Short takes on Falcons’ loss to Cincinnati

Matt Ryan struggled behind Falcons’ banged up offensive line. (AP photo)

Matt Ryan struggled behind Falcons' banged up offensive line. (AP photo)

Matt Ryan struggled behind Falcons’ banged up offensive line. (AP photo)

I’ll be back shortly with my column on the Falcons’ ugly 24-10 loss to Cincinnati Until then, here are my three short takes on the game.

UPDATE: HERE’S A LINK TO THE FULL GAME COLUMN.

1. Problems up front: The Falcons’ offensive line was pretty good against New Orleans in Week 1. Not Sunday. Losing starting tackle Jake Matthews (ankle), after already having lost starter Sam Baker in the preseason, was too much. Matt Ryan was sacked only two times but he was forced out of the pocket on several occasions and rushed on throws. Ryan was only 24-for-44 and threw three interceptions. The Falcons also couldn’t mount a rushing attack. Consequently, the offense that went for 37 points and 568 yards against the Saints to 10 points and 309 yards against Cincinnati (98 in the first half)  If Matthews’ ankle injury is significant enough to lose more games, the offense is going to have issues.

2. No A.J. Green, no problem: So you think this game was a rout? Imagine how bad it would have been if Cincinnati didn’t lose five starters during the game, including wide receiver A.J. Green on the opening series. Even without Green, the team’s best player, quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 252 yards (145 in the first half on only nine completions) and receiver Mohamed Sanu completed a 50-yarder to Brandon Tate on a flea-flicker. Cincinnati had over 400 yards in offense with six minutes left in the third quarter. If not for shutting it down, they might’ve gone over 600.

3. Pass rush, where are thou? The defense couldn’t pressure New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees last week but it didn’t matter because the Falcons could score. This week, it mattered. The defense rarely pressured Dalton. Actually, I can’t remember the last time he was even touched by an Atlanta pass rusher. Dalton was not sacked, which means the Falcons’ have no sacks in two games. This is a problem that’s not likely to go away. The Falcons have no pure pass rushers. And on that subject: Has anybody seen Osi Umenyiora?

Digital Jukebox (but it only plays Schultz songs)
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech has problems, but it also has Justin Thomas
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— AJC: Goodell was at Masters when Rice video arrived at office
— AJC: Adam Silver, Magic Johnson see Ferry-Deng differently
— MyAJC: Only cure: All Hawks’ owners and Ferry must go
— AJC: Levenson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar miss point about Atlanta
— MyAJC: Levenson gone but timing raises questions
— AJC: Hawks’ Levenson has ugly exit because of email
— MyAJC: Matt Ryan wouldn’t let Falcons lose
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech still looks wobbly at 2-0
— AJC: Short takes on Tech’s 38-21 win over Tulane
— AJC: Live blog: Tech tries to spoil Tulane’s party
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons (real ones) over Saints
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons (real ones) over Saints
— AJC: Video evidence of Stephen Garcia hitting bottom
— MyAJC: Falcons need Mike Nolan to create an illusion
— AJC: Michael Sam not being viewed as just a player
— MyAJC: With Todd Gurley, possibilities are endless
— AJC: Short takes: Georgia 45, Clemson 21
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— AJC: On Braves, McGuirk and repairing baseball

Reader Comments 0

86 comments
Rhetoric
Rhetoric

San Diego did not care that on paper the Seahawks looked unbeatable.

They were not afraid to go after Sherman. The Falcons offense should

have performed better. It's time for the Falcons to make plays instead of

excuses. They had no sense of urgency in the first half.  The mentality of

the coaching staff appeared to be we will take the field the second half and

see what happens. It seems to me that the Falcons had expected the Bengals

to dominate since Matthews was out.  The Falcons are mentally fragile. Their spirit

is easily broken if they have to deal with adversity. Last week it was Matthews'

injury. What will it be  this week or the following week?

