Monday, November 23, 2009

Five Thoughts on the Falcons

1. Is it a coincidence that Matt Ryan played the best he has in weeks without Michael Turner in the lineup? Or that the Falcons' offense really jumped into gear after they fell behind 17-7 at the half and came out throwing in the second half? Is it a shock that a talented quarterback flinging the ball to Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez is a good idea?

2. I know I'm not making an original thought here, but the NFL's overtime rule illustrates everything I don't like about America's most popular league. Pro football is supposed to be about competition and the best man/team winning, and yet the NFL reduces games to random chance because it wants to appease its broadcast partners by assuring them that no game will stray too far outside of its appointed time slot. There can be little in sports that is more unfair than a game like the Giants-Falcons game in which neither defense could get a stop in the second half being decided by a coin flip. And was I the only one feeling a little conspiratorial when the ref flipped the coin twice?

3. I'm not saying that he made a mistake kicking the extra point, but I would not have had any problem with Mike Smith going for two after the Falcons tied the game with 28 seconds remaining. Pro: you would rather have the game come down to your torrid offense than a coin. Con: your running game is shaky, which means the Giants know what's coming. Pro: they could know what's coming and still not stop Tony Gonzalez from snatching the ball out of the air. Con: can your defense hold on for 28 seconds if the Giants are desperate to score?

4. There is no hope for this defense unless 2008 John Abraham reappears. There is no solution for stopping opposing passers when the corners are average at best and the defensive line cannot get a rush. It's pick your poison: blitz and leave Brent Grimes on an island or rush four and give the opponent all day to find a receiver. (Brandon Graham, please be on the board when the Falcons have their first pick in April.) After a Josh Freeman breather this week, we get McNabb and Brees in the next two home games. Oy vey.

5. After years of Keith Brooking (not to mention a fall of Saturdays watching Michigan's clown car linebacker unit), I can't tell you how much fun it is to watch Curtis Lofton and Mike Peterson on Sundays.


Anonymous said...

Your 3d point was outstanding and made me actually laugh out loud at the end.

James Sinclair said...

2. I forget where I first heard this, but my favorite solution would be a sudden death system where there's no opening kickoff, but possession is determined by bidding for field position. It'd be done at midfield like an auction--if team A is willing to take the ball at the 20, and team B isn't willing to take it at the 19, then team A starts overtime with the ball at the 20.

3. The better move would've been to go for 2 after the previous TD. As long as their conversion percentage is at least 38.2%, it makes sense to go for it. If they make it, the next TD wins (or at least gives them the lead). If they don't, they'd still have a decent chance to tie with a TD and a successful conversion.

4. Agreed.

(By the way, as an Atlanta sports fan who has had all kinds of trouble finding intelligent analysis of Atlanta sports, I very much enjoy your site. Thank you, and keep it up.)