Let that soak in for a minute. Say it, let it roll around pleasantly in your head like the marble you put in your ear when you were four years old. Exult in the Falcons this day.
Today, we are all Falcoholics.
With that in mind, join me after the jump for all things 22-20, er, Falcons. Having a hard time getting a handle on my enthusiasm, here.
- Matt Ryan can't really be as "aw shucks" and "I'm still a kid" as he seems to be, can he? A man with so much confidence that he probably should be called "Matty Balls" instead of "Matty Ice" can't possibly be that down to earth, right?
And with a game like that, do we even care?
Simply put, Ryan was a force of nature this game. He shredded the Bears, he found Roddy, Jenkins and Harry Douglas whenever he looked for them and did it all with mannerisms suggesting he was playing a game of pinochle with Mr. Garver down the street. You all know what he did out there, so I'll simply say this: if Ryan turns out to be something great, this is the game I'll be talking to my grandkids about before they shut me up with some pudding.
- Speaking of astonishing feats, Roddy White ate up the injury-depleted Bears secondary. He's becoming an absurdly consistent option for Ryan, and his frightening combination of speed and ups means he's rarely outclassed by an opposing corner. It's gotten to the point where I honestly expect him to catch 7 passes, get 100 yards and come up with a TD. Dude is scary.
- Harry Douglas and Mike Jenkins did great things today, as well. Jenkins had a couple of fantastic catches, especially on the one with mere seconds left that he had the sense to get out of bounds on. While Elam and Ryan get the bulk of the credit, Jenkins came up with that ball. Absolutely huge.
Meanwhile, Douglas answered the question of why he hadn't been utilized in the passing game with a hearty "who the *@#$ knows?" He's still small and thin, but the kid can burn turf and should be a big part of this offense going forward.
- I thought Jason Elam blew the game for us when he failed to convert on what amounted to a chip shot, but clearly you can't ever count the guy out. Drilling five field goals and accounting for about 75% of our points, Elam also made the most of his chance for redemption (if you can call it that after what he's done for us) and hti the game winning field goal with only a second left. I favor signging younger players, but Elam has been a critical part of this team and is another notch on the belt of Thomas Dimitroff.
- Give Jamaal Anderson props for getting the first sack of his career, a feat that gets King Kong off his back. You'll note that he picked up four tackles in all and got a hand on a couple passes near the line of scrimmage, making this by far his biggest game ever. With any luck, his confidence will pop and he won't be invisible on the state sheet any longer.
- The entire defense gets props for not letting Matt Forte run wild. Forte is deadly when he's allowed to build up a head of steam, and the D showed a willingness to bend but not break. He still had a pretty good game, but had he broken 100 yards we might have very well been in trouble.
- I hate to do this given the strength of the Bears' defense, but Michael Turner was pretty well stymied today. He was moderately effective when he needed to be, but if Ryan hadn't shown up today we would've been in trouble without him. Good defenses can still shut down out running game, and that's a concern going forward.
- I know Kyle Orton has improved, but no guy whose nickname is Neckbeard should be able to have that kind of game against us. The secondary needs help of some sort, and if it's the pass rush improving quickly, so be it.
- Rarely have I had the opportunity to experience the rush of elation followed by heart-dropping disappointment followed by chair-kicking joy, and I haven't been able to calm down all night. Collectively, we Falcons fans packed more emotions into two minutes than some people pack into their years.
Can't be good for our hearts.
Game MVP: I was really torn on whether to give this to Ryan or Elam, but in the end I think Ryan deserves his first selection for moving this team up, down, backwards and forward around the field. If you picked Elam, I wouldn't complain.
Game Theme Song: For irony's sake, let's go with this.
One Thing To Take Away: We are--at least for now--ridiculously awesome.
Next Week: The fearsome beast that is the Bye Week.
Final Word: This team continues to surprise, and I don't dare put a ceiling on them anymore. They could pilot a zeppelin into Philadelphia in two weeks and it wouldn't even faze me.