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

If you'd told me a month ago that the  Falcons would be 1-1 after these first two games, I'd take it.  The Saints have owned us lately and the Bengals are a well-rounded team that plays stout defense.  We were underdogs in both games.

On a different note, for as long as I can remember if the VISITING team was NFC, Fox got the games and if the VISITING team was AFC, CBS carried it.  Why was Sunday's game different? My parents live in south Georgia and got the Jags game instead.

mar1049
mar1049

RISE UP!! RISE UP!!. Keep losing like this and the owners will blame the President and then blame all the black folks that play, attend, work at and in general people who walk pass the stadium on any given day. We certainly have to blame someone else for this team's horrible performance. Maybe they should try playing one of the local large classification high schools in Georgia. Maybe they can beat one of these high school teams. 

sjh5023
sjh5023

I'll say what I said on the other board.>>>>

{Would like to leaven the pessimism here in that the Bengals may be REALLY good. They manhandled the Ravens in Balt last week, who went onto blast the Steelers 27-7 Thur night. So this could have been one of the toughest games of the season, maybe the hardest. By contrast, doesn't look like the NFC South is tough at all.}


PS: See Falcons 8-8 benefiting from weak division. Predict AFC North 14-2/13-3 vs NFC South.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

Mama said there'd be days like this, my mama said...and, that was butt ugly!

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

Cincinnati is probably the second best defense in the league, and Ryan has generally played worse outdoors for most of his career, so it was not too surprising to see them struggling yesterday. I thought it was more concerning, from a playoff contention standpoint, to see the defense struggle despite AJ Green and Tyler Eifert being out due to injury. Based on these first two weeks, this defense is nowhere near good enough to expect any positive results in the playoffs.

Railroadtracgang
Railroadtracgang

Beirman is completely useless. pay attention to his snaps and you will see. Osi is pathetic, another stupid money loss situation to a player who is living out his career collecting a paycheck for doing zero. 

warfalcon
warfalcon

one game at a time, just what the doctor ordered tampon boys.


LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KatieR620
KatieR620

One more to hang on Dimitroff and Co.  Outside of the Cowboys and Redskins probably the worst talent acquisition in the league since 2008.


No group has been lauded more while they made their team worse than this one.


Pass Rush?????


1.5 good drafts and a couple of decent free agents since 2008 does not a great roster make.



That said it's one freaking game,  relax people.  The Bengals are a lot better roster than this one and the Falcons were on the road. 

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

Mat Rayan has a week arm and cant move 2 safe his life. Flacons should of had of pix Mansell and this wuld not be a prolbem

zuzu331
zuzu331

@Flacons_go_2-14 Only dummies are fooled by these AyJayCee trolls,which dont exist on any other reputable media outlet. 

JONBONBON
JONBONBON

Tommy D needs a haircut.. Just saying folks

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Sadly, there's not a sports coach in this state who is capable of winning a Championship. Budenholzer is the only current possibility simply because he hasn't been around long enough to make 100% judgement like we can with Richt, Johnson, Smitty, and Gonzalez. This state is and has always been a supporter of mediocre sports teams for almost 50 years and counting. Until fans here grow-a-pair and start holding our teams accountable, the underwhelming seasons and performances will continue. Change should start now with all aforementioned coaches being fired.

jcatl
jcatl

The Falcons will never compete as long as we keep signing the dregs of the NFL for linemen.  Dmitroff has cost us two seasons in a row of below average teams.  This year we'll be lucky to be 8-8.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

The talent gap on OL and DL was patently obvious. It was massive! I suspect even Blank knows where the problem lies now.

GSU93
GSU93

Terrible O line, terrible D.  I knew coming into the season that they would regret not addressing the pass rush this off-season.  But Dimitroff is so arrogant, he will never admit a mistake.  Like taking Holmes in the 3rd round when all the draft experts rated him 5th or 6th round.  He got eaten up again yesterday but there is NO ONE  else b/c they have no depth. That's also Dimitroff's fault for giving up 6 draft picks for a WR who hasn't lived up to expectations. I don't see them winning even 8 games this year.

patriotdog
patriotdog

And Schultzie, the hatchet job you and Bradley did on Ferry for reading a report that he did not write aloud to men who paid for the report was disgraceful. If you or Bradley can honestly state that you have never repeated words of others that may have been inappropriate then you get a pass as simply being the journalistic equivalent of an ambulance chasing attorney.

