cloudyn.png
Sunday December 8th, 2019 7:30PM

Falcons, 1-4 for the 2nd straight year, are in big trouble

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons can only hope a few days in the desert will turn their season around.

When the NFL announced its schedule six months ago, coach Dan Quinn decided his team, after visiting Houston, would spend a week in Arizona leading up to its game against the Cardinals.

Quinn took a similar approach three years ago, and the time together helped form what he still calls the "brotherhood," a slogan he bled all the way to the Super Bowl and uses to this day.

But it will be a big surprise if another long road trip helps. The Falcons are off to a 1-4 start for the second straight season and showing no signs of improvement. They've gotten worse during each week of a three-game losing streak.

Quinn's job security is another issue. He is 19-21 since winning the NFC three years ago and with the final say in personnel matters, he is most responsible for this mess.

He indicated on a conference call with reporters Monday night that there are no immediate plans to have another coach run the defense. Quinn fired all three coordinators after last season and oversees the defense himself.

"My ego is never as big as the team," he said. "I will always do what is best for that, but at this time I don't think that's where I'm at."

Maybe Sunday's 53-32 loss to the Texans will be the low point. Perhaps Atlanta will learn how to establish a running game despite Devonta Freeman ranking 40th in the league and stop somebody after getting gouged for 592 yards and managing one quarterback hit.

But it's hard to imagine the Falcons pulling off a miracle similar to what Indianapolis did last year, turning a 1-5 start into a wild-card berth. Quinn and the players keep saying effort is not an issue, that practice is going well, but each loss is only more evidence the season is going nowhere.

Last year the Falcons won three straight in October against the Buccaneers, Giants and Redskins, but they face a more difficult task this time. After facing the 1-3-1 Cardinals, Atlanta's next four opponents — the Rams, Seahawks, Saints and Panthers — are a combined 14-6.

"All the focus has to be on Arizona, and you've got to start rolling on it because there's plenty of good stories of what it can be if you get going," he said. "But, man, you better get going and not wait."

WHAT'S WORKING

Matt Ryan, who connected with eight receivers, leads the league in completions and is second in yards passing, but those are mostly empty numbers. The Falcons keep falling behind and have to throw the ball repeatedly to try and catch up.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Third-down defense, same as last year, and pressure on the quarterback. The Falcons are giving up 56% to rank third-worst on third downs, seven points worse than they were to rank last in 2018. They've had no sacks the last two weeks and a total of five that's tied for fewest in the league.

STOCK UP

Austin Hooper leads the team with 34 catches and 343 yards receiving, good for the fourth-year tight end but not so good for an offense that needs to get the ball more often in the hands of star wideout Julio Jones. Opponents are bottling up Jones too often with double teams and safety help.

STOCK DOWN

Matt Wile, signed for the second time this year to fill in for injured Matt Bosher, had two kickoffs sail out of bounds to let Houston start at its 40-yard line. Both drives ended in points. And Freeman, three years removed from being made the NFL's highest-paid running back, leads a thin ground game that's averaging just 67.6 yards.

INJURED

Defensive back Damontae Kazee suffered a head injury in the third quarter and did not return.

KEY NUMBER

Minus-50 — Atlanta's points differential, which ranks second worst in the NFC.

NEXT STEPS

Struggling teams always say they have the right people in house to make corrections. The Falcons are no different, but the words are starting to ring hollow.

"I told the team this past week wins don't happen by accident, and you've got to earn them, and you've got to do right in how we're doing," Quinn said. "When we don't, those are the results. So that's the intent of focus. If we have to do less to get it right, we will. But no doubt, backs against the wall and gut-check time for us, but all across the board disappointed in our performance."

