This team is already barreling toward the playoffs.
If you wanted the Falcons to play four quarters of 100% football, it looks like you'll have to wait for another week. The Falcons were so dominant against a middling Texans team, they only needed three quarters to put forth four quarters of effort. It's as Bill Belichick said, you're never as good as you think. We should temper our expectations going forward, but it's clear this team has the capability to be the toast of the NFC. We just need to continue to build on the foundation Dan Quinn and the coaching staff have created, and that will provide every Falcons fan with what we all want: relevance in January.
Desmond Trufant verifies his shutdown ability
Most people already know about Trufant's capabilities as a true number one corner. His two excellent seasons of dealing with a non-existent pass rush and constantly being around the ball has garnered well-deserved praise. Not many quarterbacks have tested him this season, as they have targeted either Robert Alford or thrown towards the middle of the field. Ryan Mallet decided to take his chances like a true incoherent gunslinger.
On eight attempts, Trufant allowed a measly three catches and contributed with two pass breakups. It was a surprising game-plan from a below-average offense searching for a spark. Utilizing DeAndre Hopkins against a top-tier cornerback isn't an efficient way to generate any semblance of a passing attack. That being said, Trufant was able to prove his worth against a true rising star wide receiver.
The Falcons don't need Julio Jones to dominate in order to win.
And that's a good thing. Jones had just four receptions for 38 yards. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Falcons had built a 42-0 lead and the starters were pulled. The leading receiver on the day was Leonard Hankerson, who caught six passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. It's nice to see the Falcons aren't a one-man show on offense.
Atlanta has now shown that they can completely dismantle a lesser opponent.
Going into last Sunday's game against the Texans, many of us were unsure about where Atlanta actually stood in terms of league talent. The first three weeks had the Falcons winning nail-biters in the fourth quarter and one major come from behind victory. Dan Quinn and company unleashed the beast against Houston, and that's exactly the kind of thing good teams do. Watch out Green Bay, Carolina, and Arizona.
These Falcons have no respect. Good.
The Falcons didn't pull their starters out of respect for the Texans. They pulled them because they didn't want to risk any injuries to key players, and because they were pretty damn sure they weren't going to lose that game even with yours truly flailing around at corner. One of the biggest complains of the previous error of Falcons football was the tendency to try to cling tight to a small lead by milking the clock and going conservative, but as the Texans games showed, that's not going to be the modus operandi here. About time, right?
Dan Quinn does not play down to his opponents.
There were a number of skeptical fans leading into Sunday's game. After so many years of disappointment, I can understand expecting the shoe to finally drop. After walloping the Texans, I do not think that shoe is going to drop. The Texans were a team the Falcons were supposed to beat up, and they did exactly that. Quinn did not stoop down to the level of his opponent. He stepped on their throat and kept the pedal to the floor, even with most of the starters long benched.
If the Falcons can stay away from playing conservative ball, play tough against the good teams, and manhandle the bad ones, they should have no problem making it into the playoffs.
This team is beginning to put it all together consistently
Through the first few games, the Falcons have managed to mix in moments of dominance with moments of folly. That was to be expected as both sides of the ball had changes in scheme along with changes in personnel. What was important was that the team begin to put the positive traits out there more consistently - which is exactly what happened against the Texans. The offense has been firing on all cylinders for the past 7 quarters of football, while the starting defense has pitched a shutout since the second half of the previous game. It's exactly the kind of performance you want to see from a team that is improving, and if the trend continues, this is a team that can make noise into December and January.