Is there a doctor in the house? The Falcons are in need of a specialist to help them get over the same allergic reaction they seem to suffer from whenever they enter the red zone. Let’s call it Red Zone Fever, shall we.
Sunday night,in front of a sold out Georgia Dome and millions of viewers for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, the Falcons managed only one touchdown in 6 trips inside the 20 yard line. Despite gaining more total yards, running more plays, and collecting more first downs than their opponent, the birds offense stalled at the most crucial times. It was a replay of the week before in Miami, when the Falcons offense moved the ball at will against the Dolphins but still came up short.
“You’ve got to score touchdowns in this league,” says coach Mike Smith. “Its an offensive league” The disappointing performance Sunday night was offensive to some Falcons fans who headed for the exits with 10 minutes left in the game. They had grown weary of watching the Falcons offense stall , while Tom Brady and his no-named receiver corp found the end zone three times.
Give Matt Ryan credit for the late game rally. His 421 passing yards made a statement, but his 54 passing attempts made another statement. As talented as the Falcons receivers are, their offense is not designed for Ryan to throw the ball over 50 times in a game. There has to be some form of consistent running game. With Roddy White and Julio Jones at less than 100 percent, and now an injured Sam Baker coach Smith and his staff will be even more challenged to find a prescription for a cure to Red Zone Fever.
Perhaps the best tonic for the Falcons lies in the schedule itself. There will be an extra day to prepare for a Monday Night home game with the struggling Jets , then comes a much needed bye week, before a visit from the self destructing Tampa Bay Bucs. At 1-3, the Falcons are two games below .500 for the first time since 2007, with back to back losses for the first time since Mike Smith and Matt Ryan arrived at Flowery Branch.
If there is a silver lining to this cloud, it is that only one of the three losses have come against a conference or division opponent. Right now the Falcons are making the AFC East look a lot better than it actually is.