Osi Umenyiora calls Falcons’ Week 17 performance ‘ridiculous’

It’s cliche, but in this case, it’s an understatement: The Atlanta Falcons did not show up to their Week 17 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

With the disastrous NFC South on the line – and, with it, a playoff berth and first-round home playoff game – the Falcons were demolished by the Panthers, 34-3. Atlanta turned the ball over three times in the season-ending defeat, totaled just 63 yards rushing, and quarterback Matt Ryan finished the game with a passer rating of 58.8.

Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Falcons pass rusher Osi Umenyiora reflected on the defeat, the culmination of a disappointing 6-10 season.

“For what happened [Sunday], my disappointment level is on another level,” Umenyiora said. “Because for everything that was on the line, for everything that people had to play for – we’re talking about peoples’ lives here, you understand? People were playing for their lives, for their coaches’ lives, and for the team to say they support this man and support this coach, and then to go out there and perform like that, was, quite frankly, ridiculous.”

Umenyiora conceded that head coach Mike Smith, who was fired after the game, had to play some sort of role in the defeat – “the players just did not respond to what he was preaching, and it showed yesterday in our lackluster performance,” Umenyiora said – but he insisted that it was the players who shoulder most of the blame.

“Ultimately, the players are responsible for what they got out there and put on the line,” Umenyiora said. “This is our job. We have to go out there and perform no matter what. No matter who the coach is, this is how we put food on our families’ tables.”

The loss truly resonated a day later for the 11-year veteran. When asked about his NFL future, Umenyiora brought up the loss, saying, “This past game just left a really bad taste in my mouth.” Umenyiora was noncommittal about the future of his career, though he did say he feels he can still play.

Should Umenyiora return, though, it seems like it won’t be with the Falcons. While he didn’t outright say a third season with Atlanta was out of the question, he was critical of the organization’s approach to the 2014 season.

“A lot of the players are just not being used the right way,” Umenyiora said. “I think, schematically, the coaches were trying to fit their scheme, but they didn’t have the players to run the correct scheme.”

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