The Atlanta Falcons continue to surprise fans and critics in the 2013 NFL season, but not in a good way. On Sept. 29, the Falcons faced the unbeaten New England Patriots on their home turf, and the ending was another sad tale. Atlanta head coach Mike Smith is beginning to sound like a broken record player with each post-game press conference, saying things like, “We just didn’t execute” or “We have to continue to get better.” But with the conclusion of Week 4, Smith finally decided to bring something to light that all fans should just accept and call it like it is: The Falcons are a 1-3 football team.
“You get what you earn in the NFL, and we’ve earned a 1-3 record the first quarter of the season,” coach Smith said after their loss to Patriots.
At this point, Atlanta has run out of excuses for this under-performing offense. The Falcons have clearly had opportunities late in games, but at the end of the day the Falcons deserved to lose three games. Coming into their match-up with the Patriots, the Falcons only scored touchdowns in six out the 12 total trips inside the 20-yard line this season. And as of Week 5, they hold the fourth lowest red zone touchdown percentage in the NFL. That is unacceptable and will never win you football games.
It sounds cliche, but the reality of the Falcons’ situation is that they are not executing. Sure the Falcons’ wings are clipped for the time being, losing big name players like Kroy Biermann, Sean Weatherspoon, and Steven Jackson, but the the backups have already shown they can handle the load. The play-calling needs to come through, and the starters need to play like they are worth every penny this organization is paying them. It is just that simple.
On a lighter note, coach Smith showed he is willing to roll the dice moving forward in Week 4, and that is what needs to be done. Sure going for it on fourth down in chip-shot field goal territory may not be a wise decision in many situations, but the Falcons’ play-calling has been way too soft so far this season. They have to be find ways to be creative in the red zone. These offensive weapons that the Falcons have are too talented to keep finishing drives with field goals. However, the Falcons do keep showing that fourth quarter spark, and quarterback Matt Ryan‘s fourth quarter prowess has to pay off eventually.
Atlanta is not out of it just yet and still has the opportunity to turn things around. In the NFL’s history, 21 teams have managed to climb themselves out of a 1-3 hole to make the postseason, including the 2001 Patriots. But those chances look a little slimmer knowing you have to play the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers down the road. If the New Orleans Saints keep charging, Atlanta has to win out for the remainder of the season if they want to capture another NFC South division title. And to make matters worse, they are currently three games behind the Saints in their division. Right now, Atlanta is their own worst enemy.