When the chips were down and the gumption supply was running low, the Falcons came out with a bag of Lay's and a keg full of gumption and dagnabbit, they did something about it. They went uphill on that 14 point lead both ways, braving feral Sean Taylors and running Ladell Betts and came out with their first win in over a month, which was worth three wins in my day, but we didn't complain, because we didn't have many wins and we made do with what we had.
Or, to put it simply, it's about time.
Vick came out wearing his mediocre shoes for much of the day, finishing up 8/16 for 122 yards and 2 TDs. But when it really mattered, he made a couple of eye-popping tosses to Jenkins and Crumpler. The pass to Jenkins in particular was about as nice a pass as I've ever seen Vick throw. Of course, these would've been wasted if the two hadn't held on to the ball, which they did. I targeted Jenkins when I first started blogging here, but it's time to acknowledge that he's putting together a pretty nice year, especially compared to the other receivers. Speaking of other receivers...the Falcons apparently decided by secret ballot to keep the ball away from Roddy White, which proved to be a commendable decision. The Falcons also got a lot of mileage from their ground game, with Dunn pounding out 87 yards on 21 carries and Norwood posted 107 on 9 carries with a TD. It's unusual to think of Dunn as the power back/ workhorse in some ways, but Norwood's doing so well in his limited carries that I'm happy with the arrangement. 24 points was good enough today, and I can't help but think that the blue collar numbers the team posted would result in a win or a close game any week. Something to cheer about, at least.
The defense was excellent past the first quarter, when they looked as though they'd blow the game. To be fair, the D let the 'Skins chew up the field like Pac-Man at various points throughout the game, but they kept them out of the endzone, and that's what matters. Boley didn't provide the big play spark I thought he would, but Chauncey Davis certainly did. After nabbing a wobbly Campbell pass, Davis rumbled (the only word to use for linemen, apparently) 41 yards the other way and had me leaping out my chair in delight. Chris Crocker also has a nice nab which he returned about 28 yards. The Falcons' bend but don't break approach worked very well against the Redskins, which means they should employ it the best they can against the Bucs, too. I don't care for so called empty yardage if it doesn't end up costing us points.
With Tampa Bay coming up next week, it's time to get excited and hope this team can start putting it together in time for their final slate of tougher games, which includes the Cowboys and Panthers. I"m not ready to give up on this team just yet.
Game MVP: Jerious Norwood.
Game Theme Song: What a Wonderful World- Louie Armstrong
One Thing to Take Away: We can actually win games, but I'm not letting the coaching staff off the hook until we win some more.
Next Week: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose season is essentially over at this point. They'll be looking to trip us up, though, so they're still a dangerous team.
Final Word: The Falcons finally cobbled together a well played game and came out with a victory. At 6-6, this team is still on the outside fringe of the wildcard and can make it if they can build off this win and play high quality football for the rest of the month.