The Atlanta Falcons already had the No. 1 seed in the NFC wrapped up heading into Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Falcons' starters still played much of the contest. However, the Falcons put forth an uninspired effort, losing 22-17 and finishing up the regular season at 13-3.
The poor performance by the starters angered many Falcons fans, including Dave Choate of SB Nation's Falcons blog The Falcoholic:
Me? I was just frustrated to the point of rage by the way this one unfolded. It's one thing to lose with your backups in, but it's another to lose with your starters playing and risk injury, much less lose Dunta Robinson and John Abraham to injuries.The Falcons came off looking lousy, uncertain and foolish at a time where they should have been coasting into the playoffs without a care in the world. It wasn't the worst possible outcome, but it was a bad one. To put it bluntly.
Most Falcons fans were hoping for either a blowout victory with the starters or a bunch of time for the reserves. Neither of those outcomes came to fruition, and strangely, Matt Ryan dropped back to pass nearly 50 times in a meaningless game. Ryan was mostly ineffective against a weak Tampa Bay pass defense, as Atlanta stuck with a vanilla gameplan that featured short throws.
The Falcons will have a couple of weeks to prepare for their NFC Divisional Round playoff game. Atlanta will have to play much better if it wants to avoid another disappointing postseason loss.