DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks to throw a fourth quarter pass in front of Ray Edwards #93 of the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Atlanta won the game 23-16. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Falcons started off the season with what could be described as an explosion of pass rushing. They had four sacks against a porous Chicago Bears offensive line in the first week, which they followed up by....not doing much. Let's be frank.
The three weeks after that, the Falcons got no sacks. They barely got any pressure. It's not a total coincidence in my mind that Atlanta managed to go just 1-2 over that stretch. But they've gotten nine sacks in the three weeks since then, and that could be the start of something beautiful.
Why the struggles earlier in the season? Ray Edwards was still recovering from injury, Jonathan Babineaux got hurt, and angry gods of luck decided they didn't like the Falcons for some reason. That's a workable explanation, and the first two have been resolved as Edwards gets going, John Abraham continues to be amazing and even Sean Weatherspoon gets involved.
The good news? In terms of sacks allowed, the Falcons get the chance to face the teams who are ranked 17th, 22nd (twice!), 25th and 26th. They aren't so lucky in the remaining four games, with Indianapolis doing a pretty good job protecting mobile Curtis Painter. Still, I'm confident.
These Falcons have an arsenal they didn't have in years past. They have Abe, Edwards, Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury at defensive end. They have Babineaux, Corey Peters and Peria Jerry up the middle. And now they have 'Spoon assisting a few steps back. It hasn't resulted in elite sack numbers or pressure yet, but the potential is there.
Feeling good about the pass rush? Join the discussion.