One could have pretty easily predicted that the Atlanta Falcons running game would struggle against the Arizona Cardinals in week eight of the 2013 NFL season. Coming into the game, the Falcons had one of the worst rushing games in the league statistically and Steven Jackson was returning after being out for quite a while. More than that, they were going up against a top-10 run defense in the Cardinals.
Arizona’s run defense more than stifled Atlanta on the ground, holding them to an unbelievably miniscule 27 yards on 14 carries. However, it would have been hard to foresee how awfully Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ passing attack would play in this game.
Recently I wrote about how Ryan didn’t deserve much of the blame for the Falcon’s struggles this season, but his performance against the Cardinals made that look quite silly. Ryan put the ball in the air a remarkable 61 times against Arizona, but completed only 34 of those attempts. He threw for 301 yards and a score, but he also threw a terrible four interceptions in the contest.
Had Ryan been up against an elite pass defense, that would be one thing. However, this is a Cardinals team that ranked only 19th in the league against the pass coming into this matchup. Sure, they gave up a solid chunk of yardage, but that doesn’t matter when you’re able to pick off the opposing quarterback four times and sack him four times as well.
The Falcons are in trouble going forward after this game. They sit at 2-5, still have no semblance of a rushing attack, still don’t know what the future holds for star receiver Roddy White, and are pretty much searching for answers and getting no reply. After the way their offense performed against the Cardinals, it’s hard not to look at week eight like a bad omen for Atlanta.