Yes, it was only one game.
Atlanta’s 30-12 loss to Chicago on Sunday doesn’t mean the Falcons won’t defend their NFC South crown or that they are suddenly a lousy team. Still, there were a number of reasons for serious concern.
1. The loss was by the biggest margin of any Matt Ryan started in the regular season. (Of course it wasn’t quite as bad as last year’s playoff loss to Green Bay.) The Falcons only lost one game by two scores in the regular season last year. Including the playoffs, they have now lost their last two games by a combined score 78-33.
2. Probably the best thing about the Mike Smith Falcons: They do the little things well. On Sunday in Chicago, they couldn’t tackle, they turned the ball over, and they had a ton of penalties. The game included a lot of unforced errors.
“Stunned is an understatement,” linebacker Mike Peterson said.
3. Atlanta wants its offense to be more explosive. It scored six points Sunday. The offensive line couldn’t pass protect. Matt Ryan has been inefficient going back to the preseason.
4. A few positive notes here: The Falcons only have four more games on grass all year. The entire NFC South lost Sunday.
Still, the Falcons have to get their house in order quickly with the Eagles coming to town or last year’s 13-3 No. 1 seeds could start 0-2.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!