It takes something extraordinary to overshadow two franchise records being made (or tied) in the same game. Matt Ryan’s sensational five-touchdown performance silenced any talk of his diminishing arm strength. After scoring his first NFL touchdown last week http://www.atlantafalconsteamonline.com/matt-ryan-jersey , Calvin Ridley shredded New Orleans’ secondary on his way to a hat trick. It was a complete offensive assault that featured almost every skill position player. If someone didn’t score a touchdown, they were on the receiving end of a two-point conversion or big play. Steve Sarkisian helped orchestrate another tremendous performance against a divisional rival for the second consecutive week.To score 37 points should have been enough for the Falcons to overcome their defensive deficiencies. That wasn’t the case, as the loss of four key players (which became five in overtime) proved to be too overwhelming. It wasn’t surprising to see Drew Brees face little pressure against a defensive line lacking in depth and talent. Points were bound to be scored in bunches. How they were scored will have the coaching staff livid. A collection of missed tackles and coverage breakdowns added to their misery in a brutal defeat. It leaves the Falcons searching for immediate solutions within their diminishing defense. Bending and breakingBefore Dan Quinn arrived in 2015, the Falcons had countless appalling showings against Brees. The future Hall Of Famer torched them on a yearly basis with his wide variety of playmakers. From not generating pressure to blowing coverage assignments, they couldn’t stop Brees from doing whatever he wanted across the field. There was a feeling of hopelessness when watching Brian Van Gorder or Mike Nolan try to concoct a game plan to slow down Sean Payton’s lethal offense. For the first time under Quinn and Marquand Manuel, a once familiar feeling in the Georgia Dome resurfaced in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.The Saints gained 534 total yards. Regardless of how many starters are missing, it’s unacceptable for a defense to allow that many yards. Brees was rarely harassed in the pocket. Other than a flash of pressure from Vic Beasley, the Falcons’ pass rush looked utterly powerless. The bizarre decision to use more three-man rushes only made things more difficult. Attempting to stop an offense from scoring by having as many players as possible in coverage isn’t sustainable against an elite quarterback. They eventually paid the price on Brees’ touchdown pass to Cameron Meredith. The sight of Grady Jarrett wandering around in the middle of the field as Brees stepped up in the pocket will be engrained in the minds of the entire fanbase.Although people will raise questions about what the Falcons were doing schematically, they were even worse fundamentally. Some of the tackling on display was particularly atrocious. What made things more surprising was that the usual culprits weren’t responsible. Duke Riley showed signs of improvement in his second game at middle linebacker. It was the secondary that were responsible for most of the missed tackles. Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant paid the price for taking poor angles on multiple occasions. Ricardo Allen and Vic Beasley missed tackles on read option plays that resulted in big third conversions. Brian Poole had his fair share of blunders, which includes being on the receiving end of Brees’ ridiculous spin move. To whiff that badly against a quarterback 14 years older and not known for being elusive will be tough to digest for the normally reliable nickel corner.With the defense missing key players at nearly every level, the cornerback group needed to step up. They failed to do so in getting torn to pieces by Michael Thomas and company. On 49 pass attempts; Poole was the only player to break up a pass. That is a troubling stat for a secondary that takes pride in being around the ball. Not finishing plays and taking poor angles in pursuit is what will ultimately anger the secondary when assessing their mistakes. Similar to Thomas, Alvin Kamara was going to get his production off sheer volume. How many yards both players gained after contact will be maddening for the entire defense. It correlated with the Saints averaging nearly seven yards per play and being successful on third down (7 for 14).The birth of a game-breakerThis loss is a prime example of how a headline can change in a heartbeat. If the Falcons had prevailed, Calvin Ridley’s face would be plastered at the start of every game recap. The rookie wide receiver will have to settle for having a section dedicated to him in every post-game review column. Based on how leaky New Orleans’ secondary was against Tampa Bay and Cleveland, it felt like a great opportunity for Ridley to make an even bigger mark following his impressive performance against Carolina. He went above and beyond in putting on an electrifying show.Ridley seemed to have the upper hand on P.J. Williams from the first drive. His slick stutter steps and terrific footwork gave the inconsistent cornerback fits during the entire first half. Look no further than his first touchdown, as the first round pick left Williams stumbling forward on a stutter-go. There were high