As for football in the second half, the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons were at opposite ends of the 2020 spectrum. Rams allowed the second-lowest score after halftime, averaging just 7.2 points per game. The Falcons were the third worst, scoring 15.4 points per game in the second half.
Neither team was offensive in the second half of last season’s games, but when the Rams took the lead at halftime, they never lost. In fact, the Rams never took a half-time advantage in four years under McVay.
The same cannot be said for the Falcons under the leadership of Raheem Morris, who is now the Aries defense coordinator.
Last season, no team in the NFL took more lead at halftime than the Falcons, who lost five games in which they led by at least one point after the first two quarters. That was tied with the Bengals and Chargers for the majority in the league.
The same can be said for the leading results in the third quarter. The Falcons blew away four games in which they led entering the fourth quarter, also tied for a majority in the NFL with the Chargers. There is a reason why many fans and analysts last season compared 7-9 chargers with 4-12 falcons.
The Falcons lost games in which they led 19 points at halftime against the Cowboys and 17 over the Buccaneers. Against Dallas, Morris was the defense coordinator. Against Bucs he was interim coach.
I can’t blame Morris for all the Sokol attacks, but is that a cause for concern in Los Angeles?
For fans, it was one of the first questions after Morris was hired by McVay. “Didn’t the Falcons send a bunch of leads in the second half?” That is a justified question, but it is not a cause for panic.
Of course, playing calls plays a big role in retaining potential customers. Get to the conservative and the offense will surely stop. Become too aggressive in defense and the opponent can score a goal quickly if mistakes are made. But in the end it all comes down to the players.
In the second half of last season’s games, Matt Ryan scored 12 assists and eight interceptions compared to 14 touchdowns and three breakthroughs in the first half. All of his numbers were worse after half time, which Morris can’t necessarily control.
He didn’t shoot in disasters against Tampa Bay and Dallas, but the Falcons scored just two touchdowns in those games in the second half. Is it Morris’ fault? Hard, especially considering he was just a defensive coordinator against the Cowboys, which the Falcons lost just because they failed to recapture the attack.
Morris ’arrival will not suddenly bring McVay’s perfect half-time record into danger. Brandon Staley was great in adjusting at half-time in defense and that’s a big reason the Rams never blew in at half-time. But while McVay will stay in place, he and Morris will ensure that last-half collapses in Atlanta last season don’t carry over to Los Angeles in 2021.