Falcons hope to avoid rock bottom


It has been difficult to grasp that a team with a Super Bowl-or-bust mentality heading into the year is now in contention for the first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, but that is how far the 2-7 Falcons have fallen. Undrafted rookie receiver Darius Johnson scored the Falcons’ only touchdown on Sunday and the Seahawks steamrolled the home team 33-10.

Stephen Jackson gained 11 yards on nine carries and Atlanta’s league-worst rushing attack turned in a 64-yard effort, while Matt Ryan was held to a season-low 172 yards pass- ing. The Falcons’ once-explosive offense has been stagnant recently, and on the longest play of the game—a 31-yard reception by Harry Douglas—Seattle’s Walter Thurmond stripped and recovered a Douglas fumble.

Pointing the finger and questioning the effort or leadership is not the issue. A lack of physicality up front is the root of the Falcons’ problems. “I do feel like our guys are playing hard,” said head coach Mike Smith. “We just physically didn’t win the line of scrimmage [against the Seahawks], on both sides of the

football. It’s definitely not the type of football we’re accustomed to playing around here…. [There are] a lot off disappointed people.”


On Sunday Atlanta will visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are coming off their first win of the season after beating Miami 22-19 on Mon- day. Atlanta relied on two Jacquizz Rodgers receiving touchdowns when it held on for a 31-23 win over the Bucs on Oct. 20. During the game, Tampa Bay limited the Falcons running attack to 18 yards on 18 carries and Douglas posted a career-high 149 receiving yards and scored a touchdown to offset the non-existent rushing. Without another heroic performance from Douglas, Atlanta may move into the basement of the NFC South along with Tampa Bay.


Paul Worrilow led the Falcons’ defense with 19 tackles for the second straight game. The undrafted rookie logged 10 solo tackles and has now posted 38 total tackles in the last two games. Worrilow’s performance joins him with Falcons Ring of Honor member Jesse Tuggle as the only players in franchise history to record 15 or more tackles twice in one sea- son. Worrilow and Dallas linebacker Sean Lee are the only players to post two games with 16 or more tackles so far in 2013.

With outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon returning to the lineup, the linebackers could become a strength of this team.

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