LIVE: Falcons try for something new — a win

Mike Smith needs to figure out a way to end his team’s losing streak. (AP photo)

Mike Smith needs to figure out a way to end his team's losing streak. (AP photo)

Mike Smith needs to figure out a way to end his team’s losing streak. (AP photo)

BALTIMORE – Good morning. I just arrived in Baltimore after covering last night’s Georgia Tech game in Chapel Hill, N.C., where I watched a former 5-0 football team continue to stomp on hope with its second straight unexpected lost.

If the Falcons also lose today, at least it won’t be unexpected. I know, Mr. Nattering Nabob of Negativism, right? (Credit: Spiro Agnew. Kids, Google.) But consider the backdrop to today’s game against the Baltimore Ravens:

— The Falcons have lost three straight and four out of five since a season-opening, 37-34 win over New Orleans.

— They are have lost 10 of their last 11  road games, including three this season, and haven’t beaten an opponent with a winning record on the road since a 24-23 victory at Tampa Bay Nov. 25, 2012.

— After last week’s 27-13 loss to Chicago in the Georgia Dome, during which Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 381 yards, the Falcons rank 31st in total defense, 29th against the pass, 28th against the run and 28th in scoring.. The Falcons’ six sacks in six games also is tied for the third-lowest total in NFL, behind only St. Louis (one) and Oakland (five).

— The Ravens (4-2) probably aren’t No. 1 in your hearts. They have gone through all kinds of drama, most notably Ray Rice’s suspension for domestic violence. But they’ve won four of their last five, they’re the fifth-highest scoring team in the NFL (27.3 points per game) and they’re allowing only 16.2 (third best).

For the Falcons to win this game, they’re going to have to do things that we’ve rarely seen this season: Protect Matt Ryan, get pressure on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco and play relatively mistake-free (which wasn’t the case last week when Roddy White, Julio Jones and Levine Toilolo combined for seven dropped passes.

The Falcons will follow this game with next week’s trip to London for a game against Detroit. Then comes the bye week — and presumably a re-evaluation by everybody in Flowery Branch.

Publicly, owner Arthur Blank has maintained confidence in coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. But it’s easy to wonder if he would feel compelled to take some action during the bye week should the Falcons lose these next two games.

Thoughts on this and the future? The cyber-floor is now yours. I need coffee. But I’ll be here all game to respond to questions and rants. Cheers.

PS: No surprise among the Falcons’ inactives: Harry Douglas (foot), Sean Renfree, Javier Arenas, Tyler Starr, Cameron Bradfield, Harland Gunn, Cliff Matthews.

Digital Jukebox
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech continues to stomp on hope
— AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s loss
— AJC: LIVE: Georgia Tech hopes to rebound
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs win, Falcons lose, Jameis enabled
— AJC: Georgia dealing with reality, FSU avoiding it
— MyAJC: Does NCAA care that public sentiment favors Gurley, athletes?
— MyAJC: Georgia’s response heard loud and clear
— MyAJC: NCAA needs to realize amateurism is dead
— AJC:  LIVE: Georgia ready to give it a go minus Gurley
— AJC: Minus Gurley, Dogs must overcome flaws
— AJC: With Gurley suspended, is Georgia done?
— MyAJC: If Gurley broke rules, that’s on him
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: No Gurley, no Dogs, no kidding
— AJC: Blank stands by Smith, Dimitroff. What say you?
— MyAJC: Arthur Blank won’t give Falcons’ mandates, speculate on future
— AJC: Falcons have turned this week into a must-win game
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech’s season may be turning into something special
— AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s win over Miami, starting with … defense?
— AJC: Tech has a chance to take charge in ACC Coastal
— AJC: Braves should have left Gonzalez decision to new GM
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Tech, UGA win, Falcons continue kindness
— AJC: Are Braves waiting for Dayton Moore?
— MyAJC: Hawks are still playing wrong game off the court
— MyAJC: Falcons’ losses like this are on Mike Smith
— AJC: Falcons: No defense, no line, no chance
— MyAJC: John Hart says Braves ‘lethargic,’ need changes

Reader Comments 0

781 comments
Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

Go tell Smitty to bring in more of his Jacksonville buddies to coach here with him. We all know how much our new offensive line coach is helping us right now. Thankfully, Smitty will run out of people to put the blame on after this season.

