The Atlanta Falcons went farther in the playoffs in 2013 than in any year since the 1998 season. Yet, there's still the taste of defeat. And that makes many Falcons fans wonder: "What does it take?"
Sunday's 28-24 loss to San Francisco at the Georgia Dome was tough for Atlanta in that the Falcons, who were the top-seeded NFC playoff team, had a 17-0 lead in the first half. According to media reports, that made it the largest comeback in the history of the NFC Championship.
That shows the Falcons' chief weaknesses -- defense, and a championship tradition. And those should be the team's top priorities to keep moving forward.
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Since the regime of Coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff took over in the 2008 season, the emphasis has been on offense. QB Matt Ryan was drafted right away, and other performers such as RB Michael Turner and receivers Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez have been acquired as supporting players.
However, a coaching cliche is that offense wins games, but defense wins championships. In both playoff games this season, the Falcons had sizable leads (on Seattle and San Francisco), yet had to come from behind. That shows an inability to "put people away," as the saying goes.
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