By: Lucas Kochevar
This season definitely ended in the most disappointing way possible but there is a lot of optimism that can come out of this experience. This season started off with a loss against Tampa Bay and all of Atlanta thought, "Here we go again." Little did they know this season would be filled with great games and fun games. After the Falcons lost that first game they won 4 straight games that included the defending Super Bowl champs and the Panthers, a game where Matt Ryan threw for 500 yards and Julio had 300 yards. Then the Falcons got robbed in Seattle and they lost a game they should have won against San Diego. The next week the Falcons recovered and beat the Packers in a thriller and then the Buccaneers in a TNF blowout. Atlanta would get owned by the Eagles. They would beat Cardinals following a bye week. The next game featured the Eric Berry show where he carried the Chiefs to a hard-fought win. The Falcons would finish the season on a 4-game winning streak and they would secure the 2nd seed and the NFC South title.
The Falcons got a first round bye and they would get a rematch against the Seattle Seahawks. They would seize the opportunity and they destroyed Seattle. They next game was the NFC Championship game against the Packers and red-hot Aaron Rodgers. The Falcons once again blew them out and they were up 31-0 at halftime. The Falcons finally made the Super Bowl. Then it happened. It that will not be named happened and it made Atlanta feel numb for the rest of the night. The QB, who won't be named either, secured the title as the greatest of all-time. I want everyone to know that Matt Ryan did not blow this game.It was play-calling and Matt Ryan can't change the play every time. It is not Matt Ryan's fault at all. It truly was a great season and I don't think anyone can argue that. If someone ran up to you before the season started and said "The Falcons will dominate the Packers and Seahawks and make it to the Super Bowl," You would have called that person crazy. I will even say I am guilty as I thought making the playoffs would be fantastic. Little did I know that this team would have one of the best offenses in history and make it to the Super Bowl.
I have optimism for next season as I think this team can be improved. This team will be fine without Kyle Shannahan. He is the one that lost us the game because he decide that we couldn't run anymore and we ran the ball only 5 (!!!) times since our 28-3 lead. The Falcons are keeping a lot of their valuable pieces as they have a lot of rookie contracts still and they don't have any expiring contracts for big time players. The Falcons will have starting rookies that will be sophomores. The rookies can only get better from here. The Falcons can even improve in FA as well. I'm sure some players will want to come here after seeing our success to get to the Super Bowl. The only concern is if the Falcons can replace potential coaches leaving and if they can rebound and not have a Panthers-sized meltdown from this season to next season. I think this team will still be explosive and has a good chance to get back to the playoffs. We still have the MVP QB and an All-Pro WR. The Falcons are a great team and they should be feared from now on. Right now we are hurt, heartbroken but Falcons don't dwell on losses, we Rise Up. Let's keep building off our success and let's get that Super Bowl win next year.