Atlanta Falcons Season 2013 Review

Read how the Atlanta Falcons did in the NFL season 2013. If you are looking for more recent games, click here to find reviews of Atlanta Falcons games in 2014.

Atlanta Falcons Season 2013 resulted in significant leadship changes

After a trip to the NFC Championship in the 2012 season, the Atlanta Falcons came out looking like a completely different team than the one that appeared in the NFC Championship. Finishing with a season record of 4-12, it was no surprise that significant changes in leadership took place as a result.

Although quarterback Matt Ryan threw a career-high 17 interceptions, the blame does not rest solely on him since he spent most of the time with his back on the turf. Ryan finished with an overall Number 14 rating among quarterbacks, but consistently dealt with an offensive line that showed no protection throughout the season. Having struggled with an O- line that finished with a rating of -44.6, as opposed to its 139.8 rating in 2012, Ryan struggled to stay in the pocket and have time to throw.

Adding to the lack of protection from the offensive line, Ryan suffered significant blows to his offensive weapon list in the Falcons 30-28 loss to the New York Jets. Pro-Bowl wide receiver, and leading receiver for the Falcons, Julio Jones suffered a fractured foot in that game which put him out for the season after needing surgery. Additionally, wide-receiver Roddy White suffered a hamstring injury in that same game. The injuries to Jones and White came just weeks after the Week 2 hamstring injury to running back Steven Jackson. Jackson was out for four games and then returned. Losing two of his largest weapons shortly after losing Jackson, combined with a weak offensive line protection, it is hardly a surprise that Ryan struggled this season. One of the most devastating games to Ryan came against the Carolina Panthers in which he was sacked 9 times and hit 14 times. In that same game, Carolina’s quarterback Cam Newton was only sacked and hit once.

However, it is unfair to blame just the offensive line because the defense had its own share of struggles and became more of a detriment to the Falcons than an asset. The struggle by Defensive Line coach Ryan Hamilton to develop the young linemen was apparent throughout the season. The Falcons never established a pass rush and finished in the bottom of the league in sacks. In addition to putting up only 32 sacks, 21 of those did not come from defensive linemen. The Falcons were also rated as one of the worst run defenses in the league.

However, 2013 first round draft pick Desmond Trufant came out and made his mark in the league and with the team as he served as one of the few assets of the defensive line. Having played 1,022 snaps as a rookie, he gave up only 3 touchdowns while allowing 53.4 percent of the passes that came him way to be caught. Trufant finished the season with the highest rating on the entire defense for the Falcons.

The defense finished 25th overall in the league, 25th in run defense, 32nd in pass rush and 26th in pass coverage. The offense finished 24th overall, 15th in passing, 21st in rushing, 30th in pass block and 23rd in run blocking for the league.

As a result of the struggles with the lines on both sides, the Falcons fired defense line coach Ryan Hamilton and offensive line coaches Paul Dunn and Pat Hill. Although Mike Nolan slid by the pink slips, it is without question the Falcons will be expecting more from the defense in the 2014 season or he could be next to be gone.

However, in the midst of the unexpected and horrible performance from a former championship contender, the 2013 season will always be remembered as the year the Falcons and their fans said goodbye to one of the best players to ever put on a Falcons jersey. Pro-Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez retired and played his last game in the NFL. Having recorded over 400 receptions, 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns in a Falcons jersey over the course of 5 seasons, it is certain that Gonzalez will soon have his name added in the Hall of Fame.

Although the youth of the Falcons, combined with the poor performances from veterans, may have ended the season with a losing record and disappointing performance. It is not far beyond belief to expect this team could easily turn around since their 12 losses came by a touchdown or less.

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