The Falcons Defensive Line Is Stepping Up In 2011

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 18: Mike Kafka #3 of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on September 18, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

You can forgive Jay Cutler and Michael Vick for singing a little Queen and David Bowie. They have been under pressure, after all.

Groan-worthy opening aside, the Falcons are delivering on the defensive line's considerable promise. Thus far, the Falcons have piled up five sacks in two games and have successfully applied pressure throughout. That's due to the defensive line.

Gone are the days where John Abraham carried the pass rush by himself, with occasional contributions from Jonathan Babineaux and Kroy Biermann. For the first time in recent memory, every starter on the line and most of the reserves are delivering. 

Here's a small sampling:

Abraham: 2 sacks
Biermann: 1 sack, 1 interception for a TD
Ray Edwards: 1 fumble recovery
Peria Jerry: 1 monster hit and forced fumble against Michael Vick
Lawrence Sidbury: 1 sack

Keep in mind that guys like Jonathan Babineaux and Vance Walker have definitely contributed when on the field, too. 

What's behind this surge? Mostly just talent. The Falcons are bringing a ton of heat thanks to a quality group of players up front, and Brian Van Gorder is showing some ability to give them assignments that allow them to rush. Even if Abe is still dropping back into coverage from time to time.

Of course, it would be a little unfair to not mention that the Eagles and Bears both have largely putrid offensive lines, too. That has to be a factor, but I'm a big believer in the group that the Falcons have put together. 

They'll now get a chance to smash John Freeman and LaGarette Blount into the ground on Sunday. If the last two games are any indication, they should be plenty successful.

Do you think the line will keep it up throughout 2011?

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