I think we have finally seen it all: Offensive miscues, defensive collapses, special teams’ blunders and the most common yet still painful failure, a missed field goal.
After all his success this season, Younghoe Koo had a chance to send this week’s matchup against the 14-1 Kansas City Chiefs to overtime tied at 17.
But as has been the Falcons’ season, the Pro Bowl kicker sent the ball up perfectly with no hint of anything other than a straight shot, only for the ball to fade right with nine seconds left in the game.
Mercifully, the season concludes next week against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and then we are off to an exciting playoff stretch and offseason. Before that, let’s react to Sunday’s contest.
Fight: This was a moral victory for the Falcons.
Most people do not care for moral victories, which is fair. But before someone overreacts with a statement about how moral victories do not matter in the NFL, I want to ask anyone reading this: What was there to gain from a win?
I can also give you that answer: nothing.
I will highlight the losers next, but the Falcons are not one of the losers. Matt Ryan and the offense had another strong day under considerable pressure all day (yes, I see they only had 14 points).
The defense had two interceptions and had opportunities to pick off Patrick Mahomes another two more times. Everyone stepped up to stifle one of the most explosive offenses in football, and the team still is positioned for a top-5 draft pick.
Staying high in the draft and putting a competitive game against the reigning Super Bowl champions benefitted the coaching staff and players, which may not have equated to a win in the record books, but that is a win for every person in the Falcons organization.
Flight: Younghoe Koo and, thanks to the Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills playoff chances.
Someone had to come out of the game a little dismayed. This time it was Koo missing a field goal after his exceptional performances all season. It looked like an otherworldly wind swatted his kick just right of the uprights. The miss is nothing to worry about. At some point, he would miss; it just happened to be at a particularly bad time.
Falcons’ bad luck? Maybe. There are not many other worse ways to lose a game.
Buffalo Bills fans did not lose a lot, but this cemented their status as a second or third seed in the AFC playoffs. Had the Chiefs lost, Buffalo could have had a chance to jump to the first spot and earn a first-round bye, but now the Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City know they will covet the conference’s top three seeds after week 17.