In order to blow a 28-3 lead, a lot had to go wrong for the Atlanta Falcons, both on offense and defense.
Despite that, much of the attention after the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl LI win seemed to revolve around Kyle Shanahan’s offensive play calls.
Yes, running a few more times with such a big lead probably would have been a smart decision in hindsight, but Falcons coach Dan Quinn knows it was about much more than that, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz:
“It wasn’t about one play,” Quinn said. “Those (defensive series) are the ones I evaluated over and over. When you go back and sit through it over and over, you know, ‘I damn sure can’t get a do-over. But I can learn from it.’ I won’t apologize for how aggressive we play and our style and attitude of where we’re headed. But I have learned from that experience.”
He didn’t get specific, but said, “I could have made it easier on them with design (changes). I could’ve changed the scenarios.”
I told Quinn that, as the fourth quarter unfolded, it appeared his young defense had become traumatized by the moment. He disputed that.
“That wasn’t it. The guys were gassed. We had never played in the 90s (snap count). We were not traumatized at all. You could tell there was nothing left in the tank. They would come to the sideline in the fourth quarter and nobody was talking because there was nothing left.”
Unfortunately for the Falcons, their season ended with a collapse that won’t soon be forgotten. But the team already has a new motto as a result.
“Embrace The Suck,” Quinn said, via Schultz. “Eat a crap sandwich with a smile. This is going to be hard. Your choice: It’s a victim’s mentality or a warrior mentality. It’s like, ‘I know this run is going to be long, and it’s going to be really hard. But here I go again.’”
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images