As you know, the Atlanta Falcons were 2-6 heading into the week nine bye. They'd lost five games straight, capped off with a disappointing, Mike Smith-fueled loss to the Lions in funky Londontown. To say that the fan base's frustration was high would be an understatement akin to saying that Dave is a casual drinker. But then came the bye week, . Kudos to the Atlanta Falcons for the relevant quote.
“I think when we went into the break in the bye week we talked about having a recommitment to one another and to all of us knowing that we haven’t played as consistent as we needed to, and I think we’ve done that in the second half of the season. We’ve really played more consistent football, and I think when you play consistent and you have success it helps in your confidence level. We know where we’re at [...]”
The Falcons, as you know, are 4-3 since their bye week. Of course that includes a couple of close losses against good teams. No matter your criticism of the team, head coach, players, etc., it's hard to argue that the Falcons haven't improved in the second half.
Smitty's comments beg an understandable question: what took so long? In other words, if they have it now, why didn't they have it earlier? The problem is there's no completely quantifiable answer. Call it injuries, coaching, or a lack of execution - something wasn't right.
While wins and losses matter, Smitty does have a point. Most NFL teams are lame ducks at this point in the season. The Falcons have an opportunity to win their division and get a playoff home game. Sure, it hasn't been pretty, but that's where they stand.