If you can't honestly make that statement, which is my guess, then you are both hypocritical hacks who owe the man a public apology. Had he written the words, he'd deserve the firestorm...he didn't and he doesn't.

And I could care less about the NBA.

Now, back to the Falcons, y'all.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Smitty deserves better. Nolan deserves better.

Tommy D spent most of Arthur's $ on offensive

playmakers ( yes, he finally spent on an O lineman...finally) and not enough on D. Julio, Roddy, Retread Jackson and Matty are all fun to watch...well, Jackson isn't but the others are pretty players, but without winning the line of scrimmage, you don't win titles. One high pick on Matthews is not enough. A bunch of retreads and so-so's on the D line put too much pressure on the D backs. Osi is done. S Jackson is, too. Release then both and let the young and quick play. And Thomas..

LAY OFF THE SKILL GUYS, WE NEED BEEF!

zuzu331
zuzu331

I knew Schultz would be licking his chops after that crappy game. No spin from me,running Jackson over and over is a poor way to play call,the purple grimace hits the hole faster than Jackson. Why change from last week,when the offensive variety carried the day? How about letting A.Smith and Freeman run some? Damn.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Falcon's D is terrible, but their offense continues to struggle outside of a Dome environment.  I hope this new Jerry World wannabe they are building will not be closed most of the time.  This team needs to learn how to play outdoors.  Even before last year, their record outdoors was bad while indoors is excellent.

All Dome teams have this problem.  The Saints struggled all day in a loss @Cleveland.  The Lions managed just a single TD @Carolina. 

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

Cincinnati ha 6 1st round draft picks in the secondary!! The DL and LB can get serious pressure without blitz! They obviously have stellar D. The Falcons D is terrible.........it is not the scheme; the talent is simply sub-par in Atlanta.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

I see the usual trolls are back! Gosh I miss last week when the troll replant was sprayed! Got beat by a better team! Get better get healthy get ready for Thursday night...geez people who thought 16-0 was on the horizon?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

This is awful.  How long until pitchers and catchers report?

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

glad I didn't have to witness it...we got the Jacksonville/Washington feed in Savannah on CBS...we're in that 150 mile radius wherein the Jags take precedent over the 'Coons...go dogs

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Blank says he could buy better talent and improve to a 7 or 8 win season if the Taxpayers would kick in some more money for the new Stadium.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Yeah, I saw Osi at a BBQ joint the other day stuffing his face on The Fool's dime. Said he was retired but he just hadn't told anyone yet. Said BJ was gonna meet him later.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

So much wrong with this team- players and coaches- that it's really hard to pick a place to start. Here's what I see:

1. Non-factor defense with no pass rush that specializes in nothing. Been that way for several years now. Hard to win games consistently given the points they allow each week. Isn't Smitty suppose to be a defensive minded coach?

2. Matt Ryan's passing effectiveness goes to 20 maybe 25 yards and then drops off drastically from there. As a result, opposing teams only have to protect a 25 yard field from the line of scrimmage. Matt Ryan can't fully utilize our receivers and their ability to stretch the field.

3. OL is better than last year but far from championship caliber.

4. No sense of urgency. Down 24-3 in the 4th qtr, team not rushing to the line of scrimmage nor is Ryan going into hurry up mode. Pretty pathetic display by this team.

