Super Bowl: Morning after just as baffling as the night of

The exact moment Atlanta's heart broke: New England celebrates James White's overtime touchdown while the Falcons contemplate the title that got away. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The exact moment Atlanta’s heart broke: New England celebrates James White’s overtime touchdown while the Falcons contemplate the title that got away. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Surely it will feel a little different the next morning, after a good sleep and some strong coffee and a little time to reflect on the relative importance of a football game in the larger picture of a wholesome life.

Perspective will set in at any time here and we’ll realize the Falcons had a season that wildly exceeded any rational expectation. That on the whole they provided their fans with weeks of high voltage football, the most exciting brand they’ve ever sampled. They won as many postseason games in two weeks as they had in the prior 12 seasons. They are young and filled with possibilities.

And, you know, brothers don’t turn on brothers.

Oh, the heck with it.

WHY IN THE WORLD DIDN’T THEY JUST PLAY FOR THE STINKING FIELD GOAL THERE LATE IN THE FOURTH QUARTER INSTEAD OF GETTING ALL BOLLIXED UP TRYING TO THROW THE BALL AND PROVE THEY WERE SO ULTRA HIP?

RUN THE BALL, KYLE.

THEY SHOULD BE MAPPING OUT THE PARADE ROUTE ON PEACHTREE NOW. INSTEAD THEY’RE PUTTING A FRESH COAT OF PAINT ON THE CITY LIMIT SIGNS THAT READ, “WELCOME TO LOSERVILLE.”

All I can hear now is Kyle Shanahan speaking days before the Super Bowl about what a great situation he would be leaving in Atlanta for his head coaching gig out west. About how unusual it was to be an offensive coordinator with a head coach who never vetoes a play or orders a change of approach on the fly.

Maybe that philosophy requires just a little tweaking as we move forward from THE GREATEST SUPER BOWL COLLAPSE EVER (construed as the greatest Super Bowl comeback in a small corner of New England).

As he evolves as a head coach, Dan Quinn may want to think about being a little more assertive on certain vital in-game situations. Establish with the next offensive coordinator that he’s going to get countermanded on occasion. Nothing personal, mind you. But inform the new guy that if we’ve got a great kicker easily within range of putting a Super Bowl out of reach of even Tom Brady and you put Matt Ryan in a position to take a devastating sack (and then set the wheels in motion for an equally devastating holding call on the next play), you just may have to take Uber all the way back home.

Shanahan is getting beaten up pretty good on his way out of town, when, you know, this is Quinn’s team. It all flows back to the top. Four words – run the ball, Kyle – was all it would have taken to set things right Sunday night.

Someday it will be provident to remember the many splendors of the 2016 Falcons season, to take account of the credits that stack up high against the debits and move on to the next stage of sporting grief.

Not exactly sure when that moment is, only that it’s not yet.

Reader Comments 0

29 comments
EightBurros
EightBurros

Biggest choke in pro football history---first down on the 22, with a pro bowl kicker. Run the ball three times, eat NE's timeouts, run the clock down---kick an easy FG, go up 11---game is over! 

mrtechpro
mrtechpro

Thank you Mr. Hummer!  Thank you very much for a great column!  I feel EVERYTHING you wrote, as it is EXACTLY what I was thinking and feeling!  Excellent job for you.  For the Falcons, NOT so much for Kyle and hopefully Dan does (in the future) exactly what you stated.  Override even your brilliant assistant coaches if they are calling DUMB plays.

CuseHoops
CuseHoops

James White. Robber Zone works on the intermediate in cuts, a Pats staple for sure, but leaves the back wide open. A catch and a missed tackle and it's just as effective as the intermediate routes. His success coupled with the Pats FINALLY throwing outside the numbers was all it took. Also, if Poole wants to play DB in the NFL, he needs to drop some lbs. Way to slow as the game wore on. 99 plays, including penalties, is a ton, but carrying that extra weight doesn’t help.

Happy for the Pats, Boston is my home, but Falcons have a very bright future

NuzeFan
NuzeFan

Steve, you are exactly right. Even a football nobody like me was yelling at the TV for the Falcons to run the ball 3 times after Julio's brilliant catch. They might have even lost a few yards on each attempt, but IT WOULD HAVE RUN SOME CLOCK OFF AS WELL AS KEPT THEM IN FG RANGE. But, now that a few days have passed, something much larger was going on. Julio's catch was just the Falcon's last-ditch attempt to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Don't forget that the same thing happened to the Falcons in 3 of their regular season games - against the Seahawks, SD, and KC, which is why they entered the playoffs 11-5 instead of 14-2. The Falcons lost these 4 games in the exact same way: ahead at halftime or later, and then the offense goes belly up and even helps the other teams come back by committing a single critical turnover in the 4th Qtr of each game. The Super Bowl loss was big because it was the Super Bowl. But it was not unprecedented.


UGA76
UGA76

I hope we can all agree that we blew it by not going with 3 running plays from the 22. In my opinion we could have still tried to score abet by running creative but safer plays such a an end around with Gabriel.  Even if those running plays don't get us a TD, I think we all agree that we win the game by 3 because after NE scores they would have tried an onside kick.  Sanu seems to always come up with the football on onside kicks.

