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Atlanta Falcons - Slow Start Could Mean Trouble

Will Robinson |
September 27, 2011 | 12:34 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer


Atlanta has surprised many with its slow start. (James Emery via Creative Commons)
Atlanta has surprised many with its slow start. (James Emery via Creative Commons)
The Atlanta Falcons were last year’s class of the NFC with just three regular season games lost in 2010. 

Through three weeks this season, they’ve already dropped two games. 

Sound the alarms in the ATL.

The reigning NFC South champions opened their 2011 campaign with a 30-12 slaughter at the hands of Chicago, a narrow 35-31 victory against the Michael Vick-less Eagles and an ugly 16-13 loss against Josh Freeman’s Bucs.

It is early in the season. Three weeks in is hardly the time to pass judgment. But the teams in the NFC South have performed well so far this season, while the Dirty Birds have flown low to the ground and have not impressed thus far.


After all, they improved upon areas of need: they added a complementary defensive end and wideout to John Abraham and Roddy White in Ray Edwards and Julio Jones, respectively. But this has not resulted in the 2-1 start they had last season.

Last season, they lost to the eventual AFC champion on the road, followed up by crushing Arizona, and then beat the reigning Super Bowl victors in their house. They looked strong out of the gate, a true surprise to most of the NFL. 

This season, they look lackluster. Indistinctive. Average. 

They have not been balanced on offense. 

Their one win featured a good balance, but if Michael Turner’s long run were removed, then their offense would have been extremely poor, barely reaching 250 yards. The team reeks of mediocrity.

White and Jones both posted great statistical games against Tampa Bay, but Matt Ryan had three turnovers and passed 47 times inefficiently. Fifty-five percent passing will not win games coupled with poor running back performances. 

It looked like he was sipping too much Natty Ice instead of being Matty Ice.

Their defense has not been lights out, or that would be a check mark in the positive column.

Against the Bucs, the touted defensive end duo of Edwards and Abraham recorded zero sacks, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit (both Abraham). 

The rest of the defense did not help: zero sacks, five tackles for loss and one QB hit. The Falcon defense intercepted Freeman twice, but they still lost the turnover battle three to two.

Their schedule appears to be rough, too. 

They travel to Seattle next week -- an easy opponent, but the venue is killer -- then face Green Bay, Carolina and Detroit. They could easily be 3-4 after the Lions game, a poor position to start the season.

Next week is the time for the Falcons to soar. Good teams should crush bad teams. Seattle barely won at home against the Cardinals. Atlanta needs to win by at least two touchdowns.

But a repeat NFC South title is in jeopardy. 

Tampa Bay put them away, something they weren’t able to do last season. New Orleans looks sharp and the Panthers look good compared to their 2010 incarnation. 

Atlanta needs to pick up steam. Quick. Otherwise, instead of being embarrassed at their home stadium in January, the Falcons will be watching from their couches while other teams make their mark in the NFL history books, and they are just a blip in pro-football memories.


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