The Atlanta Falcons looked like Super Bowl contenders after opening the season with a 5-0 record. Fast forward just under two months later, and the team is slowly falling apart.
The team held a players-only meeting on Tuesday, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, after losing their fourth straight game last weekend, 20-10, to the Minnesota Vikings at home. The Falcons sit just outside the playoff race with a 6-5 record, and with an upcoming game against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers (who sit just one game behind them in the standings), players were clearly looking to get into the right headspace entering the matchup.
Outside of last week’s loss against Minnesota, all of the Falcons’ losses have come against teams who were under .500 when they faced off. Quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t performing like the $100 million player the Falcons are paying, as he’s thrown eight interceptions in his last five games, while also fumbling the ball three times.
Ryan said on his weekly radio show that he needs to play better (H/T to ESPN for the transcription).
“You have to believe in your ability. You have to believe in the guys around you. And I do. And I expect every time I go onto the field to play at a really high level and give us a winning performance. I haven’t done that the last couple weeks, but it’s in there. I’m hell-bent on doing everything that I can to ensure that happens this week.”
The Falcons’ schedule doesn’t get much easier, as two of their remaining five games are against the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
Next week will determine whether the Falcons players meeting helped turn things around, or if the season is starting to become fully unglued.