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Raheem Morris takes blame for Todd Gurley's TD gaffe, said he should have had Matt Ryan take a knee

Frank Schwab
·2 min read

You’ve never heard this much angst over scoring a touchdown.

On Sunday we saw one of the craziest ways to lose an NFL game ... and it might not even be the craziest loss for the 2020 Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons had the ball at the 10-yard line, trailing 16-14 with a little more than a minute to go. The Detroit Lions had no more timeouts. All the Falcons had to do was let time run, then kick a 27- or 28-yard field goal for the win.

Somehow, the Falcons lost. The Lions let Todd Gurley go and he scored a touchdown when he was unable to stop himself from crossing the goal line. We saw the truly unique situation of the Lions throwing their hands up to signal a touchdown from the Falcons. The Lions drove downfield after that and won on the final play of the game.

It was a simple game management error, and interim coach Raheem Morris took the blame for it.

TD costs Falcons a win

It’s a tough blow for the Falcons and especially Morris, who waited a long time to get another head-coaching opportunity, even on an interim basis.

Instead of another win as coach, Morris was taking the blame for having Gurley run the ball at all. Morris said the plan was for Gurley to get the ball and “let Todd take the knee,” according to William McFadden of the Falcons’ site. Morris said he regrets not having Matt Ryan take a knee instead.

"I put that on me, 100%,” Morris said Monday.

He said after the game that his ideal scenario was to have Gurley take a knee at the 1-yard line, which was probably overthinking things. The extra few yards wouldn’t have mattered much to the likelihood of making the kick.

It’s fairly amazing how many game management mistakes are made in the NFL. Then again, there aren’t many situations in which scoring a touchdown can cost you a win.

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley (21) scores a touchdown against the Detroit Lions, one which he'd like to have back. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley (21) scores a touchdown against the Detroit Lions, one which he'd like to have back. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Falcons are having a rough season

Gurley expressed frustration at what ended up being a mistake that cost the Falcons a win.

"I was mad as hell," Gurley said after the game, according to the Falcons site. "I was trying not to, my momentum took me in.”

Earlier this season the Falcons became the first team to blow multiple fourth-quarter leads of at least 15 points in a season, and they did it in back-to-back weeks. Dan Quinn was fired, giving Morris his shot to be a head coach again. Then Sunday’s crushing loss to the Lions happened.

That is probably the worst loss the Falcons will experience this season. But with the 2020 Falcons, you never know.

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