Lightning Strikes the Falcons: Welcome to Fight or Flight

Welcome to Fight or Flight, where I will give quick takeaways and thoughts every week on the ideas, performances and rumors involving the Atlanta Falcons using a “fight or flight” response. A fight response will agree, standing and fighting, and sticking in the situation; a flight spells toxic circumstances and does not look good for the franchise. 

With that established, let’s take a look at who brought the fight and who may not be ready to take flight after last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Fight: Russel Gage’s role in a Julio Jones-driven offense

While Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley have battled injuries all year, Gage’s presence in the lineup continues to provide a bright spot. With Jones out last week, Gage was in once again and left his mark with a passing touchdown to Ridley, and in the passing game with five receptions for 82 yards.

Given his lack of efficiency and drops in the last few outings, in particular, Gage may be turning a corner and starting establishing himself as a viable option for next year’s offense.

Flight: Dante Fowler, Jr. (but hopefully not for long)

Fowler is low hanging fruit at this point but is still worth mentioning since it was supposed to be a good acquisition for the defense. Instead? He has been middling at best. Sunday was a day he was supposed to justify some of the 3-year, $45 million contract he inked this past off-season. 

He justified the Los Angeles Rams’ lack of extension because he could not get it done versus a crushed offensive line and a rookie quarterback. He has not done much so far this year, and with games upcoming with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (twice), Fowler could end up here three more times.

He will not end up here because I strive not to repeat players.

All in all, another Sunday’s result marks a disappointing loss that could come as a long-term win for the franchise. The Falcons have an excellent chance of losing out and finishing as high as fourth in the NFL Draft, more than likely in the 4-8 slots. Still, with the Falcons’ year, a high draft pick is at least a bit of a silver lining.