It's all about the playoffs, but you have to get there first.
The Buccaneers are a good, improving team. We played them at their house and came away with a victory. And while the victory itself was more satisfying than the one over Arizona, it's important to keep the proper perspective on what happened during the game.
Let's start with the positives out of the game. First, on offense, Matt Ryan had a very strong day (minus his one interception) and threw for over 300 yards for the fourth straight game. He had little trouble in the pocket and was able to move the ball down the field all afternoon. Additionally, Julio looks to be bouncing back from his injuries and had another big game, while JaQuizz made his strongest case yet for even more snaps. It was a solid outing from the offense for the most part.
And while our defense gave up yards in some big chunks, they did a fairly nice job of limiting damage once in the red zone, forcing some key 3rd down stops late in the game. They also did a great job of limiting Doug Martin - arguably one of the hottest running backs in football.
And while I won't argue with a 10-1 record, or a tough road win, there are a few things to keep an eye on. First, will Matt Bryant bounce back from his rough stretch, or is there a larger concern here? Second, will we continue to see the "forced" running game that sets our offense up in 2nd and 3rd and long situations? Finally, will our secondary heal up enough heading into a tough stretch of games, and more importantly - for the post-season?
We're in the home stretch and it's hard to argue with a 10-1 record, but there are still some items that could cause concern. It's not time to freak out just yet, and another loss or two will not be the end of all that's good in the world - but this is also a time where the Falcons can setup home field advantage and establish some positive momentum. I'd hate to see a fantastic start fall apart when it matters most.
What are your thoughts - is it time to be concerned, or is there enough time to get all issues resolved prior to the post-season?