While the New Orleans Saints have struggles of their own this season, it’s hard to ignore the type of year the Atlanta Falcons have had. After their last playoff appearance in 2012 that ended in blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead, the Falcons turned in a 18-30 record from 2013-2015.
Head coach Mike Smith would be fired after going 6-10 in 2014, and enter Dan Quinn, a promising face hoping to revitalize the franchise after having much success in Seattle. The Falcons started hot, going 5-0 in 2015, but their Thursday Night Football loss to the Saints gave the team their first loss of the season and including that game they’d lose seven of their next eight games. Fast forward to the end of the year, and the Saints would walk into Atlanta to sink the Falcons at 8-8.
2016 was another strong start for the Falcons, who overcame a rare NFC South home opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to make it to 4-1. Naturally, a victory in which they crushed the Saints despite the 10-year Steve Gleason punt block anniversary was one of the highlights in that stretch. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they’d lose their next two and several weeks later are staring at their 7-5 record with disgust.
In their five losses this season, they’ve blown four fourth quarter leads. They even managed to let Chiefs safety Eric Berry to make a ‘pick 2’. The whole point of this is to bring attention to what Bomani Jones said about the various Falcons failures over the years, which could raise your spirits.
Jones references Michael Vick’s dogfighting, when Dave Hampton was given a game ball after crossing the 1,000-yard mark for the season only to finish the game at 995 yards, when Jerry Rice put up five touchdowns on not Deion Sanders in 1990, Bobby Petrino turning his pink slip in, the 2-point playoff game, and the 17-point blown playoff lead in the NFC Championship game.
The Falcons, like the Saints, have a lot of football left in the season. On the surface, it’s against cake opponents with a combined 13-34 record. The NFC South crown is theirs to lose, and at the end of it all, Saints fans will crack a nice ear-to-ear grin when and if it happens.