Wallace Freakin' Francis
Wallace Freakin' Francis

One major reason for all of the injuries in 2013 and 2014 is the release of Jeff Fish as strengh & conditioning coach after the 2012 season. His philosophy of flexibility and unconventional bodyweight drills emphasized injury protection, and was effective.  Current S&C coach NJ Niebel's emphasis on powerlifiting has contributed to the rash of injuries in the last two seasons, while not improving the  power and stamina of the team, as was the intention.  Ridiculous schemes like Nolan's, where DEs drop back into coverage, further sap energy from our linemen.  It's no wonder we have no pass rush.  Nolan is coaching them to move backwards, not forwards toward the QB.  Astonishing stupidity...

JSSN
JSSN

@Wallace Freakin' Francis

Fish was horrible and "is the reason" that they were always weak and remain so! The only person let go was Fish; Lauzon is from his school of training and preparation (he hired that disgraced ex Cleveland trainer)! You folks are reaching for anything now! 

His injury rate to key personnel was in the same boat as the current regime. The depth getting injured is only thing new! They needed to clean house, but being the Falcons, they didn't! Live with it!

Jerry916
Jerry916

I'm all for respecting the players, and knowing that they're doing the best that they can for the most part, but the people that are interviewing Coach Smith and Matty on the radio are horrible.


Hey are making excuses for the team being 2 - 5.  The Falcons have comprised a team that is under-preforming, and these guys are practically telling them, "you're the greatest".  If I didn't know that the Falcons lost 29 - 7, I would think that they won based upon these interviews.



atlanta loser
atlanta loser

what irony , we got the best players in the country in the south, yet nfc south is a big joke

Tamparitus
Tamparitus

Is the NFC South division winner going to be like 6-10?


atlanta loser
atlanta loser

playoffs, playoffs, were talking about playoffs

Jerry916
Jerry916

Don't want to hear that the Falcons are still in it because the Saints and Panthers lost.  When playoof time comes, they'll be playing against teams other than the Saints 

& Panthers.

atlanta loser
atlanta loser

john hart for g,m, he could be the bo Jackson of g,ms.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

My 2nd favorite team is for REAL this year!  TOP defense, and their winning games without Megatron thanks to the signing of Golden Tate as a solid #2 receiver.   As long as Calvin Johnson is healthy for the playoffs, the Lions can possibly upset the Seahawks in the NFC title game.  Right now to me, the Lions are the clear #2 team in the NFC>  

turftoe
turftoe

If the falcons won't fire the coach and gm, lets us as fans fire them!

DewieCheatem_n_Howe
DewieCheatem_n_Howe

Next week they get to show the UK another reason to prefer their own brand of "football". The wife and myself will probably just go to Sunday brunch to some place without a television.

Tamparitus
Tamparitus

Dimitrof is more worried about his hair then drafting good players.  Go back and look at our draft picks the past 5 years, aside from the first round, because anybody could make those picks.  We draft players from the Big Ten, American Athletic conference, etc.  He hardly took any of those great players from the SEC over the past 5 or 6 years.  It is absolutely no mystery why this team is in the shape its in.

baseball sucks
baseball sucks

@Tamparitus Dude   most of us could care less about what  conference  a player is drafted from ,we  just want a gm and a hc  who can evaluated  nfl  talent  when they see it ,something Dimitroff and Smith  and their Scouts  have been terrible at . The sEC has just as many  flops  as the rest of the conferences  ,Tim Tebow   at Fla. was a great  COLLEGE  player  but NFL  skills  were not there, Alabama has dominated the SEC  like for ever , but their percentage  of  above average players and bust players  reads  worse than some of the mid  conferences , and we Falcon fans   should never forget the biggest bust in f the Falcons  Hall Of Shame  is the first pick in the draft that year  Aundre Bruce. I would love to see this team  go look at some of the  Division 2  and 3   players  those kids  it seems of more hungry for success than many of the  big school players,Jerry Rice played for Miss.  state Valley  ,and  the Steelers  built a  dynasty around  in the sevenths from small schools with Bradshaw and Joe Green and others.

atlanta loser
atlanta loser

maybe the falcons can get john hart for g,m, he probably knows as much as erasrhead

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

Thank god SeenThatGarbage won't show up for another week now.