expectations for Ridley coming into an offense with an offensive coordinator he previously worked with. Nobody anticipated him playing an integral part in the red zone offense’s resurgence, let alone change the entire offense’s outlook.When Ridley wasn’t creating separation or working his way back in the end zone to score his third impressive touchdown, he was stretching Dennis Allen’s disorganized defense. The Falcons desperately needed an explosive wide receiver to take the load off Julio Jones. Drafting Ridley is proving to the perfect solution in regaining their status as one of the most feared offenses in the league. He torched Williams once again for a 75-yard-touchdown, which led to Williams being benched for Ken Crawley. Ridley also drew a pass interference on Crawley three drives later that translated into a 45-yard gain. Although Sarkisian put him in excellent positions to succeed, all of Ridley’s touchdowns came from individual excellence. There was nothing overly schematic about any of his touchdowns. For the Falcons to add a player capable of terrorizing an opposing cornerback at any time, alongside Jones and Mohamed Sanu, is massive because it’s clear this offense will need to start averaging close to 30 points per game.Situational stumbleIt’s practically impossible to criticize the offense for yesterday’s defeat. How they were able to drive down the field without any semblance of a running game at will was remarkable. Ryan never looked phased when needing to take command of the offense. As New Orleans started dialing up more blitzes, the former MVP kept his composure and made the right reads to keep the offense moving. His rapport with Sarkisian appears to be finally on the right track. For all their success, they will be kicking themselves for not staying aggressive.Following Ridley’s 75-yard touchdown, the Falcons got the ball with a little over 90 seconds left in the first half. Sarkisian called a draw for Tevin Coleman to pick up eight yards on first down. It put them in a favorable second down situation, which should have allowed them to start picking up the pace. The offense never showed any urgency, despite having two timeouts remaining. Sarkisian opts for another draw that Sheldon Rankins ate up for a three-yard loss. New Orleans blitzes on third down to force Ryan into an inaccurate throw. What could have been a 17-13 lead going into halftime turns into a 16-14 deficit. A high-powered offense should always look to score at any opportunity Calvin Ridley Jersey Limited , especially when facing an offensive juggernaut. Quinn will be help culpable as well for not being more attack-minded. It was a costly blunder in a game that was always going to decided by a few plays. You can’t take any chance for granted against a team like New Orleans. The Falcons learned the hard way in a game that shouldn’t have went to overtime.Looking AheadAfter narrowly beating Chicago and Detroit to start off 3-0 in 2017, the Falcons haven’t had the same fortunate in starting 1-2. Falling on the wrong end of games decided by a few plays has been a problem so far this season. Those circumstances aren’t going away anytime soon with Cincinnati awaiting them. It’s clear the pressure is on the Falcons to outscore every opponent. As injuries continue to mount, it’s becoming increasingly harder for the defense to hold opposing offenses below 24 points. Potentially not having Ricardo Allen going forward will only make a dire situation even worse. It will be on Quinn and the front office to decide if they need to look elsewhere to salvage an injury-plagued defense. Based on the last two games, the current crop of players have failed to hold their own against playoff-caliber teams. Welcome to Manager of the Year Day! Oh, what a day this is, every year. I know you’re probably getting ready for your Manager of the Year watch party, and you’re making a chips-and-dip platter in the shape of Bruce Bochy’s head. Expecting a lot of people, are you? Ha ha, just a little manager humor, folks, but, yes, the whole sports world is talking about the Manager of the Year Award!Which is to say, nobody is talking about the Manager of the Year Award. Take a list of preseason projections, match them up with the postseason teams, look for an outlier, and skip the voting. Save everybody some time. It’s the dumbest award. Matt Williams won it in 2014, a couple weeks after a poor decision ruined the Nationals’ postseason hopes, and a year before his final managerial season ever. Paul Molitor won it last year, and the Twins have already let him go. Once, I wrote a big, long article about a better way to determine the Manager of the Year Award, and it was so dumb that Google stopped indexing it, and now I can’t find it. It’s better this way. There is no fixing this award, so I would like to complain about it for awhile, just to get a few things off my chest. Here is the exact problem with the Manager of the Year Award http://www.atlantafalconsteamonline.com/calvin-ridley-jersey , in two headers. 