While it's been fun to see the Falcons overcome fourth quarter deficits over the first few games, fans have wanted to see the team put together a complete game. Well, even though the starters only played for three quarters, I'm not sure that you could ask for a more complete performance from this team. It was as dominant a performance as we've seen, and it was the culmination of many of the positive signs we've seen over the first three games. Here are some key takeaways from the dominant performance.
This offense is scary
Over the last two games, this Falcons offense has put up 74 points, and that's only over 7 quarters. They've racked up 7 rushing touchdowns, 3 passing touchdowns and have established a running game that is dynamic and - at times - mind blowing. This performance has also come against two relatively good defensive fronts, behind an offensive line with three new starters on the interior.
While much of the talk around this team has been about Julio's amazing start to the season, the team showed today that if you make it a goal to shut him down, they'll punish you in other ways. Jones only netted 4 receptions for 39 yards, but watched as teammate Leonard Hankerson pulled in 6 passes for 103 yards and 1TD and Devonta Freeman put up 149 combined yards for 3 TDs.
All of this comes as the Falcons ran the ball 34 times and passed it 27 times. The pre-season mantra of establishing the running game was not just lip-service, and it is truly making the Falcons offense unpredictable.
This offense is looking dominant and for the last 7 quarters has been nearly impossible to stop. Defensive coordinators are going to lose a lot of sleep trying to figure out ways to shut this offense down.
The defense is improved and still improving
For all of the talk about our offense, it should not be overlooked that our defensive starters did not allow a score since the first half of the Cowboys game. While the Texans won't be confused for an offensive juggernaut, the reality is that the Falcons did a good job of making terrible offenses look good last year. Today, they made a terrible offense look terrible - and that is a definite improvement over where we've been the past several years.
Given that this defense features many new starters, and is running a different defensive scheme, early bumps in the road were to be expected. What is clear, though, is that this is already an improved defense. It's still too early to figure out where they rank, but it's clear that they are improving with each week. If they can continue on this trend, this could be a top-15 defense with the potential to be more. All of this in the first year. It's a highly encouraging start and all signs are currently pointing up.
This is definitely a "new" team
It's been said over and over, but this is a point that bears repeating: this is a new team under new coach Dan Quinn. Up and down the roster, this is a team that is playing with tremendous confidence. When they're on the field, they are an attacking team - both on offense and defense. Under the previous regime, the Falcons rarely scored over 30 points in a game. Under Quinn, we've done it twice in 4 games. A defense that looked lost and timid last year is flying to the ball and playing at full speed. I can't say it enough: this is a new team, and one that has bought fully into the philosophy of the new head coach. The pay off has been amazing to see.
What are your takeaways from the game with the Texans?