Overreaction Monday: Red zone, tackling and can anybody run block?

Matt had a nice stat line (27 for 39, 334 yards, two touchdowns, 0 interceptions) in the season opener but he and the Falcons again self-immolated in the red zone. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Matt had a nice stat line (27 for 39, 334 yards, two touchdowns, 0 interceptions) in the season opener but he and the Falcons again self-immolated in the red zone. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Welcome back for another season of Overreaction Monday, where if you can run block, you possess an ability seemingly absent from two football teams in town.

FALCONS

Last game. Lost to Tampa Bay 31-24. Record: 0-1. Next game: at Oakland (1-0).

Overreaction narrative: “It’s going to feel real special to win that first game in Week 7 against San Diego.”

Reality check: The Falcons should’ve dubbed the season opener, “The Deja Vu Bowl.”

The offense managed just one touchdown on four red zone possession –and you’re free to blame that on a dreadful running game, an inability of receivers to get open, penalties, play-calling or all of the above.

The defense allowed Tampa Bay touchdowns on three straight possessions and four out of five in one stretch — and you’re free to blame that on the lack of a pass rush (zero sacks), shaky coverage, bad tackling and penalties, which extended three of the Buccaneers’ five scoring drives (17 points).

Do I think this means the Falcons are headed for doom? No. It’s one game. But it was an important game. The schedule does not set up well for the next five weeks: at Oakland, at New Orleans, Carolina, at Denver, at Seattle. What that means is if the Falcons don’t fix some of those aforementioned problems – particularly the pass rush and red zone offense – they’re in trouble.

I have two other concerns from Sunday. The Falcons were outcoached on both sides of the ball. Former Falcons coach Mike Smith, now the Bucs’ defensive coordinator, took away the run and, for the most part, Julio Jones. Head coach Dirk Koetter, the Falcons’ former offensive coordinator, knew where to attack the Atlanta defense with  his passing game. Jameis Winston hit big touchdown passes to Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins behind Atlanta defenders.

Finally, there was a third-and-goal play from the Bucs’ 17 late in the first half when coach Dan Quinn (not offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan) made the decision to run a concession draw play rather than take a shot in the end zone before a field goal attempt. When asked about the play call, Quinn said only “coach’s decision” and “we had the points.”

Maybe he figured the running play would force Tampa to burn a time out (it did) and leave them handicapped when they got the ball back (it didn’t). But it was a weak decision. Also, it backfired because Tampa drove to a touchdown in 1:31 to take a 17-13 lead, thanks to four Falcons’ inability to tackle Charles Sim III.

Bad start.

UPDATE: And it gets even better: Now we learn that defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman was charged in a domestic violence case back in March. For more, click here.

GEORGIA

Last game: Beat Nicholls State 26-24. Record: 2-0. Next game: at Missouri.

Overreaction narrative: “Same ol’ Georgia.”

Reality check: Same ol’ Georgia.

This isn’t to suggest the Bulldogs are going to have a bad season, based on Saturday’s inexplicable performance against a weak FCS team. Their schedule suggests nine to 10 wins. But it’s a bad sign when a team can’t overpower an undermanned opponent in its first home game of the year. It’s a bad sign when it can’t run the ball with possibly the best running back in the country. It’s a bad sign when a seven-to-eight-touchdown favorite finds itself trailing in the third quarter.

Coach Kirby Smart also doesn’t have complete confidence in freshman quarterback Jacob Eason yet. Eason played the entire game until the last two possessions when Smart put in Greyson Lambert because the coach had more trust in the senior running the offense in a close game.

My view: Maybe Eason wasn’t great against Nicholls State but he wasn’t the reason Georgia almost blew the game. That was on the offensive line. Media members would have loved to try to create some insight into what went wrong from the players’ perspective but Smart continues to be extremely limited with media access. No quarterbacks or offensive linemen were made available for comment.

There will be some debate this week but Eason should start against Missouri. If he struggles early, Smart can always make a change. But my guess is Georgia bounces back.

GEORGIA TECH

Last game: Beat Mercer 35-10. Record: 2-0. Next game: Vanderbilt

Overreaction narrative: “Yawn.”

Reality check: The Jackets started slow but handled an opponent they were expected to beat easily, so that puts them ahead of Georgia. The final score probably would’ve been more lopsided if quarterback Justin Thomas hadn’t sat out the second half with what was described as a minor injury.

But what to think about this team? It’s too early. The Jackets fumbled twice against Mercer, failed to create a takeaway on defense and failed to mount a pass rush. That won’t be a problem against Vanderbilt but it will five days later against Clemson.

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193 comments
GT71
GT71

Cowardly to Balkanize the AJC columnists behind the 'pay-to-read' idiocy called 'My AJC'.  Now, if they had a scrotal hair, they'd at LEAST do away with all the ads and digital espionage crap in the 'My' space.

How about it, AJC?  Got that hair?  That one single hair?

