Can you believe it was a year ago around this time that the Falcons were 8-1 through nine games and everything seemed to be going the right way for them. Matt Ryan was putting together one of the best seasons of his career, Julio and Roddy were showing us all why they were the best receiving tandem in the NFL and their defense played average enough to keep them in games and they knew they had an offense that could get them a touchdown to support them. They would end up getting the number one seed in the NFC and Matt won his first playoff. That was a question that kept hovering around the quarterback. The Falcons were a game away from the Super Bowl. Let’s look at this year’s team. Through nine games, they are 2-7 with a series of injuries.
What so many considered to be a top five offense in the league has truly disappointed. Steven Jackson has struggled with injuries as he’s dealt with the last few seasons of his career, Julio Jones was lost for the year with a foot injury and he was their best receiver, Roddy White has dealt with ankle issues and the offensive line has had its issues when it comes to protecting Matt Ryan. Last season, they were seventh in offense averaging 26.2 points a game. This season, they are 23rd in offense averaging 20.7 points a game. The drop in productivity is expected because key guys have been injured.
The biggest issue with this team has been their defense. They were a better unit in 2012 than given credit for. They gave up 18 points a game but struggled when it came to getting any type of pressure on the quarterback. To add that pass rush they desperately needed, they signed Osi Umenyiora in the off-season hoping he’d bring a toughness to a defensive line that was considered soft. Early in the season, their defense kept them in games for three-quarters and when the fourth quarter would come, they would disappear on everybody. The biggest issue with this unit is the lack of discipline they play with. They miss gap assignments, don’t execute on tackling, blow coverages and they commit penalties. The Falcons are by far the biggest disappointment of the 2013 season.