Forrest Gump’s mother had it right, “Stupid is, stupid does.”
In the huddle last Sunday, Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan had two instructions for Todd Gurley. “Get the first down and don’t score a touchdown.”
In some games, one out of two ain’t bad, but for instructions from your quarterback that ended up costing your team a win, it was real bad. Gurley got the first down easy, as the Detroit Lions defenders opened the hole, even pushed him towards the goal line, hoping the Falcons running back would score a touchdown and allow their team time to come back.
Here was the situation, the Falcons were inside the redzone and trailing by two points with just over a minute left on the clock. They had a third-and-one situation and the Lions were out of time outs. This is where intelligence calls for getting the first down and then setting up a would-be winning field goal with no time left on the clock for Detroit to recover.
But, after getting the first down, Gurley completed the touchdown run, apparently realizing his error just too late to avoid scoring.
You know what happens next, with Falcons owner Arthur Blank standing on the sideline he watched his Falcons lose for the six time in seven decisions this year. The Lions scored the winning touchdown on the game’s final play. Blank shows up on the Falcons sideline like the Grim Reaper more often than a pumpkin in the window on Halloween.
Remember his demeanor in the Super Bowl while his team blew a 28-3 third quarter lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots? He was there again a few weeks ago when the Falcons bolted to a seemingly insurmountable lead over the Dallas Cowboys before they appeared to not know the rules on an onside kick that allowed the Cowboys a last second win.
I could tell you what happened then, but I’d rather spend the rest of this column telling you about tonight’s game.
In a 2020 rematch against the Carolina Panthers the Falcons look to atone for one of their six losses this season when they meet Matt Rhule’s team at Bank of America Stadium. Three weeks ago, the Panthers visited the Falcons in Atlanta and pinned them with their fifth straight loss, 23-16. Tonight, the Panthers are favored to beat them again, with a point spread that opened with the home team favored by three points on a line that has now been reduced to 1½ points.
Wait, does that mean the public is betting on the Falcons?
No, it means the books are.
The point spread shift on tonight’s game is in spite of the public lining up on the home team. So, where do you think that should land us on this primetime contest?
Following rule number one in making money while wagering on sports … never give the books what they want.
Tonight, we can take what they don’t want and meet at the payout window after the Falcons chalk up their second win of the season. I only have one request, will security please keep Blank off the Falcons sideline?
Qoxhi Picks: Atlanta Falcons (+1½) over Carolina Panthers