Nevertheless, we were warned by many a wise NFL talent scout that Atlanta was putting together a very fast but way undersized defense.   There was a reason that we seemed to reach for the majority of them in the two recent drafts.  Undersized players tend to wear out early and before the end of games.  The fact is that those defensive players throughout the season seemed to run out of gas in the second half of games seems to be at least a valid point to consider going forward. 

NE had two weeks to study our team.  We have to give them credit for spotting that Atlanta would wear down in the second half and they just exploited it.  There's no shame because many a great coach has been out-coached by Belichick. 

The problem going forward is how do we fix this undersized defense?  Two new defensive linemen in the first 4 rounds is a start but will a younger bigger defensive line help our undersized LBs and two Safeties?

Jonat
Jonat

Try taking into account that with the score at 28 to 12, Malcolm Mitchell of the Patriots dropped the ball on 3rd and 11, rather than making the reception he has been credited with.  That call moved  the ball to the 14, and gave the Patriots the game.  Look at it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di0NZAMPOyM


Go to 2:20:46. 





David603
David603

@Jonat I'm not sure what you're talking about. He clearly caught the ball.

Mutley
Mutley

Blame Shanahan, blame Quinn, blame Ryan, but the simple truth is GREAT TEAMS MAKE GREAT PLAYS. Atlanta is NOT a great team. New England is. The state of Georgia is just not championship caliber. Never has been. Maybe never will be.

Nodon
Nodon

Shanahan blew it even worse than the Seahawks offensive coordinator did with that asinine pass over the middle. Just run the freaking ball. These guys all want to think they are the next genius offensive coordinator which obviously means to them passing. Had either of them just run the ball New England likely would not have won either of their last two. Good luck San Fran with clown Shanahan.

Keith Kaiser
Keith Kaiser

Feel your pain, Falcons fans.  Wore a bag for years watching Saints games that were lost in the final seconds.  Called the hell-like experiences:  Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!!!  Hey, ya'll have played in 2 Superbowls. Take heart.  There's a bunch of nfl teams that are still Superbowl wannabees.  However, I would prefer to be hit in the gut by a full-speed nfl linebacker than experience the emotional pain ya'll are feeling right now.  My advice:  "Rise Up Again!"

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

As written elsewhere:  "Mr. Quinn, let me introduce you to Bobby Cox."

Dead_byrd
Dead_byrd

shanahan sucks pipe!


Git outa' TOWN!!!!


David McCallum
David McCallum

This notion that the Falcons have a young nucleus means absolutely nothing. There are no guarantees that this team will even come near a Super Bowl next season. Remember, unlike the Patriots who play in arguably the weakest division in the NFL (and have been for years) are assured of at least 5 wins a season. Perhaps, the Jets may get ducky one year. The Falcons on the other hand play in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. All four teams have really good QBs. I fully expect there Panthers to bounce back. I expect the Saint to be good. I also expect TB to take the next step. Where does that leave the Falcons. Stay tuned! The moral to the blog is to take advantage of the opportunity when it is presented and the Falcons did not do that. Oh, and by the way, young players are going to begin looking for money which will kill the cap.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@David McCallum

Wouldn't call the NFC's South Division the NFL's toughest by any stretch.

Hell, they ALL had losing records except ATL.

David603
David603

@David McCallum Nice try David but you might want to check your facts first before posting. The AFC East had a better  combined record than the NFC South this season.

SSBN738G
SSBN738G

1 of 8 on third down.  Defense on the field for over 90 plays.  The offense failed the team this night.  Taking sacks in situations where that is not allowable.  Whiffing on pass rushers, giving a free run to the QB, resulting in a strip-sack.  Drive-killing holding calls to take us out of FG range.  Overly aggressive play calling when a dab of conservatism was called for.


Bad night for the unit that got us to this point in the first place.

David Mark Belcher
David Mark Belcher

@SSBN738G  Falcon's defense gave up 31 straight points.  Your letting them off the hook.  IMO, you need to up grade your defense.

Ver1tas
Ver1tas

Terrible decisions and clock management - and it starts right at the top with Mr. Blank who came down to the sidelines to revel in his victory well before the game was over - a terrible decision that sends the wrong message to your impressionable twenty-something year old employees. It's called the early chirp - counting your chickens before they've hatched, celebrating before you have finished the job. Your defense is gassed, but your OC and QB do not use the clock, do not run the ball....it was a comedy of errors and bad judgement

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@Ver1tas  AB is putting in a 'Slip n Slide'  next year so he and his lady can get to the field much quicker.  Can't wait !!!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Quackmeyer @Ver1tas

NO owner should ever be on the sideline before the game is over.

Sunday's embarrassing show is a BIG reason why!

OH:IO
OH:IO

FIRE SCHANNY!

moboman
moboman

Embarrassingly dumb play calling in the last 9 min.  Take the layup that wins the game, forget about setting up the three point shot.  

JW2001
JW2001

Gotta give the evil genius his due too. he made the right adjustments in line scheme on both sides of the ball.

JW2001
JW2001

poor coaching in critical momemts

1 for 37
1 for 37

Welcome to loserville.  The truth hurts

Pridgeon
Pridgeon

This loss really hurts the city and most of the nation. Our feathers were plucked by a relentless group of Patriots. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