1. National writers have no business pretending like they know who deserves the awardUnlike MVP, Cy Young, or Rookie of the Year, the Manager of the Year should be awarded in great part because of what happens off the field. That is, the Manager of the Year should improve the morale of a team and have the ability to navigate a testosterone-filled minefield of exhausted millionaires, all of whom have spent their whole life not struggling at baseball before struggling for the first time. It’s one thing to chuckle and gurgle something out about baseball being a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s another to make decisions in a way that keeps the attention and faith of a disparate group of 25 different players (along with a taxi squad of scared, overwhelmed rookies who will float through for the first, and sometimes only, time of their major league career.)Great managers can do this. Average managers can look at a cheat sheet and determine which reliever to bring into a tight situation. Above-average managers can filter all of the data coming in from their coaches and players to figure out correctly which relievers should be available and which position players need a day off. Great managers are doing all of the above, but tying it all together with a rare brand of forward-thinking leadership that commands attention and respect. Like hell do I know if Craig Counsell does all of that better than Brian Snitker. But there are national writers who are far more connected, far more attuned to the scuttlebutt, who work tirelessly to take the pulse of all 15 teams in a given league. They at least have a hint about which teams are up, which teams are down, and which teams are overachieving because of the person in charge. Is this a list of those writers, though? No idea. But probably not. Not all of them, at least. A healthy chunk will look at preseason expectations vs. season record and go back to the job that pays them. And it’s a revolving group of writers who votes on the award, so even if you’re somehow lucky enough to get a group of writers who are entirely committed to the Manager of the Year one year, you might not get the same group the next year. It’s too much to cover. Even if there were a specific managers beat, where a writer spent all of his or her day, every day, detailing only the ins and outs of different managerial decisions and rumors, it would be a tough gig to wrangle. But that job description doesn’t exist, so it becomes an impossible task for the typical beat writer, even if they take it as seriously as possible. 2. Local beat writers have no business pretending like they know who deserves the awardThey’re too close Youth Keanu Neal Jersey , you see. It’s like when Baseball America releases their top-100 prospects list, and fans of different teams complain about the specific rankings of their organization’s prospects. They can’t comprehend the existence of 29 other farm systems because they’ve spent all of their effort focusing on one farm system. Which is normal. But it’s why fan-based top-100 lists aren’t a thing. Ranking the 50 best MLB free agents for the 2018-2019 offseasonThe Yankees are pretending they won’t make big free agency moves and it’s hilarious3 possible motivations behind the Nationals’ 10-year, $300 million offer to Bryce HarperYes, bad teams should sign Bryce Harper and Manny MachadoBeat writers who spend nearly 200 days with managers (spring training, included) are likely to have a fantastic handle about what is going on. They’ll know if a manager should have lost a clubhouse, but hasn’t, and they’ll know when the opposite is true. They’ll have a great idea of how a manager has set his team up for success, and they’ll be among the dozen or so most qualified people in the world to make that determination. Great. Now do it for the other 14 teams. It’s an unreasonable request, of course, because there just isn’t that much time. But if we’re accepting that beat writers have a wealth of information about the qualifications of the manager they cover, we also have to accept they have a dearth of information about the other managers. They might hear things about managers in their own division, sure, and they’ll likely compare notes with fellow scribes. But to make a qualified determination about Manager X being better than Manager Y? They have far too much information in one column, and there’s no way they can make it up for the other column. The answer is probably something like this: Whittle down the candidates to the top three or five. Have the representative writers from each team get together and state their case. Debate. Discuss. Draw from the statistical and anecdotal, and if you believe that the manager you covered deserves the award, try to convince the other writer. Then, and maybe only then, would we get an award that better matches reality. After all that work, there would still be nobody who cared about the Manager of the Year Award. So the current system is probably the best system. There’s never going to be a great one. Task some writers who take the job seriously, and hope they get it right. Accept that they’re doing an awful lot of guesswork and speculation, and move on to the real awards. Welcome to Manager of the Year Day! It’s not that bad, really. I feel better. It’s not that bad once you get a few things off your chest, and I look forward to congratulating the managers who weren’t expect to do a bunch before this season started, only to have some success.