Shaky Falcons Season Ends in Philadelphia
By: David Schiele
Not the best week for football fans in Georgia. Just five days after seeing the Georgia Bulldogs lose the National Championship to Alabama’s backup quarterback, they witnessed the Falcons lose in the NFC Divisional Round in Philadelphia to the Eagles’ backup quarterback.
The Falcons’ loss came down to a fourth-and-goal from the Eagles’ two-yard line. Matt Ryan rolled to his right, looking for Julio Jones. After slipping in the end zone, Jones hopped back on his feet and leaped to catch Ryan’s desperation throw. The ball slipped through his hands. The Eagles ran out the clock and eliminated the Falcons with a 15-10 final score.
Despite the Falcons having a chance to win the game, there was sloppy play and coaching throughout the contest. Devonta Freeman didn’t play anywhere near his Pro-Bowl standard with seven yards on 10 carries. On the contrary, Tevin Coleman ran for 79 with the same amount of carries. But for some reason, Tevin was on the sideline for a better part of the second half. Defensively, the Falcons allowed the Eagles to have three drives over 10 plays, each ending in scores. A potential interception bouncing off of safety Keanu Neal’s knee, and into the hands of Eagles’ Torrey Smith, was the exclamation point on how sloppy Atlanta played in the divisional round.
Historically, Falcons are sloppy in Philadelphia anyway. As a franchise, the Falcons have never won a playoff game in Philadelphia (0-3) and failed to score more than 10 points each time. Since becoming the franchise quarterback, Matt Ryan is 1-4 when playing in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Now the offseason begins for the Falcons, who will need to evaluate several things: offensive line, red-zone offense, offensive coordinator, defensive line, and special teams.
As for Falcons fans, they’ll begin the recovery process of perhaps the worst week in Georgia football history.