5. Falcons are nowhere close to being a championship caliber team. Besides some different players, it's going to take a different philosophy and attitude that Mike Smith and Dimitroff can't provide.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

@GeorgeJetsen  Agree with all.  but as far as your 2nd point goes, every QB's efficiency drops beyond 25 yards unless the receiver is uncovered.

extremus
extremus

Both lines looked like a bunch of pansies today; the "toughness" emphasis only goes as far as the personnel, and there's only so much you can do in one offseason to address so many needs.  Matthews' injury definitely hurt because Matt Ryan was constantly getting rushed and hit; the O-line got manhandled.  And again, ZERO pass rush.  Opposing QBs must be licking their chops to play the Falcons because they know they'll have all day on almost every snap to pick them apart (and have you ever seen a team that can turn an apparent sack or stop at the line of scrimmage into a huge gain for an opposing team as often as this one!?).  Oh, and the tackling could be better (yes, that's a sarcastic understatement). 


I don't envy Mike Smith and his coaches after the sloppy debacle today; where do you even begin when so many things are just completely inadequate?

seminoleking
seminoleking

you cant play physical defense when you dont have physical players.....

The_Shade
The_Shade

Sports fans, this might be the most amazing time EVER to be a sports fan in Atlanta.  Do you realize it's entirely possible that every Atlanta franchise - Hawks, Braves, Falcons, Georgia Tech - could lose a head coach/manager and/or a general manager before Christmas.  I'll bet that has never happened before.  That is  record that would never be broken.  Think about that. 

tlmaddox
tlmaddox

@The_Shade We have to look at the bright side; just think of all the new stadiums we'll have in a year or so!

buztech
buztech

So which team is the real Falcons?  The one we saw this week, last week, or is it somewhere in between?  Sadly, I believe this week's performance is closer to what we will see for most of the season.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Today's team is the better reflection of how we'd do in the playoffs if we ever got there.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

I think this team is designed to put too much pressure on the offense. It's a bend but don't break defense that can't consistently make plays. You are what you are, plain and simple.

tyger
tyger

Marvin Lewis, Hue Jackson exploit Falcons...


ATL out-coached today...

171 yds. rushing is ridiculous...


Defense couldn't get off field...

Group not good enough...

To overcome 3 INTs...


Should've been worse...

2/3 FGs within range...


Good: season young...could be 0-2

Bad: old bad habits re-surface...


Cant win w/o Jake??? Nah...

Unacceptable...


TrueFan1
TrueFan1

I'm reallyfine with being 1-1 right now. these teams were hell!


FineSwine
FineSwine

Lamar Holmes absolutely got crushed.  Is there a softer tackle in the NFL?  Maybe so, but it cannot be argued that we have the worst linebacking corps in the NFL.  Makes for a bad combination. 

gfw
gfw

@FineSwine Absolutely!  And it's especially on TD for not tending to the O-line's known weakness.  One might say in his defense: he saw Matthews covering at RT.  BUT, he surely ought to know that the O-line back-ups are of crucial importance.  Holmes simply can't perform to even an NFL-average level.  Big trouble for the Falcons.

Greentow
Greentow

" Imagine how bad it would have been if Cincinnati didn’t lose five starters during the game . . . . "  Don't you mean " . . .if Cincinnati had not lost five starters . . ." Mr. journalist?

HotDawg
HotDawg

Forget about being the edit police. It's gonna happen on these blogs.

creative
creative

No... DID NOT lose 5 starters is correct. You must have a pretty pathetic life. I have a pretty pathetic life pointing out that you are wrong. This is the classic fire the coach game just like every game we lose. Same for tech and Uga. We are all so smart.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Is the game plan ready for Tampa?

4 days to turn it around.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Yessir what delicious weekend for grilling out in Losersville. Boobs getting smoked by one of the worst teams in baseball. Foulcons,getting slapped around by Cincy. Dawgs laying their annual egg after getting hyped up. Tech needing a miracle to avoid a monumental collapse. Oooohwheee

HotDawg
HotDawg

Mr....Did you spend all day coming up with that lame comment?

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Braves got swept by the WORST team in baseball.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

@HotDawg No sonny, I've spent a lifetime following the choking teams of this city to come up with that comment.