What happens when a perfect storm meets a comedy of errors?
As complete as the meltdown was, we can say with confidence Smith's hapless troops aren't this pathetic and the Atlanta Falcons aren't an NFL juggernaut.
Make no mistake, though. Smith's roster has inherent flaws that will require overhauls rather than patches.
There is an obvious lack of team speed.
The offensive line failed to open holes in the running game and surrendered the Falcons' first two sacks of the season.
It's time for Smith and his coaching staff to go back to the drawing board with their season circling the drain in mid-September.
- Outside of special teams, Smith never found a way to fully exploit Devin Hester's unique playmaking ability in Chicago. On a night when Hester broke the career return touchdown record and had a pair of long returns nullified by penalty, Smith saw first-hand what Hester can bring to an offense with creative scheming and play-calling. Two weeks after nearly setting a career-high in receiving yards, Hester added a 25-yard reception and his the first rushing touchdown of his nine-year career.
- Matt Ryan set a franchise record with an 87.5 completion rate and a 155.9 passer rating. This comes two weeks after setting a franchise record with 448 passing yards. He's incredible on his home field, especially when he's given time to throw. It certainly helped that left tackle Jake Matthews returned after missing the Week 2 loss at Cincinnati.
- The Bucs have managed just seven points on 17 first-half possessions this season. Even if McCown hadn't injured his thumb, the coaching staff would have at least discussed turning to Glennon for Week 4 at Pittsburgh.
- It's hard to find a less impressive performance by a running back than the one turned in by Bobby Rainey. Martin's backup dropped a perfectly thrown third-down pass on the opening series and lost two fumbles. Martin shouldn't have to worry about playing time once his knee cooperates.
- Steven Jackson's workload won't be reduced any time soon. Third and fourth stringers Antone Smith and Davonta Freeman each lost a fumble. Big-play specialist Smith did add yet another long touchdown in garbage time, though, scoring from 38 yards out to bring the score to 56-0 late in the third quarter.