Green Bay was certainly as advertised. Aaron Rodgers gave the defense fits and the fans coronaries. Still, we won. I'm not sure exactly what this win says about the Falcons beside we have a tenacity and will to win that is just simply greater than our opponents, especially when in the hallowed echo chamber we call the Georgia Dome.
The "Heart Attack Birds" some of you are calling the 2010 Atlanta Falcons. It's a good point. Let's take a quick peek at our score versus our opponents: 267 - 209, making a point differential of +58. Now, that is slightly skewed by our blasting of Arizona. Take away our points scored in our only "running away with it" win, and you get a still-less-than-worrying-figure: +17. That's two TDs and a field goal's worth of difference between our offense and our opponents' defense. Heart attack-inducing they may be (of the 9 wins, five have been by six points or less), the Falcons are not letting our opponents have the last laugh. And, in the end, isn't that all that matters? We're making the plays that we have to when we have to. That's the mark of a great team, isn't it?
Still, a little scoreboard padding never hurts...
- Matt Ryan was as masterful as ever and hit a staggering near-90% completion rate. Sure, sub-200 yards isn't going to turn heads, but he's making the throws he has to, when he has to, and he isn't making incompletions left and right. Take into account that during most drives, he's half-orchestrating the plays called, and you have one hell of a quarter back. You know it. I know it. The world knows it. It's a beautiful thing.
- Ball control: the Falcons are leading the NFL in 10+ play drives this season. That also means that the Falcons are winning the time of possession battle, which in turn means that our offense is essentially keeping the other team from scoring. When you have an offense that consistently converts third and fourth downs, eating up clock with 5, 6, and 7 minute drives, it's both offensive and defensive. Imagine a defense having to plan to go against our O. They'll have to spend even more time conditioning because, as Nick Saban so lovingly likes to say, our offense is making our opponents' defenses' butts quit.
- No turn overs in 4 straight games. If you don't let your enemy have the ball, they can't score. Mistake free football, ladies and gentlemen. How many times have you seen that from the Falcons before now? Feels good, man.
- Gonzalez' hands are money, 'nough said.
- Matt Bryant's leg is money, 'nough said.
- Eric Weems knows how to put exclamation points on returns. Sadly, I think he's the new Harry Douglas. Ok, not so sadly, but still. Special Weems continues to earn his nickname.
- Turner is better with the box stacked than without. That's kinda scary...for opposing defenses.
- Our OL is phenomenal, and outside of the occasional Sam Baker brain fart, Ryan's sacks are mostly coverage sacks.
- Balance: this team can win through so many players, so many ways. Get Matty Ice off rhythm? We'll just send Turner and Snelling your way. Stuff the run? Over-the-top with Ryan to White/Gonzo/Jenkins!
- The defense, simply for keeping a team averaging 20-30 points a game to under 20. Great job.
- The Falcons are still letting teams back into the game. If we ever play a complete game against a great team, we'll make them look very mediocre.
- A zone defense without a QB spy will not work once Tebow, Newton, and other mobile QBs start lining up against our D. Hopefully Freeman didn't watch the game.
- With all this success, and the Falcons seeming to feed off of negative or dismissive press, here's hoping Jason LaCornholio and others like him continue to be dunderheads.