At the beginning of the year, nobody, and I mean nobody could have foreseen just how bad the Atlanta Falcons would be, especially when many presumed that this would be a Super Bowl or “Bust” year. To make matters even worse, in a season where everything has just gone wrong, the Falcons announced that their star receiver Julio Jones will miss the rest of the 2013 season.This injury is the perfect summary of how the Falcons’ season has gone so far, as they have experienced multiple adversities that may keep the Falcons halted for the remainder of the season.
During their Monday night game against the New York Jets, in which they lost in yet another dramatic conclusion with the final score 30-28 to drop them to an abysmal 1-4 record, Jones left the game with an injury to his foot. After the game, not only did the Falcons lose any chance of making it to the Super Bowl, but they witnessed one of the best receivers in the NFL go down as well.
As the Falcons are on bye this weekend, coach Mike Smith and his team will try their best to recover, as Halloween has come early for the Falcons with nightmare after nightmare that will surely keep the Dirty Birds awake at night.
Not much can be said about the Falcons, and it seems like for the first time, Smith does not have an answer. In two consecutive weeks, the Falcons attempted heroic comebacks against the New England Patriots and the Jets. Instead of winning the close games that the Falcons were so good at least year, they instead fell flat and endured heartbreaking losses that might have triggered a cardiac arrest to the very Falcon itself.
For two consecutive weeks, Smith has elected to go for it on fourth down instead of getting the guaranteed points in kicking the field goal. And instead of being congratulated for being an aggressive coach that trusted his team and tried to inject life into a zombie, he realizes those may have cost his team the game in both contests.
Jones’ injury goes beyond his skill and explosiveness on the field, but this injury will impact the Falcons in a way that will be very hard to overcome. His injury is the exact definition of just how the Falcons have fared this season, as it seems like the Falcons’ woes resemble some parts of the Biblical story of Job and how he lost everything one by one.
Injuries are a part of the NFL and every team deals with them, as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Patriots are the front-runners along with the Falcons of not having key players for a long period of time.
The difference, though, is the way they lost their players and the time frame they lost them in. In the early goings of the season, the Falcons lost five starters after one single game, as their absence can clearly be seen on both sides of the ball.
Without these key players, the Falcons have been unable to hide some of their weaknesses that they could previously cover up and make it seem okay. Now those weaknesses have been exposed so obviously that people in the space station could even see it.
Although the Falcons still have Pro Bowler Roddy White, he has been dealing with a high ankle sprain that he has re-aggravated multiple times, not to mention that he also went out of the game against the Jets nursing a hamstring injury. Even with the bye week to rest up, the Falcons fear that White could still miss multiple games.
With Jones out and White playing on one healthy leg, Ryan’s top two receivers left are Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez. Even for the great Gonzalez , it will be tough for him to get open with defenses now throwing all their attention in stopping the last of the dynamic trio of receivers the Falcons possessed.
All in all, the Falcons’ season has consisted of turmoil, disappointments, frustration, devastation, heartbreak, failure and most importantly, injuries.
Maybe this was inevitable, as the football gods have struck the Falcons with adversity at its finest. Either way, Jones’ loss is not only a blow to a team that will surely be fighting an uphill battle in just making the Wild Card, but his injury defines the Falcons’ season thus far.