The 2014 season was largely forgettable for the Atlanta Falcons as they finished with a 6-10 record, but there were some impressive moments.
Let's rank the top five performances.
1. Julio Jones' monster effort in Week 14
Jones tried his best to carry the Falcons to victory over the Green Bay Packers on a cold night at Lambeau Field. The stud receiver posted 259 receiving yards — a franchise record and career-high — on 11 receptions. He also hauled in a 22-yard touchdown. The 259 yards the highest any wide receiver posted in a single game for the entire 2014 season.
What's particularly impressive about Jones performance is he didn't finish the game as a hip injury forced him out in the fourth quarter. Who knows what kind of numbers he would have posted had he stayed in.
2. Julio Jones' dismantling of Patrick Peterson in Week 13
Jones set a career-high in receiving yards just a week before setting the bar even higher in Green Bay. Against theArizona Cardinals in Week 13, Jones caught 10 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. He dominated Cardinals' cornerback Patrick Peterson, who said he wanted to match up against Jones one-on-one. Peterson got his wish, and Jones showed out.
3. The defense taking over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 16
In what was essentially a playoff game, the Falcons defense came up huge in the Week 16 matchup against theNew Orleans Saints.
A unit that had just 16 sacks going into the game finished with five as they swarmed Drew Brees all game. The defense also intercepted Brees twice and recovered two fumbles — the second of which Osi Umenyiora scooped up, waved goodbye and ran 86 yards for a touchdown as time expired.
The win knocked the Saints out of playoff contention and gave the Falcons their first sweep over their most hated division rival since 2005.
4. Devin Hester's record-breaking night in Week 3
The Falcons dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, but the night belonged to Hester who set a new NFL record with his 20th return touchdown.
It was the perfrect stage for Hester to break the record: in the Georgia Dome, on Thursday Night Football, in front of his mentor and previous record holder, Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
Hester also contributed offensively with a 20-yard rushing score — the first of his career — and a forced fumble and recovery.
5. Matt Ryan's career showing in Week 1
Ryan had a perfect start to the season, leading the Falcons to an opening week victory over the Saints and setting a new franchise record for passing yards in a game (448) in the process. Ryan was surgical, completing 31 of 43 passes and tossing three touchdowns with no turnovers. He also showed off his evasiveness, eluding defenders in the pocket with ease.
What are your top five performances?