Dirty Bird Depression: Falcons Disappoint in Season Opener


Young star: Eagles QB Jalen Hurts shined against the hometown Falcons in their season opening rout.

More dirty bird depression? What’s new! The much anticipated return of NFL Sundays sparked joy in football fans around the world, but for Falcons fans, that joy quickly became sorrow after an abysmal performance on Sunday, suffering a humiliating 32 to 6 rout at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. As initial three point favorites against the Eagles, the expectations of sports analysts for the Falcons were strangely high, especially considering last year’s 4-12 season where the dirty birds languished at the bottom of their division. For Falcons fans, however, the defeat to open the season was all too expected and familiar. While Eagles QB Jalen Hurts turned heads with his strong performance, the Falcons seem to already be back on track to earning a reputation as a bottom dweller in the NFL this season. 

Coming into the game, there were many questions about both teams. Many were unsure about how veteran QB Matt Ryan would fare going into year 14. With a young defense that was ranked at the bottom half of the league last season, there were numerous concerns about how they would perform this year. Many people also wanted to see how highly touted draft pick Kyle Pitts would look fit into the offense, and how their youthful offensive line would perform. Falcons fan Wyatt Allred said “I had a lot of concerns about the team, but I was excited for the new offense under new head coach Arthur Smith.” 

As for the Eagles, after drafting Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft and trading away former Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz, there was a lot of skepticism about the quarterback situation in Philadelphia. The Eagles also came into the season with a new head coach after firing former Super Bowl winning coach, Doug Pederson. With all of the uncertainties, many expected the Eagles to be one of the worst teams in the league. 

During the game, many of the questions for both teams were answered. With a monster performance against the Falcons, Jalen Hurts proved that Philadelphia’s quarterback play may no longer be a point of concern. He finished with an outstanding 77.1% completion percentage and 264 passing yards and, showcasing his dual threat ability, racked up 62 rushing yards on his feet. Rookie receiver and last year’s heisman recipient Devonta Smith looked the part as well, with a solid 6 catches for 71 receiving yards. 

While the Eagles looked very impressive, the Falcons looked pitiful. The defense struggled, allowing the Eagles offense to have their way throughout the entire game. The offensive line allowed pressure to reach quarterback Matt Ryan on what seemed like every other play. Ryan only managed 164 passing yards on an unimpressive 60% completion percentage. The outcome of this game certainly gave dirty bird fans headaches, but it gave Eagles’s fans hope. Eagles’s fan Noah Mesa said, “The offense looked better than I thought. Jalen Hurts got the ball out quickly and the receivers looked good. The front four looked great, and the entire team in general looked way better than I expected them to look.”

While this first game can certainly be an indicator of what is to come for both teams this season, this was only the first game of a long 17 game season. Things can drastically change by January, so fans should not get their hopes up too high or hang their heads too low. There is still a lot of football to be played, and the most important takeaway for fans should be that football season has arrived!