Atlanta Falcons' Future Bleak at 1-4

By Sarah Woodall
Matt Ryan
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons looked to prevent their worst start to a season in the Matt Ryan and Mike Smith era against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

Things looked like it could turn around for Atlanta in the fourth quarter as Ryan threw a touchdown pass to r0okie tight end Levine Toilolo to go up by one point against the Jets with under two minutes left, but it wasn’t enough against the sizzling Jets quarterback Geno Smith, whose rookie title meant nothing on Monday night .

As a result, the Jets drove down the field with no problem, and Jets kicker Nick Folk kicked the winning field goal as time expired. Although rallying from a 13-point deficit, the Falcons’ struggles were crystal clear the entire game, whether it was from the puzzling decisions of Atlanta’s coaching staff, or the fact their defense kept getting smoked in the passing game.

Now the Falcons are 1-4, and their hopes of turning their season around to make the playoffs are now shattered.

Overall, Monday was a disastrous time for Atlanta sports fans. Not only did the Falcons lose on their home turf to the Jets, the Atlanta Braves lost the final game of the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers with a go-ahead two-run homer by Dodgers’ Juan Uribe in the eighth inning.

Before this season, the Falcons have not lost back-to-back games since coach Smith took over, but there is a first time for everything. They have now lost three straight, and this is their worst start since 2007.

In addition to that note, the Falcons have been dropping like flies since the start of the season. After just five games, the list of Falcons players to go down with injury include: Steven Jackson (thigh), Kroy Biermann (Achilles), Bradie Ewing (shoulder), Sam Baker (knee), Sean Weatherspoon (knee) and now Julio Jones (foot), who will most likely miss the remainder of the season.

Normally, if the Falcons had one or two missing pieces, the season could be salvaged. But with Roddy White still not 100 percent, the offensive line struggling to support the running game, and with the deep threat now non-existent without Jones, the offense will now be mediocre at best.

The holes continue on defense even without injury, as the team’s secondary continues to allow big plays on third down and the  pass rush continues to be non-existent in dire situations, though defensive end Osi Umenyiora already has four sacks and an interception this season.

The play-calling, although being less conservative the last two games, has begun to show signs of desperation in Smith and in offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, as they both continue to throw certain plays into situations that never work, especially in the red zone.

At this point, it is pretty safe to say that the Falcons can kiss the playoffs goodbye as the New Orleans Saints are running away with the NFC South. Also, in the NFLs history, only five percent of teams that started the season 1-4 have made the playoffs. With their upcoming schedule, maybe they could possibly get within range of a wild card spot, as they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers twice.

But if this Falcon offense can’t find a way to consistently perform with less firepower, future Hall-of-Fame tight end Gonzalez’s last hurrah will turn out to be a huge disappointment. At least the Falcons can look forward to playing in London in 2014, as that is the only thing going for them at the moment.

Sarah Woodall is an Atlanta Falcons writer for Follow her on Twitter @SarahWoodallRS, or add her to your network on Google.

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