Welcome back to Overreaction Monday, where doom and gloom still carry the day…
Skinny: 6-3 (second place in NFC South). Sunday: Lost at San Francisco 17-16. Next week Bye. Home vs. Indianapolis Nov. 22.
Overreaction narrative: “Dan Quinn is overmatched and Kyle Shanahan needs to get a clue.”
Reality check: No (on Quinn), and yes (on Shanahan). I’m not ready to turn the botched fourth-down decision as a referendum on Quinn’s ability to be a head coach. But there’s no question he screwed up Sunday when he opted to kick a field goal from San Francisco’s one-yard line to narrow the San Francisco’s lead to one point rather than his team try for the go-ahead touchdown. Michael Cunningham has a great blog illustrating how statistics show the Falcons had a much better chance of winning the game had they gone for the touchdown. In fact, the odds were superior of them winning even if Quinn elected to go for the touchdown and failed. Check out the blog by clicking here.
But that decision wasn’t even the biggest issue Sunday. The Falcons never should have even been in that position. The 49ers had lost six of their last seven games, were starting a backup quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, who morphed into a punchline when he played in Jacksonville, and they were decimated by injuries and personnel losses. Further, the Falcons were coming off a string of mediocre-to-awful performances, the most recent being a home loss to Tampa Bay last week. But they showed neither a sense of urgency or passion that Quinn mandates. Certainly, they didn’t play “fast and physical,” which has been his mantra. He needs to figure out quick how to light a fire under this team again.
Then there’s Shanahan. He had some success early this season. But the offense is not producing enough points now and he needs to use the week to blow the dust off some pages in the playbook – particularly the pages with Roddy White’s name on it. The Falcons’ second-best receiver and one of Ryan’s top weapons with Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman has been reduced to a glorified blocker and decoy. If White couldn’t still play, I would understand him being phased out. But that’s not the case. He’s good enough to start, good enough to make clutch catches, good enough to be an integral part in this offense. The problem is he’s seldom, if ever, the primary receiver on the called play and he’s so deep into quarterback Matt Ryan’s progression that he’s rarely even targeted. Ryan threw to him only twice Sunday, completing one – a 20-yarder with less than seven minutes left in the game that led to the field goal. The Falcons’ defense was expected to have shortcomings, with the pass rush still lacking and injuries beating up the secondary. But there’s no excuse for the offense to be producing as few points as it is. Turnovers had been an issue recently but that wasn’t the case Sunday. Managing just one touchdown and three field goals was on Shanahan.
Skinny: 6-3 overall, 4-3 in the SEC (second place in the East Division). Last week: Defeated Kentucky 27-3. Next week: at Auburn (5-4, 2-4) Saturday (noon).
Overreaction narrative: “We’re back!”
Reality check: Please. The only way this game would have meant something would have been if Georgia had lost, likely pounding a nail in Mark Richt’s coffin. A win ensures nothing for him or Georgia, beyond officially making the Bulldogs bowl eligible. I can’t read athletic director Greg McGarity’s mind so I can’t say for certain Georgia needs to win out for Richt to save his job, or if that will even do it. But it’s fair to suggest the next game at Auburn carries a little more significance than the Kentucky game. The Tigers are coming off an impressive 26-10 win at Texas A&M after starting 1-4 in SEC. This game likely will come down to the two defenses, Jeremy Pruitt’s in Athens and Will Muschamp’s at Auburn. Georgia’s SEC resume isn’t impressive: The four wins have come over South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky (combined SEC record: 5-20). The four losses to Alabama (5-1), Tennessee (3-3) and Florida (6-1).
Skinny: 3-6 overall, 1-5 in the ACC (sixth place in the Coastal Division). Last week: Bye. This week: at home against Virginia Tech (4-5,, 2-3) Thursday night (7:30 p.m.)
Overreaction narrative: “This is our last chance for a win.”
Reality check: Possibly, but not necessarily. Tech’s odds of becoming bowl eligible by sweeping its final three games against Virginia Tech, at Miami and home against Georgia are astronomical. But the Jackets could win any of the three games. Virginia Tech could get an emotional lift with coach Frank Beamer having announced his retirement, but the team just isn’t that great. Miami, since losing to Miami 58-0 and firing coach Al Golden, has won consecutive games over Duke and Virginia. Also, Tech has struggled at Miami recently. Georgia is a rivalry game but the Jackets will be an underdog. So yeah, this week could be it. The last time the Jackets played a home game on national television, they upset Florida State.
•Recent ramblings • Latest Falcons’ embarrassment is on Dan Quinn • Short takes: This Falcons’ loss is on Dan Quinn • 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