It's tough to be a Falcons fan this year. With just 1 victory under their belts and 5 (now 6) losses, it just seems that they can't manage to do anything correctly. They were playing the Detroit Lions over the weekend and no offense to Detroit fans but they are not exactly a football powerhouse this season either.
In this case I think the loss is just a case of terrible coaching for Atlanta because there were a lot of things that could have happened where Atlanta definitely would have won this game and finally put another "W" in their column but they simply did everything wrong in the crucial last minutes of the game that even high school coaches know are bad ideas.
The Falcons were trailing the Lions by 2 point towards the end of the fourth quarter and thus far, this surprised nobody. But they were in a very unique position since they actually had a very successful drive down the field as the clock was winding down. They also had the Lions by the balls because Detroit had already burned all of their timeouts for reasons I am not going to get into.
In case you are unaware, timeouts play an absolutely crucial role in clock management towards the end of the game because winding down the clock to eliminate any opportunity that your opponent has of making a return score is just part of the game.
The Falcons trailed the Lions 16-14 but then found themselves in the red zone (inside the 20) with just over a minute remaining. This distance is fantastic field goal range that any kicker in the game is going to make 95 times out of 100. The odds are ever in your favor at this point and since the Falcons were only down by 2, those 3 points would have all but assured victory especially since the Lions had no more time outs.
Instead of just going for low yardage plays and then winding out the clock to damn near zero before making a very easy and almost certain field goal, running back Todd Gurley found a hole and went in for the touchdown, which of course gives the Falcons the lead, but only by 5 points.
While it is still unlikely that a team that only scored one other touchdown in the game it is still quite unlikely that they are going to score another one, but you gave them a full minute to accomplish this whereas if you had just taken a knee or even better, intentionally grounded the ball on the 1-yard line, you could run the clock down to just a few seconds, score the field goal and then the Lions would have to run the ball back from the kickoff for a touchdown, which of course is exceptionally unlikely as it has only been done 3 times by ALL TEAMS in all of this season and only 7 times in the entirety of the 2019 season.
Look at the above picture: The Lions defense is actually celebrating the fact that they had a touchdown scored against them.
To make matters even stupider, the Falcons went for a 2-point conversion even though there was absolutely no reason for them to do so from a strategic point of view. They actually DID convert the 2 points but why? I can only guess that they were hoping that the Lions, if they scored a touchdown on the return drive (they did) that they would miss the P.A.T. (they didn't and it is nearly statistically impossible that anyone ever does.)
This level of mismanagement is just idiotic and it very well could lead the firing of a head coach in the not too distant future.