NFL

Falcons Continue to Fight for Respect

Grady Jarrett sacks Kyle Allen for the Atlanta Falcons #NFL, #dirtybirds, #falcons, #inbrotherhood, #atlantafalcons, #ATL, #ASN #nfc, #nfcsouth

In a matchup of two mediocre teams going nowhere, the Falcons handled the Panthers 40-20. As we are aware, Ron Rivera was let go earlier in the week by Carolina to get started on the future. Firing the head coach is a public statement of starting over. With the Falcons, the decision is not so clear and has to be a complicated process.

They flash greatness then look lackluster all in the same game. Inconsistency rears its head from day to day and week to week. It as if though they need a big iron to press out wrinkles, and everything would be fine.

On the other hand, many are wondering if the falcons need a new socket or source of energy to spark consistency indicating a replacement at the top by moving away from head coach Dan Quinn.

It hasn’t been good, but Quinn is making the best of a bad situation. Let us not move past this fact. This is the NFL, and a win is a win.

Fans say forget it and tank to get a higher draft pick, but as an athlete, you can’t buy into that you have to be driven to be your best at all times. However, your best may not be good enough, but you have to continue to perform as a professional.

A major lack of fan support was throughout the building. Empty seats have taken up residence in Mercedes Benz Stadium. It’s understandable at some point that is going to demand a decision. However, a new season brings new optimism; meanwhile, this one isn’t over; it has to be finished; anything can happen except a playoff appearance. There is a thin balance between winning out, which will change the draft selection and doing your job which is to win ball games.

The first quarter started as the same ole Falcons false starting to kill drives, missed opportunities on interceptions, and the ball was bouncing unfavorably. It looked as if they were going to get a break with great field position by pinning the Panthers at the one-yard line after further review; the player stepped out of bounds before downing the ball.

Grady Jarrett was in attack mode, his name ring throughout the stadium as he continues down the path for the Pro Bowl, clogging everything up in the middle. He is having the best season of his career, but it is flying under the radar by the subpar season by the Falcons. As a player, all you can do is your part, and he is doing a heck of a job proving he was worth the $64 million extension.

Julio Jones makes a catch during action versus the Carolina Panthers
Julio Jones makes a great catch Dec. 8 versus the Carolina Panthers Courtesy Atlanta Falcons

All was quiet until Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones for 38 yards that set up the Calvin Ridley 15 yard touchdown pass. Though the home crowd was limited in attendance, they showed up with the noise to support their favorite team, good, bad, or ugly. Anytime Ryan and Julio work, their magic brings the building to life.

From there, momentum started to swing in Atlanta’s favor. Damonte Kazee came up with an interception, and the Falcons were back in business but they couldn’t cash the check. The Panthers answered with pride, fighting to tie the game at 10-10. The 9 play 87-yard scoring drive was exactly what they needed to keep the game interesting.

Historically the Falcons like to play fast; therefore, they excel at the two-minute drill. It held true as they quickly moved into the RedZone with .02 remaining in the half. The kicking answer Younghoe Koo nailed a 35-yard field goal to win the first half 13-10.

At this point, it was like a coin toss; either team had a chance to win, which is a good place to be at halftime.  The most important element Christian McCaffery was kept at bay. But you thought sooner or later he was going to have an impact.

2nd half

The momentum carried over into the third quarter Vic Beasley was credited with a sack and fumble. It was a display of why the Falcons drafted him in the first round and picked up his fifth-year $12 Million option. Its been an inconsistent career in Atlanta. He has gone from leading the NFL in sacks to disappearing for entire seasons. It is going to be interesting to see what happens during the offseason.

The Falcons took full advantage when Devonta Freeman tore off the right side for a 13-yard touchdown run. It’s good to see him back, and he is running hard but can’t seem to get that breakout game though his performance was solid carrying the ball 17 times for 84 yards and contributing 1 touchdown.

After a defensive stop, the Falcons found themselves pinned against their endzone, but Matt Ryan broke out his personal game plan, a 93-yard touchdown dime of a pass to rookie Olamide Zacchaeus as he was pummeled in the endzone. It was the longest touchdown pass of his career to go along with surpassing 50,000 career passing yards.

Damonte Kazee delivered a smackdown hit, causing a fumble on the kickoff. The ball ended up in the arms of kicker Younghoe Koo at the 19-yard line. Unfortunately, they couldn’t move the ball an inch so they settled for a field goal. At 30-10, the Falcons were officially in cruise control.

Vic Beasley came up with another sack-fumble, but the ball bounced back to the Panthers. On the next play, Kyle Allen went deep, but Damonta Kazee shut it all down by picking off the pass. It was practice time as Younghoe Koo; he nailed a 50-yard field goal. Koo is proving his worth seizing his opportunity to become the trusted kicker going forward. Today his hotfoot continued to be perfect connecting on 4-4 on field goals. He deserves the game ball. Hopefully, they will lock him up with a nice contract. His sample size is growing.

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