The Dolphins game was like any other game in any other sport involving Atlanta: it started off strong and (fill in the blank ATL Sports Team) struggled to finish. This dark cloud has hovered over the city for quite some time and has taken its toll the worst on the Falcons.
This game, like all the rest, started off with a ferocious defensive push and a near spotless offensive attack. They led 17-0 at the half and put points on the board on the ground, in the air, and by kicking. But as usual, it was the second half that the Falcons fell apart.
“Well, for sure it’s one we’ll have to look back again into. Today, I thought for the second half it was a case of where we had some errors and some missed opportunities that were the biggest factor in the loss today,” said Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn. “By no means do I mean it’s a systemic one or game management one. In fact, I was happy how it went at the end of the half. We had good game management, and I was happy at the end.”
Jay Cutler, by no means, had a good game overall today. But what can be said about his play was that he came up when Miami needed him. His two touchdown passes to Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills within six minutes put the Falcons on their heels.
From then on Atlanta was scrambling to find answers. They had a few bright spots here and there but nothing that translated to points. You read right, they didn’t score in the entire second half.
Miami, on the other hand, made two clutch field goals late in the fourth quarter (one to tie the game, the second to take the lead).
Miami running back Jay Ajayi ran for 130 yards on 26 attempts, no doubt wearing down the Atlanta defense up front.
Wide receivers Julio Jones, Austin Hooper, and Taylor Gabriel were reliable targets for Matt Ryan throughout the game. The three combined for 17 catches and 159 yards (more than half of Matt Ryan’s attempts and yards).
Blowing a 17-point lead was the absolute last thing they wanted to do going into next week. Atlanta will travel to face the New England Patriots who they so infamously blew a 25-point lead (they were up 28-3 in the first half) to lose the Super Bowl.
Photo: Hakim Wright