No.  You don't.

OH:IO
OH:IO

"Boxscore" signs on w/ Eagles..........wait for it.........


practice squad.

JSSN
JSSN

Approximately 7 folks have consumed this blog in a virtual college football 'Johnson' display contest for over 150 + comments! A hind end displaying Mandrill would be proud! (Sarcasm)

FlatTire
FlatTire

Oh no.  Looks like Tech could be losing that academic excuse for athletics


Tech ranks 7th in top public schools in the country

UGA not far behind at 18 in the country

TOJacket
TOJacket

At least your in the top 25 for academics

TOJacket
TOJacket

Flat...y'all have a fine university. Not everyone can be at the top?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket yea we are in the top 25 in something; I doubt our football team stays in the top 25 much longer.


I was surprised we were even ranked before the season anyway

Cutlass81
Cutlass81

@FlatTire Keep in mind that GT is still very limited in the number of degrees we offer. Its like the difference between only being able to eat off the Hot and Ready menu at Little Caeasars or going to a pizza buffet. Both are cheap and delicious, but that buffet has more options by far and will meet more people's needs.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Well at least you won't have to write any new columns on the Falcons. The ones from last year will do just fine. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

Hey folks.......UGA leads Tech series 39-13......come on guys, let's give it up for the dawgs! Do ya have a trophy for that?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket Hey folks Tech wants everyone to know their focus is academics and they can't compete with other programs except for a fluke season here or there


Lets give them a round of applause for giving it a good try though

TOJacket
TOJacket

That's why I like you Flat, you're a smart dawg. Maybe Tech will start handing out worthless degrees like Housing or Sports locker room management ? Until then those great minds will have to go to Athens Ag Academy and try to lose to FCSteams.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TOJacket


There's always the Liberty Bowl plaque with the wrong record. #repurpose

dawg fan
dawg fan

@FlatTire Round of applause?  No, they just want everyone to feel sorry for them.  "We lose football games because everyone else recruits illiterates.  Wawawawawa...where's my mommy?"  SHUT UP!!  Good grief words cannot describe the complete and utter lack of respect I have for Georgia Tech football fans.  They are a disgrace.  Either drop down to FCS level or QUIT YOUR B!TCHING AND MOANING. If your academics are such a problem for your football program that is YOUR problem and no one else's.  Why is anyone else suppossed to care?  You aren't getting any sympathy out of me, especially since 90% of it is complete bullschnit anyway.  Survey of calculus anyone?   Good grief what a bunch of panty wastes.  Georgia Tech=big fat JOKE. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

Got those juices flowing now huh Steve.... If I recall, it was the mutts who just about lost to a FCS team with a top 10recruiting class. BwaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaaaBwaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! Under Achievment U!

TOJacket
TOJacket

You ought to respect them....they're your daddy Steve! God your stupid.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TOJacket  Nicholls put on a better showing than your joke program has put on against us in a while.  That's for sure.  They actually block and tackle and don't dive at knees like a bunch of sissies.  Their coach doesn't run his fat mouth about having bigger fish to fry after we beat him, only to celebrate like a giddy school girl when he wins.  What a freaking clown head coach you've got there.  Most importantly, they don't make a bunch of sore loser crybaby excuses after we beat them.  I'm glad you brought up Nicholls Techie.  I definitely respect them and their football program.  Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the embarrassment over on North Avenue.  I wish I could because I would like to have a respectable in-state rival.  It would be good for football in the state.  Too bad Tech football is such a disgrace.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Disco Dawgs!.........lol

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TOJacket  Yes, Nichols is our daddy after they lose to us but somehow we are not Tech's daddy despite 13 wins in the past 15 years.  How can you function in life being this stupid?  I seriously do not understand how Tech fans are able to put one foot in front of the other sometimes. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket 

It should almost be as nice as the ACC Coastal Trophy , because both are worth absolutely the same. ZERO

TOJacket
TOJacket

Ole hand it off Belue said today on 680 that he didn't think the dawgs could beat TN, FL, and especially Ole Miss.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Before that we were your daddy! Now sit down and button that lip!

TOJacket
TOJacket

You've been our daddy sine last November skip.

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TOJacket  I turned on the radio and didn't hear a damned thing about Georgia Tech football.  No big shock there.     

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan  did you see the ratings for the greater Atlanta area for the first week for the Tech game and UGA game?


400,000 watched UGA

90,000 watched Tech


LOL


That says it all about the Tech program.


I would not at all be surprised that if Georgia Southern took over Techs place in the ACC they could have 3 times the Tech viewership

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

Ahhhh Disco Dawgs! Brings back old memories of the MadHatter in Athens.Damn I am getting old...........

TOJacket
TOJacket

How long did it take you and dawg pan to figure out that anyone with $5.99 can be a dawg fan? .........almost half I ever ask couldn't tell you 5 starters......biggest difference in GT and UGA fans is....had y'all went 3-9 last year, you and dawg pan would be no where around. ThTs the Fact Jack!!

