Believe it or not, I did not write an article calling the Atlanta Falcons an epic failure. Sportswriter Jeff Schultz covers the Falcons 24/7 365. If anyone knows the dirty birds, it's him. "They failed. Epically."-Jeff Schultz. Read more of Schultz's blog from

It’s year three of this great franchise awakening, and that means one thing: We don’t grade seasons on the first 16 games.

We can praise the Falcons for a 13-win season. We can marvel at their young quarterback, Matt Ryan, for his progress in three seasons and his ability to pull out victories in pressure situations. We can sit back and praise the owner, the general manager and the coaching staff for seemingly doing everything right and winning 33 regular season games since 2008.

But in January of 2011, the Falcons should not be graded on what happens in the first 16 games. They should be graded on postseasons.

They failed. Epically.

There’s no shame in losing to the Green Bay Packers. But getting bodyslammed 48-21 is a level of humiliation that no playoff team should ever experience, especially this one. Not after a 13-3 season. Not in its first playoff game. Not at home. Not after having a week off while the opponent was in a short week following a road playoff game.

You expected a high point for the franchise. Instead, the Falcons gave us a low — the most lopsided playoff loss in their history.

“We didn’t do anything like ourselves,” Roddy White said. “It felt like were a different football team.”

If the Falcons could have stepped outside themselves and astral-projected into other bodies, it would have been an improvement.

They committed four turnovers. They allowed the Packers 442 yards in offense, 366 coming from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw three touchdowns and completed 31 of 36 passes (and I honestly can’t remember the five incompletes).

If you think it can’t get worse, try this: Green Bay never punted. The totals: Five offensive touchdown, a defensive score, two field goals, a missed field goal and a fumble. It was like the return of Arena Football, except only one team was fully functional.

“Totally our fault,” said defensive end John Abraham, who like many Falcons defenders got close to Rodgers on occasion but seldom could get him to the turf (he was sacked twice). “I’m not saying they didn’t play well, but we could’ve done a lot more to move this in the right direction and we didn’t.

“Personally, I had bigger goals. The regular season is good. But being done in the first game hurts, especially the way we got knocked out.”

Some feared the New Orleans Saints coming back into the Georgia Dome and winning for the second time in a month. More feared Michael Vick coming back and winning again. Was this any better — a lopsided loss, with several thousand “Cheeseheads” chanting, “Go Pack Go”?

Read all of Schultz's delightful blog here:

I especially like the part about fearing the Saints. Again, for the record, Schultz covers the Falcons more than any of us here at Espn1420 and I'll trust his judgment when he calls the Atlanta Falcons season an epic failure.