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Brynn Anderson / Associated Press
Don’t be fooled by the Atlanta Falcons’ 4-6 record.
They are one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Arthur Smith’s side were outscored in every area of the pitch in Thursday’s 25-0 loss to the New England Patriots.
Atlanta had a season low of 165 total yards and committed a high of four turnovers. To make matters more embarrassing, the active three-quarters of Atlanta threw an interception.
The Falcons looked more like a team fighting for the top pick in the overall standings than a team with a slim chance of making the playoffs.
If the Falcons hadn’t beaten the New York Giants, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins earlier in the season, Thursday’s loss would have made their Week 12 clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars a battle. for a choice among the top three in the draft.
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Brynn Anderson / Associated Press
It’s time to feel bad for Matt Ryan.
The 36-year-old quarterback doesn’t deserve the lack of help around him in the Atlanta offense.
Ryan barely managed a clean pass Thursday night because his offensive line couldn’t hold back the Patriots pass rush.
Ryan has been sacked four times, marking another worse season, and his offensive line has allowed 12 hits in the quarterback.
When Ryan got the chance to throw the ball, there weren’t many options open, as rookie tight end Kyle Pitts was covered for most of the game.
New England challenged Ryan to beat him with Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheus and Tajae Sharpe. Ryan had no answer for the Patriots game plan.
Atlanta was without its two best offensive players. The lack of depth behind Cordarrelle Patterson and Calvin Ridley was exposed on a national stage Thursday night.
If Patterson comes back from his injury, Ryan will have some support, but his production is still limited with a lack of quality around him on the offensive line and at the wide receiver level.
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Michael Ainsworth / Associated Press
Cordarrelle Patterson is the most valuable piece of the Atlanta offense, and his presence was sorely missed on Thursday night.
No one expected to say this about the veteran running back / wide receiver / man back at the start of the 2021 season, but he has carved out a big role for himself in a mediocre attack at best.
Patterson’s absence has proven how valuable he is to the Atlanta offense and that the team can’t lose him more than one game because of what he brings to the pitch.
Patterson leads the Falcons in rushing yards. Without him, the Falcons ran 40 yards. The majority of those yards were gained by Qadree Ollison, who was retired from the practice squad this week.
The 30-year-old also has the second-highest number of receptions and yards on the list. He leads the Falcons with five touchdown passes.
Gage was the only Atlanta player to record more than 30 receiving yards against the Patriots. None of the other seven players who caught a pass had a significant impact on the passing game.
It is more than a concern that Patterson is the most valuable player in attack at this point. Calvin Ridley would own this title if he were on the active roster. He is absent from the team to deal with a personal situation.
If Patterson can’t play Week 12 against Jacksonville, the Falcons could face a loss to the Jaguars, which could expose their offensive problems even more.
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John Bazemore / Associated press
The extra wildcard spot in both conferences added some intrigue to the playoff races.
Teams like the Falcons are still within range of the No.7 seed as that position currently belongs to the 5-5 Carolina Panthers.
After Thursday, there’s no way the Falcons could consider themselves part of the race for the No.7 seed. They are 4-6 and sit 11th with a conference record of 2-5, which is the worst four-game winning team in the NFC.
There is still a glimmer of false hope for the Falcons as they play Jacksonville in Week 12 and the Detroit Lions in Week 16, but the rest of the schedule is brutal.
Carolina and San Francisco are moving in the right direction after last week, and the Falcons could serve as a punching bag for the Buffalo and Tampa Bay offenses in December and January.
Atlanta could stay another week because they can beat Jacksonville, but don’t be hopeful; the Falcons are far from a playoff football team, and it was obvious Thursday.