I don’t think anyone is shocked that the Patriots made the Super Bowl. What’s the point of even analyzing or critiquing them anymore?
Did any of us see the Falcons in the Super Bowl? I suspect not. Perhaps, you’re like me and predicted the Falcons for a losing record and constantly predicted their demise all season…and thought Dan Quinn would get fired during/after this season? You didn’t see it…and that’s cool. I didn’t see it…and that makes me bad at my job.
This week, in honor of the Falcons, I am reprinting all of their 2016 game recaps to embarrass myself more publicly. Laying myself naked before you. Also, I am going back through and reading to see if there were clues to what I was off on and to see what I was thinking going negative on the Falcons as a Super Bowl season was unfolding. It’s not the first time…I didn’t buy into the Panthers all last season either.
I am reprinting the Falcons 2016 season throughout the week and adding some extra commentary on how bad (or good) my commentary was at the time. In honor of the Falcons and to publicly flog myself this week, here we go…
*Original commentary from the day it was published in black text with my 2017 comments in green.
Falcons 41, 49ers 13 — The Falcons second ‘virutal bye’ week in a row…Rams and 49ers. Two wins in a row bouncing off their (3-4) stretch the prior seven games.
Not much to analyze with this game – as expected the Falcons toyed with and blew out the 49ers. 13 losses in a row and counting for San Francisco. Atlanta will be favored to win out and finish 11–5…winners of the NFC South. Possible #2 seed. Even a loss in the next two weeks – they’ll probably make the playoffs, but would be in some danger of losing the NFC South. The heavy odds favor an Atlanta NFC South title and a #2–4 seed.
I don’t have many notes from this joke of a game…
— This is how the 49ers’ season has been going – young TE prospect Blake Bell (1-45-0/1 target) gets his shot at more time with Vance McDonald on the I.R. He has a nice catch-and-run 45-yard play in the first quarter, and then gets hurt and lost for the game and now for the season. Blake Bell and Vance McDonald are nice TE fantasy prospects, but the stink of ’49ers’ is all over them.
— In a blowout, the Falcons kept feeding Devonta Freeman (20-139-3, 2-16-0/2 targets) because that’s their go-to. It’s why you cannot trust Tevin Coleman (14-58-0, 2-8-0/2 targets) week to week for touches. Up one week, nothing the next.
Someday, Coleman will push past Freeman…but not today…not this season.
— Taylor Gabriel (3-60-1-/6 targets) has 7 TDs in the past seven games…6 receiving, 1 rushing. He leads all Falcons’ WRs in receiving TDs…yep, more than non-TD maker Julio Jones (5).
In other news, the Browns are 0–14 (the team who released Gabriel this season).
Justin Hardy (1-16-0/2 targets) is stuck on this roster for a couple of years until he can hit free agency. The Falcons are using every WR but him in the passing game. Hardy has potential to be a solid+ ‘hands’ WR in the NFL if he gets a chance, but more likely he is going to be lost in the shuffle over the years. It’s a shame.
— IDP Jaquiski Tartt (8 tackles, 0.5 TFL) is starting to rack numbers, after a not-so-hot beginning of his role as a starter a few weeks ago, Tartt has averaged 10.0 tackles per game the past two games. He’s becoming a top 12 DB start potentially the final two weeks.
8.5 tackles per game to finish out his final four games of 2016. I like Tartt as a tackler, but not sure he brings enough to his overall game to be counted on for IDP yet. He’s a guy that could post 8-10 tackles a game in 2017…or play 25% of the snaps in spot work and do nothing for IDP. New coaches and GM there…we’ll have to see what happens in early training camps.
— As bad as the 49ers have been, I’m not sure I’d rush to use the Rams DST against them this week…as opposed to some other sleeper plays. I mean, there is logic as a ‘sleeper’ play, but the Rams are a hot mess as well…with nothing to play for. Pride? Probably not.
— Atlanta’s DST has had a nice run the past two weeks, but it’s schedule based facing Goff-Kaepernick. Not as easy facing a Carolina team that hasn’t totally rolled over yet. The Panthers are probably going to give them a game at Carolina. I wouldn’t call the Falcons a sleeper DST for Week 16 or 17.
They handled Carolina (held to 16 points), and then gave up 32 to the Saints to finish.
This is important to note for the Super Bowl: the Falcons allowed 25 or more points in 10 games in the 2016 regular season. The QB the other 6 times then held teams lower than 25 points: Paxton Lynch, Carson Wentz, Carson Palmer, Jared Goff, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton. The Patriots are scoring 25+, likely 35+ points in the Super Bowl…do you think the Falcons can score as much to keep up? I don’t think so.
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