The Falcons lost to San Francisco 17-16, their third defeat in the last four games. You can read my full game column by clicking here.
Below are my three “short takes” on the game.
1. THIS ONE IS ON DAN QUINN: A lot of praise was heaped on the Falcons’ new head coach early, and justifiably so. But since a 5-0 start, the Falcons have lost to three bad teams — New Orleans (1-4 at the time of their game), Tampa Bay (2-4 at the time of their game) and San Francisco (2-6 before Sunday). Quinn failed to adequately prepare his team after last week’s dreadful loss to Tampa Bay. He and the coaching staff failed to fix the problems on either side of the ball or find a way to defeat a 49ers team that had been reeling. Late in the game, on fourth down from the 49ers’ 1-yard line, Quinn opted to go for a chip-shot field goal to narrow the 49ers’ lead to 17-16 rather than have his team attempt to score a go-ahead touchdown. That regrettable decision backfired as the Niners, starting the relatively inept Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, ran out the clock.
2. EARTH TO SHANAHAN: FREE RODDY! Sorry but I’m just not getting this ignore-Roddy-White philosophy of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. White seldom, if ever, is a primary receiver on the play call and if he’s even a secondary or third option Ryan rarely looks in his direction. I understand White is 34 years old and has lost a lot of speed but to reduce his status to that of a ghost in the offense is nonsensical. My sentiment has nothing to do with White’s legendary status in the organization. It simply comes from the standpoint that he can still play and can make key catches for an offense that clearly is struggling. White wasn’t targeted for a pass until six seconds remained in the third quarter (it was broken up by a defender). He caught a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter the second time he was targeted.
3. OFF THE BANDWAGON: When I lived in San Francisco, the 49ers dominated the local sports landscape, which was to be expected for a perennial Super Bowl contender. But the extent to which the current team has turned off the fans was in evidence. Levi’s Stadium, which opened only last season, was at least one-third empty (capacity is 68,500). Fans don’t like the location of the stadium (wedged into a small footprint between an amusement park and office complexes in Santa Clara, where there’s little room to park and no tailgating space). But they’re mostly turned off by the unraveling of the organization, from CEO Jed York on down. Those who paid $2,000 to $80,000 for personal seat licenses (PSLs) are furious. We seldom witness seen such an angry fan base for a team that only three years ago was in the Super Bowl. So let this be a lesson for any sports owner who believe a new stadium will solve all of their problems — even if the short-term financial gain from PSLs fattens their checkbook.
•Recent ramblings • Weekend Predictions: Dogs in middle of Dysfunction Junction • Georgia’s finish, Eason status shouldn’t tilt Richt decision • Richt should take over Georgia’s struggling offense • Overreaction Monday: Loss-loss-loss means chaos all around • Mark Richt has failed too many big moments — it’s time for a change at Georgia • Falcons may be 6-2 but they don’t look the part • Short takes: Sloppy Falcons gift-wrap game for mediocre Bucs • Matt Ryan: ‘It comes down to me being better’ • Weekend Predictions: Jacksonville on Halloween? Ooh, scary: Gators over Dogs • Georgia’s quarterback problems fall at Mark Richt’s feet • Budenholzer can coach but can he build a champion? • Overreaction Monday: Ryan’s off, Tech’s alive and Georgia… • Georgia Tech has unforgettable moment in otherwise forgettable season • Short takes on Georgia Tech’s miracle win over Florida State • Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, ACC miserable • (Full column) Rick Pitino should lose job, culpable for Louisville mess • Rick Pitino may not survive latest claims regarding strippers, recruits • Overreaction Monday: Would Richt give Ramsey another look? • Misery like this shouldn’t happen at Georgia Tech • Short takes: Tech’s run of bowls, non-losing ACC seasons will end • Falcons flash some of their ugly past in loss to Saints • Short takes: Falcons still plagued by poor pass rush, turnovers • Weekend Predictions: Spurrier, Cubs, Playboy…and Georgia can still win SEC East! • Spurrier changed face of SEC, and then he walked out the back door • Health would be Spurrier’s only good excuse for retiring in middle of season • Florida quarterback suspended for PEDs — and claims of, ‘I didn’t know’ ring hollow • Overreaction Monday: Chubb’s loss isn’t Georgia’s only problem • There goes Chubb, there goes a loss, there goes Georgia’s season • Short takes: After loss, Georgia is trailing even Kentucky in SEC East • It’s too late to save season but Sefolosha deserved to hear words, ‘Not guilty’ • Weekend Predictions: No fantasy, Chihuahuas will rebound (I think) • Braves may have a plan but it will be a while before masses buy in • Here’s your Depressed Braves Fan viewing guide to the postseason • Overeaction Monday: Now is not time to make decision on Richt • Falcons 4-0, Freeman 7 TDs — who didn’t see that coming? • Short takes: An easy Falcons win, and this is a team to take seriously • Richt and Georgia fall off stage again when it matters most • Short takes: Georgia’s reality check — there’s a problem at quarterback • Georgia needs win over Alabama to alter perceptions