Long before yet another Matt Ryan pass fell hopelessly short to clinch a loss Sunday afternoon in the Georgia Dome, the writing was already on the wall.
The Atlanta Falcons, while never a threat to hold up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of this season, are in danger of going from 5-0 to missing the playoffs.
The latest come-from-ahead defeat came at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, starting a 40-year-old backup quarterback after going just 4-5 with their starter. The Colts have no pass rush, few weapons on offense and plenty of other issues. They still beat Atlanta.
There was no excuse for this loss. They weren’t playing on the West Coast or in the Superdome on short rest. The Falcons were coming off a bye week when they were supposedly ironing out their problems and getting right.
But on Sunday, the same problems manifested themselves. The defense was good enough, but on the field far too often. The offense struggled to get moving all day, and Matt Ryan showed yet again that he is clearly not good enough to take over a football game and win despite all of the reasons to lose. Nope, not our $131 million quarterback.
At 6-4, the Falcons hold a one-game lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – that NFC South foe that was one of many teams that beat Atlanta recently. The Bucs are surging, but what’s especially scary is that Tampa Bay may be one of the most beatable teams left on Atlanta’s remaining schedule.
Before the Falcons play that second game against Tampa, they’ll host the Minnesota Vikings, who entered this weekend 7-2. There’s also those two remaining games against the 10-0 Carolina Panthers, who have to be licking their chops as they watch this Atlanta team falter and limp around.
At this point, the Falcons could look to games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints for possible wins, but would anyone be surprised if Atlanta dropped either of those matchups, or both? Keep in mind that this team just lost consecutive games to Blaine Gabbert and Matt Hasselbeck.
Truthfully, at this point, the Falcons could lose to anyone. And they just might lose to everyone on their remaining schedule.
Image: AP/David GoldmanFollow @Sean_Breslin