There are any number of scapegoats you can point to in a monumental collapse like the Falcons just had, but this offensive series is going to stand out above them all.
Leading 28-20 with 4:40 remaining, Atlanta had 1st and 10 at the Patriots 22. Here’s what happened next:
- 1st-10: Devonta Freeman got stuffed for a one-yard loss
- 2nd-11: The only things that can’t happen now are a sack, holding penalty, or turnover. Matt Ryan takes a sack.
- 3rd-23: At the Patriots 35, with 3:50 remaining, the Falcons still are in Matt Bryant’s field goal range. Tackle Jake Matthews gets flagged for holding, and the Falcons get pushed back 10 more yards. After an incompletion on 3rd-and-33, they have to punt.
If the Falcons had just run straight into the line twice beginning on second down, they would have either eaten a bunch of time off the clock, or forced the Patriots to use their timeouts. A 40-yard field goal by Bryant would have put them up by 11 points.
What a great comeback by the Patriots; what an epic collapse by the Falcons.