FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes thoughts on the Falcons' performance in Sunday's loss to the Saints.
Sunday's outcome is a hard one to get a grasp on for Falcons fans. The offense played as well as they have in a while, and there were several opportunities to put the game away for good late in the afternoon.
The injuries were surely a factor in the loss, but give credit to Drew Brees and the Saints' offense, which is exactly what Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did in his post-game column.
"The Falcons' offense managed 407 yards. That's excellent," Bradley writes. "Their defense yielded 534. That's terrible. It's also understandable. The Falcons are missing Keanu Neal and Deion Jones. Takkarist McKinley and Derrick Shelby inactive Sunday. Ricardo Allen limped off in OT with a calf injury. The Falcons have managed to stay mostly healthy under Quinn – until now, when they're paying the overdue bill for three years of good fortune.
"Once the Saints won the overtime toss, you figured this would go the way – sorry to keep flogging this dead horse – of Super Bowl LI, when the Falcons' defenders were too weary to muster resistance. New Orleans would run 77 plays to the Falcons' 60. It faced two third downs on the slow roll to victory and had no lost-yardage plays. The Falcons' only hope was for replay to take pity on them, and it both didn't and did. At the end the inevitable happened, and a team some believed to be of Super Bowl caliber is 1-2."
Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:
ESPN: Falcons' offense needs to carry the weight
As the injuries continue to mount for the Falcons, particularly on defense, the offense has shown it can carry a heavier burden. With back-to-back 30-point performances, Atlanta's offense appears to be rounding into form, but it may have to keep up that pace moving forward, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.
"What the 1-2 Falcons, who are last in the NFC South standings, can do in the immediate future is revert to their old offensive ways from 2016, when they led the league in scoring at 33.8 points per game and rode that high-scoring attack all the way to Super Bowl LI," McClure writes. "Not every opponent remaining on the schedule is going to be as potent offensively as Brees and the 2-1 Saints were -- and certainly will be on Thanksgiving in New Orleans."
To read more of what McClure has to say, click here.
AJC: Reeling Falcons' defense can't afford to lose Allen
Sticking with the injury theme of today's EBR, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared his thoughts on why the Falcons can't afford to lose starting safety Ricardo Allen for a significant amount of time this season. Allen left the game in overtime and was then carted off the field into the tunnel later in overtime.
"The Falcons were already playing without strong safety Keanu Neal (knee surgery), linebacker Deion Jones (broken foot), defensive end Takk McKinley (groin) and defensive end Derrick Shelby (groin)," Ledbetter writes. "If Allen, who's considered the quarterback of the defense, is lost for an extended period of time, the defense may not recover."
To read the rest of what Ledbetter wrote, click here.