There was so much news to deliver on Sunday night and Monday morning that we just pushed Bair Mail back to Tuesday.
Even after giving the mailbag some space, we're still talking about that Bucs loss. We delve into my take on the Grady Jarrett roughing-the-passer call. We also look at Marcus Mariota's performances, both the good and bad, how Caleb Huntley's trending and what's required to put together a more complete game.
Let's get right into it in this week's mailbag;
Ray King from Asheville, N.C.
Scott, I am absolutely sick to my stomach after watching a game that could have been won by our Falcons if a couple of penalties had not been called by the referees. Grady Jarrett is a game changer and made a perfectly legit sack. Shame on the referees for making bad calls that quite possibly changed the outcome of the game. I understand the need to protect the QB but enough is enough. When the game is on the line shouldn't the referees confer with one another or something to allow the game to be decided by the teams and not by the referees?
I think those referees owe the Falcons organization and its fans an apology for completely blowing it. What can we do as fans do to voice our opinions and observations besides unload our grievances on you? Rise Up.
Bair: I'm letting Ray speak for so many who submitted questions and comments about this Grady Jarrett roughing-the-passer call. Appreciate them all. Hope you understand why I'm not publishing a bunch of them. Don't want to be repetitive.
Here's the play:
All caught up?
Good. Now let's discuss. In my opinion, I think the call was wrong and cost the Falcons an opportunity to complete a valiant comeback. Tom Brady's blatant move to kick Jarrett after the sack, maybe hoping for retaliation that would draw a flag makes matters worse in my mind. Most who have seen the play, both fans and NFL analysts, agree with me. Ray obviously does, too.
While Falcons and coaches feel a certain type of way about it, they aren't airing grievances in the media. Arthur Smith wouldn't openly criticize the call in his Monday press conference, trying like heck to put the focus on the 49ers game coming up in Week 6.
Grady Jarrett hasn't addressed it directly, as of this mailbag's publication.
The Falcons have opportunities to speak with the NFL about the call and, in general, about officiating, those conversations are mandated to remain confidential.
While it will remain a debate moving forward, it's not going to change anything. An admission of wrong doing by the league won't allow the Falcons and Bucs to replay the last three minutes. That Week 5 result will always feel uncomfortable, like something was taken away unfairly. It's never, ever going to sit right. The best thing to do here is follow Smith's advice and try to turn the page and do it fast.
Gregory C from Wisconsin
Hi Scott, When can MM1 get a break. After 2 years not playing my guy out performed in QB rating ( I know ) Wilson , Ryan, Lawrence, Goff, Dalton, Picket, Tannehill ( insert applause here ) Mayfield, Hurts, Stafford, Rush, Burrow, Jackson. He's playing in Smith's system well. All for one and one for all. Stafford sacked 5 times and we know his athletic ability Marcus 5 times we know his, Dallas defense great Bucs good, please HELP!!!!!
Bair: I don't know how much help I'm going to be to you, Gregory. For every mailbag submission like this one I get, I receive double the amount demanding Desmond Ridder.
I don't sit in that camp. Not at all. I'm just not ready to excuse Marcus Mariota's mistakes. He puts the ball on the ground too often. That's bothersome whether he loses possession or not. There are times where I don't love his decision making, both when to run and where to throw it. And, too often he goes deep and gives his receiver zero chance to catch the ball.
I can also admire what he has done evading pressure and making confident, tight-window throws in big moments. He's a play maker and he has made a lot of good plays. He's a major reason why the Falcons are running as well as they are.
Fred Pittman from Hamilton, Ga.
Hi Scott, it seems like Caleb Huntley is getting better every week. Are the Falcons happy with how he is progressing? You are doing a fine job writing about the Falcon. Thanks
Bair: Thanks for the kind words, Fred. Appreciate you and everyone joining the conversation each week. Caleb Huntley had a solid, not spectacular, game against the Bucs. He and Tyler Allgeier were the primary ball carriers in a rushing effort that exceeded 150 yards for the third time this season.
He's a tough, physical runner who fits well into this scheme, someone who makes a decision and goes hard. He'll have a four-week audition with Cordarrelle Patterson on injured reserve, during which he'll try to establish his value on the 53-man roster. If he doesn't stick, he could go back to the practice squad. Exposing him to waivers means he might end up on another squad. That will be a tough decision, because keeping five running backs doesn't seem tenable. Having Huntley as another quality option is a good problem to have, even if it forces a difficult decision down the road.
Cameron Williams from Lithonia, Ga.
Hey Bair. That was a tough loss [Sunday]. I loved the way the team fought back and didn't quit. Made it interesting as we have done all season. Unfortunately, this was yet another game the team could not put together four full quarters of good football. We were terrible the first half. The Bucs stopped the run, and the pass game was a ghost. On the defensive end Brady was having a field day. Second half we turned it on. Mariota said during the press conference that the team has to be better on first and second down. Coach Smith said he has to coach better so this team is not put into situations like in today's game.
What do you think needs to occur Bair? What is stopping the falcons from playing four full quarters. I think this team Is looking at a different record if they could do that.
Bair: Ah, the elusive complete game. The Falcons certainly haven't found one yet, which is why things are always so tense. They are competitive as heck and typically make a run at some point in the game. It's just a matter or being more consistent and starting faster.
Part of that requires a steadier passing attack, with fewer inaccurate throws and drops and miscommunications. It also requires better play on early downs to stay on schedule. If those things can happen early, that's a good start. I'm not sure if this team's the type to win a game by 21, especially not as the league is trending towards closer games.
Overall, it's about getting the little things consistently right. This team is capable of such a performance, but the NFL experience is also about weathering storms and lulls in performance. It's also about capitalizing on opportunities. That's the biggest thing the Falcons aren't doing enough.
Call for questions
We're coming right back with another Bair Mail on Wednesday, so submit questions here for inclusion in that installment.