zone, especially in big moments, their inadequacies will continue to haunt them in 2013. Hopefully for the Falcons, they can take away valuable lessons from another heartbreaking loss and not continue this trend going forward.