Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Falcons: Outplayed, outclassed and out of ideas

Caught in a Bear hug: That's Matt Ryan. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

These short takes off Falcons-Bears are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here . The Falcons came within 15 points of winning, if you hadn't heard.

1. It's hard to believe now, but the Falcons were favored. By a field goal, which is the standard home-field allowance. They lost 27-13. They scored one touchdown. They yielded 478 yards. There were long moments when it seemed the Bears could name the score, and they essentially did. There have been more lopsided losses under Mike Smith, but there has never been one in which the Falcons appeared more overmatched, personnel-wise. (Not even last season's Seattle game, which ended 33-10.) And here we note that the Bears, like the Falcons, entered at 2-3 coming off a two-game losing streak. This shouldn't have been a blowout, especially not on the road, but that's pretty much what it became.

2. The Falcons might not be favored again for a while. They don't play in the Georgia Dome again until Nov. 23 against Cleveland. They travel to Baltimore next week, and then they head to London for a date at Wembley against Detroit. Then they have a bye. Then they play at Tampa Bay, which they beat 56-14 last month. (OK, they'll probably be favored then.) Then they head to Carolina. How many wins do you see in those four games? One? And if one's all they get, won't that make them 3-7 with six to go and essentially out of playoff consideration?

3. Wait a second. Playoffs? We're talking playoffs? Not really. These past three weeks have been sobering in their revelation. The Falcons were beaten 41-28 by Minnesota without Adrian Peterson and with rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater making his first pro start; beaten 30-20 by the Giants after leading 20-10 with 20 minutes remaining, and now beaten by 14 after trailing by 10 at the half. True, the Falcons did forge a third-quarter tie -- which their inept defense held for a total of 73 seconds and three plays. A good NFL team is rarely outclassed at home the way the Falcons were Sunday, but it's no longer possible to regard these Falcons, who've lost three consecutive games by double figures, as a good team.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.