Let’s not make any mistake about one thing – the Atlanta Falcons’ defense got torched by the Cincinnati Bengals.
But it’s not their job to win football games. That’s on the offense; The Falcons won’t beat a single team in the NFL by scoring only 10 points.
That’s what happened Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati: a 24-10 defeat that could have been a lot worse. It was a complete tail-whipping, but that kind of game happen to nearly every team in the league. They just have to forget about it and move on to Week 3.
(Check this out: Atlanta’s demographics plotted on this fancy map)
As social media was lighting up Sunday with spiteful comments aimed at Atlanta’s porous defense, it would have been easy to jump on board and call for defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s head.
However, it isn’t Nolan’s fault – nor the fault of his defense – that the Falcons’ offense couldn’t muster anything of value against the vaunted Cincinnati defense. And when the Falcons allow fewer than 30 points in a loss, the blame will almost always fall on the offense.
Or at least it should.
It’s a fact that general manager Thomas Dimitroff built this team to be an offensive juggernaut and spent most of the franchise’s money on shiny offensive toys. The defense is a patchwork mess, but that’s the way it has always been.
It’s on the offense to win, or lose, ballgames.
During the meat of the game, the Falcons had five possessions that were make-or-break drives. The game was still in hand at that time – it was tied 3-3 when the first of those crucial five drives began.
Not one of those drives lasted longer than 2 minutes and six seconds. The defense – shaky as it is when the offense is actually in-sync – never had a chance to sit down, regroup and take a breather.
Unless they’re scoring really fast, the Falcons’ offense should never be on and off the field that quickly.
In my opinion, the Falcons should score an average of 17 points per half based on their offensive firepower. If teams average roughly six drives per half, that’s asking them to score on half of those drives and get touchdowns 33 percent of the time. That’s not too much to ask of an offense that has weapons galore, right?
That equals 34 points per game, in a league where points are pretty easy to come by. Again, if the Falcons want to win, they need to score at least 30 against most teams, because their defense isn’t going to make a lot of stops over the course of a game.
But when this offense scores 10 points in a 60-minute span, Falcons fans shouldn’t be calling for their defensive coaches to be fired. They had nothing to do with that mess.