In a back-and-forth game such as this, it's incredibly difficult to choose one play that surmises the entire "feeling" of a game. If you're the Falcons, however, this fourth-and-inches play will do just fine.
Now to be fair, the Falcons had success earlier in the game on fourth down. Matt Ryan and the offense also had been red hot in the last ten minutes of regulation, coming back from a 10-point deficit to send the game to overtime. But let's be honest: there are several issues with such a playcall...
Why is Roddy White blocking the edge, and not a tight end? Why did Michael Turner- clearing being able to see that the Falcons O-line was pushed backwards right from the start- not at least attempt to bounce to the outside? Why did Mike Smith choose to go for it deep in his own territory when the defense had just forced a three-and-out?
Perhaps most baffling is this: why did Mike Mularkey call for an inside run when the passing game had become so effective in the waning moments of regulation? Harry Douglas was destroying the Saints' secondary all by himself. These are questions we'll likely never hear answered, but nonetheless they're worth asking.
With the Falcons now looking more like a fringe playoff team once again, they'll need to see more improvement going forward. More highlights below:
Falcons VS Saints Highlights 11/13/11 (via rugbybanana1)
On the bright side (as I previously mentioned), Harry Douglas was a monster. Eight catches for 133 receiving yards is his best game in a long time. And then there's Jason Snelling, who did his best Marshawn Lynch impression by running through the entire Saints defense for a touchdown.
There were other good performances as well- Sean Weatherspoon, Tony Gonzalez, Brent Grimes, and even Matt Bosher to name a few- but as a whole there were too many miscues for the Falcons to really deserve the win this week anyways.
Looking forward though, the Falcons have two very winnable games against the Titans and Vikings fast approaching. I'd like to see some wins.
For more Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more Saints, head over to Canal Street Chronicles.