There's nothing quite like gameday in Atlanta. Two hour waits in local eateries, the smell of burning charcoal and slow cooking barbeque, the ever-repeated sounds of horns honking, the shrill shriek of police whistles, the ever-present hollers of "selling tickets?" and "Game shirts, only five dollahs," the sea of red and black and white clad people all migrating to one central location, and the anticipation of something amazing. It just can't be beat.
Though I got home at two am with a long commute to work to come five hours later, as hoarse as a H1N1 sufferer, I enjoyed the company of some upstanding gentlemen. The familiar iRonin and Ignoramous (all the way from the UK) joined me for the pregame festivities in Falcons Landing. Ignoramous was with two fellow Britons, who, though perhaps not as interested in American Football as their plucky cohort, were enthusiastic and excited to an acceptable degree. To curb my insatiable appetite for authentic British marmalade, Ignoramous was kind enough to bring me some snazzy and very posh Harvey Nichols marm jars chocked full of noms. Nothing says goodness like an ingredient list with just four things in it, none of them concocted in a chemistry lab. Cheers! Not to be outdone by British generosity, iRonin brought his heckling A-Game, handily talking down a rude, self-entitled Bears fan and making the entire section, though full of Bears fans poaching season tix, one of the loudest.
That's one of the largest lowlights of this game (there were a few...): Falcons fan attendance. To the right of me: Bears fans. Behind? Bears fans. Below? You guessed it. I realize not everyone can go to a Sunday night game, especially with the work week beginning for most on Monday, but if the nice peanut sharing lady that sits next to me can make it, I'm sure many of the season ticket scalpers can do so as well. I'm smart enough to realize that some are cashing in on the Falcons' success, getting a high ROI for their seats, but people, the 12th man in the Dome Sunday night made Cutler have to take a timeout multiple times. We did it to Miami and Carolina too. Let's try to get some more Falcons jerseys in the Dome, please? On certain downs, the Bears fans were louder than we were and frankly, that's embarrassing.
- Brian Williams goes down, but at least he goes down fighting. That end zone pass, if made, could have been troublesome to our W/L record. Grimes is now in Williams' spot according to newly released depth chart. Let's see who out of Hill and Jackson can make the best impression on our esteemed coaching staff this week.
- The OL is superb, absolutely amazing. No sacks in four games straight. Let's keep that trend going.
- Ryan still continues to over-throw and under-throw his receivers. It seems to come when he's especially rattled or when we have the lead.
- Turner is still struggling, but I'll give him this: Chicago keyed on him Sunday night. They were always crowding the box when we came out in the I or Power formation. Thankfully, Mularkey began adding those familiar shifts that hint at pass and bring off some LB pressure. Had he not, Turner's 5yd TD run would not have happened.
- Thomas DeCoud's two INTs were clutch. All that time he's spent studying QBs, film, and fundamentals has paid off quickly. Just think, he can only get better from here.
- Norwood is showing vulnerability in his advancing age. A hip pointer a week after returning from a concussion. Hopefully, the pointer will be a very light one and he'll be back ASAP. He was looking very good before he went down.
- Our "bend, don't break" D is clutch and, to an extent, lucky enough to keep opposing points off the board. Three times, with our backs against the goal posts, we stood firm and forced crucial Chicago mistakes that led to 0 CHI points on those three separate occasions. Clap them and BVG on the back. Still, it'd be nice to have a good three-and-out every once and a while.
- How about Eric Weems on the returns? That man wants a spot on this team so bad he's willing to break tackles and gain at least twenty yards every time he's got the ball to prove it. I foresee Weems making an even bigger impact as the season wears on.
- This team has habit of finding what it needs when a part falls off. I fully expect someone to step up and into the limelight at Cornerback. Mike Smith and company are a scrappy, make-do bunch and don't for one minute think that this season is now lost because one cog in a very complex and large machine has been lost.