JSSN
JSSN

@Dirtyb8

He doesn't have to, ya'll are doing a good enough job and are in similar sinking ships!

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

I think I may have been the first person in the history of ever who thought to himself, "I wish I were a Lions fan."

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

@We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again  As a UGA or GT fan, how can you NOT be a Lions fan?   The best QB ever out of UGA, and the best receiver ever out of GT.  for the record... Megatron is the best receiver EVER!

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Seems to me Atlanta GM's are clueless.

Braves try to win with the home run, and say Ok to striking out, but SF in World Series hardly hitting home runs, yet don't strike out.


Falcon's try to win with Offense, But who doesn't know Defense wins Championships ?


What I have seen from the last few losses minus this one, is in the red Zone they are kicking filed goals.   

The Falcon's are NOT that offensive power house, and as the announcers mentioned about the Ravens they have REAL DEPTH at positions. If a Falcon gets hurt, the next guy might be able to Play in the Canadian Football League at best ?

80sFalcon
80sFalcon

I could understand if these were close losses, but the falcons have barely competed in the last three games. Blank has got to see that Smith has lost this team and needs to make some changes.

falcon82111
falcon82111

terrible gm, hc,o-coord,and d-coord. a firing please blank. listen to your fans

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Our defense is soft and slow, but they are great guys.

CMPINATL
CMPINATL

I agree they are soft as pillows and literally get pushed around, but as choir boys go we've got a group of great guys. MR BLANK YOU HAVE NO ONE ON THIS TEAM WITH ANY DOG IN THEM WHAT SO EVER. This is the NFL, get some head crackers.

featherly
featherly

You guys should get a life. I mean really, who types consistently while watching the game


Oh, and by the way, how about that $120 million dollar qb!!!

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

@featherly I wasn't watching the game. I was just typing consistently about how bad we were.

moboman
moboman

@featherly Me too.  My computer screen was far more entertaining than that sorry football game.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Finally a game worth watching is on.. lets go Stafford!!   Touchdown!  

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

The Falcons are more concerned with team chemistry than with winning. We need some mean and tough players.

CMPINATL
CMPINATL

That was a sign to me that this team wasnt any better bad as that line is why not go sign riche? Cause he'd probably punk out and intimidate the whole line.

Football Redneck
Football Redneck

Come on Blank after this game I know you will sign Smith & TD to extensions. 

falcon82111
falcon82111

surely this gets a firing by tonite!!!!!!!!!!

joe jr 3
joe jr 3

Mike Smith could not look the coach in the eye

joe jr 3
joe jr 3

Matt trying to get is attempts up.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

13 first downs in the game for the falcons. 5 touches for A Smith..... Game planning for our offense is horrible.   Defense did ok.

turftoe
turftoe

we are the worst team in the nfl.

atlanta loser
atlanta loser

atl, falcons , we draft the small and untalented  , like kroy

OhioFalcon
OhioFalcon

On the bright side.  The entire NFC SOUTH SUCKS! Lions are about to  score to take the led.

joe jr 3
joe jr 3

All of Atlanta  teams continue to be laughing stocks. 

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

Saw Arthur and Dimitroff on the sidelines. They must be very proud. I would be embarrassed to show my face on TV

ComaToes
ComaToes

The Braves, uhhh, Falcons making "Loosersville" proud again.  Gotta uphold that hard-earned image you know.  How is it the sports teams who stink the worst get new facilities?   Think maybe it's the fans who are the real "naive and gullible nitwits".  Keep shoveling your money to them, yeh, they deserve it more than you or your family.  Pitiful, pathetic, and totally useless! 

Jerry916
Jerry916

@turftoe He had 2 picks today.  You have to cut hm some slack.  That last TD wasn't going to change the outcome of this game.  The Falcons lost this game in the 1st half.