A disappointing year summed up in 4 plays

Published 4:04 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My prediction for the Falcons beating the Eagles on Saturday was wrong. Yet I was still right about a few things.

For starters, Nick Foles isn’t a very good quarterback. Only one thing changed from the super productive offense Philly had earlier this season, and that was Carson Wentz. I don’t think Foles has the guts and leadership to get through the NFC Championship this weekend.

I really can’t say anything bad about other offenses as an Atlanta fan, though. Good gracious, talk about squandering your talent. A team with Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu should never score only 10 points. Even against the best defenses in the league, these guys should be able to manage at least two touchdowns a game.

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Last year, the offense was firing on all cylinders. Similar to the Eagles, only one has changed 2016 to 2017: the offensive coordinator. Kyle Shanahan was a master at using the tools he had to create a playbook that adhered to their strengths. Unfortunately, he got the head coaching job at San Francisco and turned a floundering franchise into a darn good team once he got Jimmy Garappolo under center.

Replacing him in Atlanta was Steve Sarkisian, and the guy blew it. The ineptitude can be boiled down to the final four plays from Saturday’s divisional game. The Falcons are down 15-10 and are 1st and 9 from the Eagles 9 yard line. Four tries to get 9 yards.

Four tries, four bad plays. Falcons manage to get 4th and 2, but Sarkisian’s call for Ryan to hit Jones in the corner was garbage. Jones had a man covering him tightly, and even then, Jones almost caught it for the go-ahead score. Why not send Jones over the middle on a flat route? He can get that separation and the Eagles wouldn’t even know what hit them. Or, use one of the best running backs in the league to race to the edge and score. The play that was called didn’t work for what these players do best.

Sarkisian needs to be fired, but he likely won’t. People will say that a second year in the system will do the players well. I’m inclined to believe that philosophy, as it was most evident under Shanahan’s offense. But I’m so disgusted with how this season ended, I’m not sure I can stomach it. What a bad week for Atlanta sports fans.

You know who had a great week? The Vikings! What a finale. Coaches will use that play forever to demonstrate the importance of timing a tackle correctly and finishing the play until the clock reads 0:00.

At least the Saints lost. That makes this Falcons fan feel a little better, I guess.