Too much talk about clock management and how this is Kyle Shanahan’s fault for not running the ball in the 2nd half. Yet, when Tevin Coleman scored the 4th touchdown with 8:31 left in the 3rd quarter, the Falcons failed to run the ball. Despite abysmal running until the end of the game, the Falcons only had three plays where the clock stopped running due to incomplete or out of bounds play.
During the first possession after 28-9, the sequence for the 3 and out was completed pass inbounds for 9 yards (35 seconds off the clock), left tackle run for negative yards (holding called, replay 2nd down- 31 seconds), incomplete pass, and sack (48 seconds). Total time off the clock for four plays was 2:15.
Second possession at 28-17 had a sequence of, run for 8 yards (40 seconds), run for 1 yard (29 seconds), strip sack lost fumble. Total time off the clock was 1:20. This may have been the one questionable play for Kyle as they only needed one yard, but losing Tevin Coleman to an injury on the last play may have been a deciding factor in going for a pass.
During the 3rd possession, pass play completed for 39 yards (31 seconds), 2 yard run (clock stopped due to injury), pass to Julio Jones for 27 yards (clock stopped out of bounds, but gains new set of downs), run to the left for -1 yards (44 seconds), sack on 2nd down (timeout New England), 3rd down completed pass negated by holding penalty (replay 3rd down – 6 seconds), 3rddown and long to try and get back into field goal range was incomplete. The questionable call was not going to the run on 2ndand 11, but after failing to get positive yardage, it is not unreasonable to go to a pass play considering they wanted to try and get a first down to burn even more clock. Once 3rd and long were in place, the play is likely going to be a pass play to extend the drive or gain yardage for an easier field goal.
Overall, there were only 2 questionable calls but all but two plays led to clock running and the run game made 18 yards total on three possessions. Kyle Shanahan did his job and should shoulder very little blame if any for 31 points given up by the defense on 4 consecutive possessions.