There's no I in team...but there is in Julio.
I don't think it's any stretch of the imagination to say that Julio Jones, in his current state, is the best receiver in the league. It's also clear that this team's offensive success will ride on his back, as Roddy disappeared, and Hankerson and Freeman had a couple of terrible drops each this week. This sentiment was unfathomable a few years ago, but Julio Jones - and not Matt Ryan - could be the worst person to lose on this offense.
This team is winning with one quality half per game.
The Falcons are now 2-0, and it's not an exaggeration to say they've only played 4-5 good quarters the entire way. That might be a testament to luck, skill, tenacity or all three, but even if it's worth wondering if the Falcons can keep winning like this, it's equally worth wondering what will happen if they put together four quarters of quality play. The fact that the Falcons beat the Giants with Tevin Coleman and Paul Worrilow missing large chunks of the game is even more encouraging.
It's been bumpy, but this team is winning games thanks to a defense that has stepped up with Quinn and his staff.
Quinn inherited an aimless, yet very talented football club. The Falcons were a simplified scheme and a few key pickups away from being where they are now. Add a team that has been built to win with offense with a revitalized defense that plays aggressive, smart football, and you are going to win a lot of games.
The Falcons are resilient.
It's something we heard a lot from Mike Smith but rarely saw. With these Dan Quinn-led Falcons, they've actually shown some semblance of resilience in the first two games. Atlanta had its share of comeback wins under Smith, but I'm not positive this team wins the type of game they won against the New York Giants with him at the helm.
Dan Quinn emphasizes finishing on the field, and this team has certainly done that in the first two games.
Finishing strong is something Quinn and his staff constantly emphasize, and the team has certainly done it in the first two games of the season. The Falcons still are pretty shaky in the third quarter, much to fans' chagrin, and there is plenty of room for improvement on both sides of the ball. However, at least through these first two weeks, they've been able to overcome it and pull off wins. That's a huge improvement.
The Falcons are going to the Super Bowl.
Atlanta clearly is the best team ever.
This is an inconsistent team, but an improving one.
This Falcons team now stands at 2-0 having arguably played 4 good quarters of football in those two games. While some see this is discouraging, it's to be expected. For a team that has a new head coach, new defensive scheme, new offensive scheme and new players on both sides of the ball - it's a minor miracle that those inconsistencies haven't shown up more. When you look at the areas of concern, though, there are clear signs of improvement. Andy Levitre improved dramatically over last week, as did the entire OL overall. The pass rush continued to show improvement, as did the defense as a whole. The inconsistencies are frustrating, but given the amount of turnover on this roster, it's amazing there haven't been more. Once you look past those, though, it's easy to see that this team is improving week over week - and considering that this team is already 2-0, that's a very encouraging sign.
The most impressive change is the improved coaching staff.
If you subscribe to the belief that a team with a good coach and quarterback can win any game, the Falcons should be winning a lot this year. While the old regime seemed to be getting in the way of the team more often than not, Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan have been working to elevate the play of the team. The win over the Giants helped show that this staff can get wins against other good teams, and I expect that to carry over against the Cowboys.
Dan Quinn's defense is slowly developing into a resilient unit.
Over the past two seasons, offenses have clearly had their way with Atlanta's below-average defense. One of the biggest factors towards Mike Smith's demise was failing to hold fourth quarter leads. The ability to stop any offense on fourth down became unattainable. Multiple last-minute losses to Miami and New York in 2013 were eye-opening defeats. Ryan Tannehill and Geno Smith led their respective offenses' down the field without much resistance. Atlanta's shortcomings continued through embarrassing losses to Detroit and Cleveland last season. Both teams didn't even need all three timeouts to complete sixty yard game-winning drives. Matthew Stafford and Brian Hoyer faced no pressure inside the pocket.
Atlanta was somewhat fortunate that Sam Bradford overthrew Jordan Matthews, which led to Ricardo Allen's game clinching interception. Through Sunday's victory, they truly forced Eli Manning into difficult throws and earned a fourth down stop. Adrian Clayborn and O'Brien Schofield hit Eli Manning on consecutive plays to force incompletions. Vic Beasley was constantly hovering around the edge, which led to Manning instantly forcing a rushed pass. The pass rush hasn't been quite consistent yet. In the end, they showed up in the second half and played a pivotal role in Atlanta's comeback victory.