TOJacket
TOJacket

How about the one in underground? Penny beer night!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

No, we just have total and complete ownership of your program.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

And yet we STILL own you, hypocrite.

What's so difficult for you to understand about that?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

What's a "daddy Steve"?

"Your" stupid??? The irony escapes you, of course.



DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

"Sine" last November???

You and Ohio--two dumbas*es in a pod.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

And you posted that the Heels had a better team than UGA. Duh!

You also predicted the Falcons would beat TB by 6.

You make Belue appear brilliant!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Had y'all "went"???

"ThTs"???

The more more you post, the more gibberish appears under your latest blog handle.

TOJacket
TOJacket

You know what skippy....I don't think your immature a$$ deserves a response from an adult any longer, so I'm not wasting my time posting anymore responses to you vag-boy.

GT71
GT71

@FlatTire @dawg fan Three things you don't understand and are necessary for good commenting:

1. Usage

2. Syntax

3. Spelling.

Odd, that.  I mean, TECH is a STEM institute and UGA is a cornucopia of useless-in-life degrees...one of which just may be 'English'.  But at least THAT one would be useful here.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Promise?! Great! In other words, you finally tired of being exposed. Stingshuh?

Of course, that's what your buddy tampongator said after he got his a** handed to him repeatedly--same as you have.

And like him, you'll break your silly vow.

"Vag-boy"??? Still obsessing over sex organs, we see. How "mature" of you.

Got any more ignorant predictions for us on your way out? You know, like Heels better team than UGA, or Falcons by 6 over TBay.

Or, since you're now a bastion of "maturity," perhaps you could squeal one more "We own this state!" as you crawl back under your covers.


OH:IO
OH:IO

Hey Flat,


Check out the current AP #16-#25 and tell me who's little. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO  go ahead pull the tape our head coach OC and DC were gone so I don't know what tape your going to pull unless it is something off your atari 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO whose Little?  Its the conference who lost to the same team without a coaching staff as the team who almost lost to Nicholls

OH:IO
OH:IO

@FlatTire


Um, there were all kind of coaches on the bench. Shall we pull the tape?


Key words?


"almost lost to Nicholls"


Bwhahahahahahahahaha. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Bowling Green's little. So is Tulsa.

That's who.

DIT
DIT

Same Morons with the same vernacular. Bunch of juveniles need to grow up and get a life.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Hey DawgMole......when Tech lost to MTSU were they ranked #9........there ya go dummy, funny how you humps got to go back years to try to slam Tech. Enjoy being ranked for now, it won't last skippy......at least you're bright enough to have a back up ACC powerhouse!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket what does being ranked have to with anything.  Its early in the year no one knows what teams are good or not.


Tech still shouldn't have lost to middle Tennessee

dawg fan
dawg fan

@TOJacket  "funny how you humps got to go back years to try and slam Tech."  Funny how painfully stupid Tech fans are thinking slamming Tech is a difficult task for UGA fans.  13-2 past 15 years.  We don't have to "try" anything.  We just let the facts speak for themselves.  It is simply scary how dumb Tech fans are.  You should not be allowed to drive, vote, own property, etc. until you can at least demonstrate a minimum level of intelligence. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@dawg fan  Go all the way back to 1964 and Tech has beaten UGA 13 times


LOL  39-13

FlatTire
FlatTire

@OH:IO  I don't know which we should be more proud of our record against Tech or our 10-4 record against the Little 10?


Im having a hard time deciding because UGA beat another Little 10 team without a coaching staff last year


At least Tech gives us a challenge when we do have coaches

TOJacket
TOJacket

Hey stupid....I ....will....talk.....slow.....you get better,more talented players, like M Mitchell that read at a 6th grade level when enrollingg at UGA.......Tech should never beat the mutts but we do .....I am glad that zag school in Athens still teaches reading, I read where MM was writing a book. More history, more ships and top 10 institute for learning. Suck it mutts!!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket then get out of the FBS and let Georgia Southern take your place and focus on learning and not sports

TOJacket
TOJacket

You mean if it had been Kentucky instead of y'all it would have been noticed? C'mon Flat!

TOJacket
TOJacket

Why .... We came in 7th in the nation 2 years ago. Remember..... beat 2 of those bada$$ SEC teams. Yea....I think we'll stick around.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket LOL you beat UGA for the 2nd time in 15 years.  Every dog or bug has its day sometimes you know

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

A local game???

Like Bowling Green-Ohio St?

Lying hypocrite.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

I don't "slam" GT--only its most ignorant, hypocritical, braggadocio fans. You fit that profile perfectly.

As I've said many times on here, I pull for GT in every game except against UGA and FSU.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket: "Tech should never beat the mutts. . . ."

_________________

You're outclassed, in other words.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Yet you should never beat UGA?

Do you even realize how ignorantly you present yourself when you post?