The 2016 Atlanta Falcons famously lost the Super Bowl after holding a 28-3 lead and they have not been the same since. The 2021 Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl, but nearly blew a 28-3 lead against the Falcons in Week 2, escaping with a four-point victory.
What went wrong? What went right?
It’s been five years since Atlanta has ended a season with a winning record and fresh off of a 7-10 season for head coach Arthur Smith, the Falcons were not expected to improve with Marcus Mariota replacing Matt Ryan at quarterback. However, Mariota was almost good enough against the Rams on Sunday and rookie receiver Drake London had eight catches for 86 yards and a touchdown as Atlanta surged towards cutting the score to 31-25 in the final minutes.
On the flipside, Matthew Stafford started 12-of-12 passing before tossing his first interception—fourth of the season already—and he nearly gave the game away after Falcons linebacker made a highlight pick of Stafford late in the game to keep the score close enough.
How could a defending Super Bowl champion look so human against a Falcons team expected to compete for the number one pick in the 2023 draft?
To figure that out, I got together with Chris Daniel and J.B. Scott for another INSTANT REACTION podcast, which you can listen to here below: Find us on your podcast apps and hit SUBSCRIBE to get every episode of the best Rams instant reaction show on the internet.
Some instant thoughts:
- Sean McVay needs to do better. The offense was good but it should have been much better against a team like Atlanta and the Rams have struggled more than they have thrived over the first two weeks.
- Why all the talk about Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek being “weapons” when they’re barley a part of an offense that doesn’t have Van Jefferson? Atwell was completely M.I.A. in Week 2. What was he being protected for in the preseason?
- The offensive line needs help. This ain’t the one.
- This is nearly two blown leads in the last four games, going back to the 28-3 lead over the Bucs in the divisional round.
- Is there enough pressure coming off the edge of the defense?
- The secondary may be in trouble. What will happen when the Rams face quarterbacks better than Marcus Mariota and receivers better than a rookie and company?
A must-listen podcast starts right now: