The Atlanta Falcons statistically did a lot of things right against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3. They unexpectedly outran the Dolphins in rushing yards 145- 90, and sacked Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill five times. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan stayed upright in the pocket the entire game, and their total time of possession was over 37 minutes. The Dolphins’ defense had most of their attention directed to tight end Tony Gonzalez. This proved to be a useful tool for the Falcons’ offense, as Ryan threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns. But in the end, it was not enough to prevent the Dolphins from eventually coming back and executing a last minute, game-winning 75-yard drive led by Tannehill in the fourth quarter. Now the Falcons are 1-2.
There has always been a bit of a trend for the Falcons’ offense, and after the playoffs last season, it is even more evident. They build up a comfortable lead, and for some reason, manage to let it slip away. Atlanta had a 10-point lead in the third quarter. To top it off, Atlanta’s pass rush for once had their opponent’s number most of the game. But due to unfortunate circumstances, that lead dwindled very quickly. The costly fumble committed by wide receiver Harry Douglas in the third quarter didn’t help. The fact that Atlanta could not produce a touchdown on a nine-play, 64-yard drive that ate up over five minutes of the clock in the fourth quarter was the real buzz kill. That drive could have sealed the deal for a 2-1 record, but instead, it left the Falcons with a missed field goal by Matt Bryant.
So why does this keep happening? Well for one, it is not because the Falcons lack the talent. Running backs Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers went the extra mile carrying the load in the running game, and the Falcons’ defense shined despite playing without defensive end Kroy Biermann and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Wide receiver Julio Jones even had another impressive performance with nine catches for 115 yards.
But at the end of the day, if the talent can’t consistently produce points and execute at the most pivotal times, the Falcons have no room for argument. They can still bounce back moving forward, but the question of the hour is, can they find that offensive mojo in enough time to make a charge to the Super Bowl?