After two weeks of optimism, it came crashing down with some of the same ole adversity. Inconsistent play combined with the inability to take advantage of opportunities. Jamies Winston threw an interception to Desmond Trufant on his first play from scrimmage and followed it up with another. It was as if he was Santa Claus passing out early gifts. The Falcons looked as if they wanted to do something with them; they flashed moments of greatness, but they couldn’t sustain.
They had short fields. Pinned Tampa down in their endzone twice, which should have indirectly led to good field position, but each time they backed them down inside the five-yard line Winston dropped a bomb not just to get operating room he got points. The Falcons should have been putting up touchdowns instead of only one field goal. They let Tampa hang in early and paid the price with their first loss of the second season 35-16.
It sounded good and looked even better; some were thinking of a Hollywood ending to the story of the 2019 Falcons. A turnaround for the ages from 1-7 to 9-7, trouble with that was the possibility of laying an egg; that’s exactly what happened. They had every opportunity; unfortunately, they squandered.
Dan Quinn is one helluva salesman, but I don’t know what can be said after this. The words sincerely escape me. Evidence by the numerous empty seats the fans did not buy-in. The back to back wins was on the road; perhaps he can petition the NFL to let them play the remaining games away from home. It has to be demoralizing to see the lack of attendance/support inside of Mercedes Benz Stadium. Imagine this your Personal Seat License and ticket have been paid in full you are so disgusted to the point where you would rather stay home.
At this point, the fans are making a statement. They are looking forward to next season so they can return with optimism and hope. If they could have run the table, which was a tall order, Quinn and staff would return, but now they are back to square one.
Matt Ryan was under siege 6 sacks and 13 quarterback hits. I don’t care who is behind center that’s going to be catastrophic. He performed as good as possible, completing 23 of 46 passes for 271 yards with only 1 interception.
Matt Ryan shared his thoughts on Tampa Bay’s pass rush:
“They did an excellent job today getting after us. We weren’t able to get into any rhythm. We had some opportunities to… good start for us creating an explosive play, the second play of the game. Disappointing to not come away with a touchdown there. Short field opportunity after that, disappointing to not come away with points there. We had our chances early in that game to make it a different type of game, and we weren’t able to do that. Then, obviously, we struggled really through the second half of the game. All of us across the board need to do a better job.
Meanwhile the Falcons defense had no sacks and only one quarterback hit, keep in mind the Buccaneers offense came into the game leading the league in sacks allowed  and interceptions  perhaps the Falcons arsenal of inventory was depleted in the last two games where they produced 11 sacks, 21 quarterback hits, and 4 interceptions, seems like their inventory was depleted of arsenal and someone forgot to reload the weapons.
Bad teams figure out a way to lose, and good teams figure out a way to win; there is no truer statement in sports.
The question was put squarely on Matt Ryan
What are you playing
for at this point in the season:
“We’re professionals. Any chance we get to go out there and compete and play the way the game’s supposed to be played and the way that we’re capable of, to me, that’s part of being in this league, and having that professional pride and a mindset to go out there and deliver your best performance week in and week out regardless of what’s going on is the mindset that I have. I go out there to play to win, and I know that it doesn’t look good for us right now, but at the same time, it doesn’t make a difference. When you line up, and they blow the whistle, and you’ve got to go, you’ve got to play to win and play the way you’re capable of playing regardless of what’s going on.”
The script continued as in the last two games against New Orleans and Carolina, they won the coin toss and kept with the winning trend choosing to play offense instead of deferring until the second half. The Falcons fragile mindset required something good to happen early, as they say, if It is not broken, don’t fix it.
Keeping with their winning trend, they chose the ball to begin the game. It started well, but it was only a tease Ryan connected with J Graham for 53 yards, but the drive fizzled, causing them to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo. It didn’t take long for the defense to strike Desmond Trufant intercepted Jamies Winston to earn a short field.
They did nothing with the great field position unless you count a false start by J Graham to kill the drive. Football is about field position, though it was bad not to score off the turnover, at least, they came out of it with a punt that placed the Buccaneers with their backs against the wall at the 2-yard line.
Jamies Winston took back the leverage throwing a 71-yard bomb of a touchdown pass to Chris Godwin. The Falcons didn’t make them pay with that field position; you have to figure out a way to take their spirit, not breathe life into them. That was exactly what the Falcons did not need.
Julio Jones says throw it in my direction, and I will catch it, Ryan threw a high arching pass over the right shoulder where if his guy didn’t catch it the ball it would go out of bound, one word comes to mind perfectly. Just like lightning in a bottle, a 31-yard pass to the all-world receiver. That drive ended on a false start by J Graham. There it was, the undisciplined play haunting the Falcons all season was creeping back in. I thought they had found the cure.
Jamies Winston wrapped another gift by doing too much. He attempted a jump pass out of the defenders’ arms and tossed the ball right into the hands of DeVondre Campbell. The Falcons were back in business 19 yards from the promised land. This time they made them pay with points off the turnover Quadree Ollison the 232 lbs. bull of a running back ran the bulldozer in from a yard out.
Sign of bad news with all the advantages the falcons had Tampa was only trailing by three points 10-7.
The nightmare started when Ryan was sacked on back to back plays. Fortunately, he fell on the fumble to face 3rd and 27.
In the world of the NFL, Jamies Winston is known to be a streaky player. He looks great in spurts and awful in others. He chose some of his best, a beautifully thrown ball right over the top of the defender’s outstretched hand to Chris Godwin for 30 yards. He followed that with an 8-yard bullet to D Jones for a touchdown. The score was 13-10 concerns swept the sparsely populated home crowd.
How could that be two interceptions that resulted in great field position yet losing?
The offensive line returned to Its wet paper bag technique, briefly restraining Devin White before he sacked Matt Ryan for the third time to end another drive.
Good News: A booming punt backed Tampa into the unfriendly zone with their backs on their 5-yard line. Instead of a bomb, Winston threw a dime for 43 yards to B Perriman. It was a spectacular catch while falling out of bounds. Dan Quinn challenged asking for help from above, but after further review, it was confirmed to be a catch as called. You can’t blame him for seeking help.
Tampa Bay struck again just before halftime 6 plays covering 51 yards highlighted by Winston tossing a 1-yard touchdown pass to the 6’4 345 Lbs. Nose guard Vita Vea. Atlanta was standing in quicksand, as bad as Tampa had played; they were leading 19-10 at intermission.
Atlanta needed a break or a reason to retreat to the corner. Just as Dontay Wilder delivered a knock out blow last night, the Buccaneers did the same. They came out of the corner with a 95-yard touchdown scoring drive in 11 plays. That was the shot to the body; it took all the wind out of the building.
Symbolic of the Season:
Disaster struck, It went from bad to worst Matt Ryan was sacked by Jason Pierre Paul he fumbled, and Ndamukong Suh scooped up the ball for a 6-yard touchdown. The question has arisen; were the back to back victories a fluke? Guess we will find out in four days when the rematch is scheduled with New Orleans for Thanksgiving someone’s dinner will be ruined.