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump defends decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria
President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops off Syria's northern border is leading to criticism - and confusion
7:48PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Falcons, 1-4 for the 2nd straight year, are in big trouble
Coach Dan Quinn has taken the Falcons on a long-scheduled weeklong trip to Arizona, but building another "brotherhood" seems the least of his concerns
7:42PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Molina wins it in 10th, Cards top Braves 5-4, Game 5 next
Yadier Molina pushed the St. Louis Cardinals to a deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series, hitting a tying single in the eighth inning and a winning sacrifice fly in the 10th to beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4
7:37PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
NBA's reaction to Morey tweet differs in English, Chinese
Lost in translation: NBA's reaction to Morey's tweet differs when translated from English to Chinese
6:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
Georgia's Kindley, Davis hoping to play against Gamecocks
Smart confident Kindley, Davis can return from ankle injuries and play against South Carolina
6:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Rays pummel Greinke, Morton clutch vs Astros to win Game 3
Kevin Kiermaier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer as Tampa Bay teed off on Zack Greinke, and the Rays backed another clutch playoff pitching performance by Charlie Morton to beat the Houston Astros 10-3 and cut their AL Division Series deficit to 2-1
5:05PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Jay Gruden fired as head coach of Washington Redskins
Jay Gruden has been fired as head coach of the Washington Redskins after an 0-5 start to his sixth season
7:32AM ( 12 hours ago )
Colts shut down Mahomes, Chiefs offense in 19-13 victory
Marlon Mack ran for 132 yards, ageless kicker Adam Vinatieri knocked through four field goals, and Indianapolis shut down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' vaunted offense in a 19-13 victory
1:04AM ( 18 hours ago )
Lindsay helps give Broncos' Fangio first win as coach
Phillip Lindsay ran for 114 yards, Denver's defense forced three turnovers and the Broncos got their first win under Vic Fangio by defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 20-13 on Sunday
10:16PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Braves LHP Keuchel to start Game 4 of NLDS on short rest
Braves LHP Dallas Keuchel to start Game 4 of NL Division Series on short rest
12:02PM ( 7 hours ago )
A look at top cases for the Supreme Court's new term
A look at top cases for the Supreme Court's new term
7:09AM ( 12 hours ago )
Duvall, Braves rally in 9th to beat Cards 3-1, lead NLDS 2-1
Swanson, Duvall deliver as Braves top Cardinals 3-1 for 2-1 lead in the NL Division Series
9:44PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Josh Jacobs rallies Raiders past Bears 24-21
Josh Jacobs scored his second touchdown of the game with a leap from the 2-yard line with 1:57 to play, capping a 97-yard drive that helped the Oakland Raiders rally after blowing a 17-point lead to beat the Chicago Bears 24-21
6:06PM ( 1 day ago )
Kyler Murray leads Cardinals to 1st win, 26-23 over Bengals
Rookie Kyler Murray ran for a touchdown and led the Cardinals on a drive to Zane Gonzalez's 31-yard field goal on the final play as the Cardinals got their first win under coach Kliff Kingsbury, 26-23 over the Cincinnati Bengals
5:56PM ( 1 day ago )
Rudolph exits after scary hit, Ravens edge Steelers in OT
Justin Tucker hit a 46-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Baltimore Ravens past the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-23 in a game marred by an illegal hit on Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph that left Rudolph unconscious
4:50PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Trump defends decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syria
President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops off Syria's northern border is leading to criticism - and confusion
7:48PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Molina wins it in 10th, Cards top Braves 5-4, Game 5 next
Yadier Molina pushed the St. Louis Cardinals to a deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series, hitting a tying single in the eighth inning and a winning sacrifice fly in the 10th to beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4
7:37PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Delle Donne provides emotional lift for the Mystics
Elena Delle Donne provides lift for Washington Mystics, helping them win Game 3 despite being diagnosed with herniated disk in back
7:29PM ( 30 minutes ago )
FBI: Inmate is most prolific serial killer in US history
The Federal Bureau of Investigation says the man who claims to have killed more than 90 women across the country is the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history
7:20PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Police: Kansas bar gunman caused disturbance before shooting
The interim police chief in Kansas City, Kansas, says one of two suspects in the fatal shooting of four people in a bar caused a disturbance two hours earlier that brought officers to the scene
7:05PM ( 55 minutes ago )