Like Jeanna, I believe being a Falcons fan is taking years off of my life, except I'm 23 and it's shaving too many years too quickly.
In any case, I posed the question "Will the real Falcons show up?" a few days ago and, by and large, I believe the real Falcons did show up: a gritty, tough performance by the defense and a grind-it-out, never-give-up offensive performance that did exactly what it needed to do to win against a tough Lions team that has surprised a lot of folks this year.
I likened this year's Lions to 2008 us. We surprised a lot of people that year, but we were still beaten by some good teams. I still consider the Lions to be like 2008 us: a surprisingly good team that will still be put in its place by a contender. That's right, folks, I said contender.
Join me after the jump for the specifics!
So glad we were able to win this week, it makes my school week so much better.
There was a lot of good this week.
Anybody but Baker: Pretty sure James said something of that nature and posed the question of "We'll see if people still think this after the game." And, well, I think more people think it, now. Svitek played admirably in Baker's absence and, save for that freak ankle injury, was largely invisible. As a LT, you can't ask for much else.
Tony Gonzalez: So happy he's on our team. The GOAT TE continues to defy age and is now #2 all-time in number of receptions. And on top of that, he's a great guy. It's a real honor to have a guy like him on our team.
The Defense: What a good effort by the D in this game. Calvin Johnson is a freak, and I'll be darned if Grimes (and Dunta, at times as well) didn't hold him in check. CJ's TD was somewhat of a weird play, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and I attribute that to blown coverage. Pretty sure any WR in that position would've scored. It just happened to be their best guy, as it should be. Kudos to them for pulling it off.
The third down defense was astounding. I forget the actual numbers, but we held them to a ridiculously low percentage on third down. Abe was in on the fun, as was Spoon, and Ray Edwards was in the backfield a bunch as well. Just a great all-around effort by the whole defense, but special mention goes to...
Corey Peters: Big 1-tech tackles never get enough credit, but for the second week in a row, you made a game changing play. That fingernail of yours saved us from possibly losing the game, and you deserve props. You also had some good defensive stops as well. Hard to believe we drafted you and most of us fans didn't know much of anything about you. That's looking like a heck of a pick by the front office, as is Spoon.
$$$ Bryant: This guy is the man. He's now the Falcons record holder for most consecutive field goals made in the regular season, if I recall the stat correctly. Also really glad we resigned him in the offseason.
Special Weems: He had a return for a TD that was called back by a penalty, but I'm glad to see he's still got the super returns we all know and love.
I'm sure there's more love to go around. Turner had a couple good runs, Matty looked good at times, including that gorgeous TD pass to Roddy, which was equally as good a catch. Credit to BVG for the defensive gameplan. Detroit scored one TD, folks. One.
Matty's Not-Good Passes: I'll be the first to say that some of his overthrows were good throws. He put the ball in a position to where it was our ball or nobody's ball. It takes a skilled quarterback to do that consistently. However, for every pass that was like that, there was also an errant one. Matty didn't have his best game, and the D bailed him out several times. But when it counted, Matty made it happen, including another solid no huddle performance.
Garrett Reynolds: For the love of Pete, RGGR, you had some really fail moments in this game. Several penalties, including consecutive false starts, are not acceptable.
Stupid Penalties: We had several stupid penalties in this game, a lot of which were more because of a lack of discipline. Need to fix those.
I'm sure there was more, but we played pretty well, so I'm easy on the bad, except for....
Bosher's Punting: Yuck. Just yuck.
Game MVP: It's Matty Ice, without a doubt. The way his ankle was turned, I thought for sure it was broken, but dang if this dude isn't like "Tape it up, I have a game to win." and misses all of two offensive plays. Two! And then fires a strike to HD which went for 40+ yards. How ridiculous is that?
Sound of the Game: Victory.
In a Word: Close.