The Falcons won’t be returning to the Super Bowl this year as they lost 15-10 to the Eagles in Philadelphia on Saturday.
They had a chance to take the lead on their final offensive play when they tried a rollout pass to wide receiver Julio Jones on fourth-and-two with just under a minute left to play, but the ball fell incomplete after Jones went down making his break. Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills made some contact with Jones, who said it is “very difficult for an official to call that play” in that situation.
“That’s a play we practice all the time,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “Certainly in those situations you want to go to your best players. You know obviously rolled to the right and had an opportunity to Julio. It just didn’t work out and that’s disappointing. That’s the life that you kind of live as a competitor when you get in those situations. You want the ball in your hand. We’re disappointed that we didn’t make the play, but I thought it was a good call. It felt like we had the right players in mind and the right time. We just fell a little bit short.”
The Falcons offense didn’t score any points in the final 35 minutes of the game and made some curious calls before the fourth down shot for Jones. Ryan said that fit with the entire season, which saw “too many times that we were a little bit inconsistent” on offense.
That inconsistency led to questions about offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian during the season, but coach Dan Quinn said blame doesn’t fall on one person.
“There are a lot of things that Sark has brought to our team that we really like,” Quinn said. “In terms of, I can take a long time to go through different spots, so it’s easy to place blame all onto one person and that’s a shared responsibility when we don’t achieve at the level that we would like to. There are a lot of really good things that we’ve done and it was highlighted certainly tonight where we didn’t get the job done at the end of the game. So I recognize the question, and like all parts of the organization, we assess and see how we can do things better, and there’s certain parts offensively that we’ll want to do better, and defensively as well, so all phases we’ll really assess and look into.”
The assessment starts now for the Falcons as they try to recapture the offensive production that made them the NFC champs last year.