Yes, the Falcons lost. No, it wasn’t an ‘Atlanta sports moment.’

AP Photo/John Bazemore
AP Photo/John Bazemore

It sure looked familiar, didn’t it, Falcons fans?

Yet again, an Atlanta sports team was on the cusp of something really cool, maybe even borderline special. Yet again, they fell flat on their faces. And then, to add insult to injury, the locker room flooded with sewage.

But this time, it was different. And not just because of the presence of literal sewage in addition to the figurative waste on the field.

(Photos: Breslanta’s Images of 2014)

First of all, the entire free world knew this Atlanta Falcons team wasn’t any good. It wasn’t likely that a playoff berth was going to amount to anything except inflated hopes and broken hearts a week or two from now.

It was a 34-3 drubbing that was nothing but Panthers domination. Give credit to Carolina, because they were the only team to play inspired football at the Georgia Dome Sunday evening.

But it’s well past time for the franchise to look to the future and start making changes, and the chances of that were decreasing with every victory the Falcons had down the stretch.

Because there were reports swirling that Falcons owner Arthur Blank had hired a search firm for the next head coach before the game even began, there’s every reason to believe Mike Smith is done in Atlanta. CBS Sports also reported a loss would likely be the end for general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

And at this point, sweeping changes are exactly what the Falcons need. They just got massacred in a must-win game; all sides of the ball were completely dominated by a mediocre but inspired Panthers team. Atlanta’s offensive line allowed quarterback Matt Ryan to get hit 18 times, and the defense never stood a chance.

Sure, I can see how that might look like a typical Atlanta sports meltdown, but believe it or not, it was for the best. It’s time to rebuild, and that might not have happened if the winning streak stretched into the postseason.

Now, Falcons fans must turn their attention to that mid-spring event on which they hang their hopes so often.

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