The Atlanta Falcons entered Sunday looking to get back on track against the Tennessee Titans. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota came in with one passing touchdown this season well he added to his total by throwing 3 against the Falcons today. Just like the Minnesota game and the Colts, the Falcons were non-existent as the defense gave up 24 points in the 1st half. Mariota ended the game with 227 passing yards and Henry rushed for a total of 100 yards. Rookie wide receiver AJ Brown absolutely tortured the Falcons secondary and Desmond Trufant as he had 3 receptions for 94 yards with 2 touchdowns. One would think that the Falcons offense would be able to compete with the Titans and well that didn’t happen as the Falcons were held to 10 points. Ryan threw for 397 yards with no interceptions and no interceptions. Freeman finished the game with 28 yards rushing and the team in total had 58 total rushing yards. Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu were the only bright spots of the entire Falcons offense. Hooper had 9 receptions and 130 yards and Sanu had 9 receptions and 91 yards.
So what exactly went wrong with the Falcons against the Titans? Well lets first start with the defense. Defense started the game forcing the Titans to punt on their opening drive, but after that it was all down hill. As the penalties continued for them and defensive tackle Tyler Davison picking up 2 straight penalties for illegal hands to the face and offsides. Cornerbacks Isiah Oliver and Desmond Trufant were terrible. Oliver got beat a few times in coverage or flat out missed tackles. Trufant blew his assignments which led to several wide receivers being wide open for big gains. Falcons were able to get pressure on Mariota but never were able to bring him down for a sack.
Offensively, the Falcons started well after Tennessee scored a touchdown on their second drive. Ito Smith got a 2 yard rushing touchdown which tied it up 7-7 early in the 1st, but after that they stalled out. Matt Bryant missed a field goal that would of made it a two touchdown difference at half. Bryant would make a field goal on the Falcons opening drive of the 3rd quarter, but that would be the last time Falcons scored in the game. Ryan was sacked 5 times in the game and right guard Jamon Brown left the game with a head injury and did not return. Wes Schweitzer had to come in and play right guard while Brown was out which makes it the third right guard Falcons had to use this season.
If anything the Falcons looked worst on Sunday than the did against the Colts and more looked like they did in Minnesota. Something that is very concerning is that the Falcons are not coming out in the 1st half and playing. It takes them being down by 10 or more for them to get going which is just unacceptable. So far the Falcons have been outscored 71-20 in the first half alone. The Falcons have a difficult amount of games coming up that will really make a break the season before they have a bye week in Week 9 and head to New Orleans in Week 10. The Falcons in their next 4 games have the Texans, Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks. If the Falcons do not improve at all they have the possibility of being 1-8 going into the bye week. If the Falcons can go 3-1 or 2-2 then they can keep their season alive. Personally, I wouldn’t call for Dan Quinn to be fired yet, if the Falcons are 1-8 by Week 9 and do not win more than one or two more games this season then yes Dan Quinn should be fired.
Up next for the Falcons is a road trip to Houston to face the Texans. The Texans are coming off a difficult loss to the Carolina Panthers. Panthers defeated the Texans 16-10 and the Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled against the Panthers defense. Texans have had a similar issue with their offensive line that the Falcons have had. This would be a good opportunity for Takk McKinley or Vic Beasley to go off in this game. All I am hoping for on Sunday is for them to come out and play all four quarters well. Kickoff against the Texans is at 1:00 PM on Fox. Follow @BirdsInTheBenz on twitter throughout the game and for all your updates on the Falcons!
By: Stewart Zwald @SDZwald041599