This isn't even their final form.
The first half was a full blown disaster. I thought for sure we were dead in the water as Brandon Weeden, of all people, was shredding us like cheese through a grater. It looked like "same ol' Falcons", giving us just enough hope to believe before crashing down in a fire that could only be described as "Georgia Sports". But a funny thing happened during that game: a fiery Dan Quinn on the sidelines and a rousing halftime speech by Matt Ryan actually rallied the team, and they came out of halftime thirsty for blood. It's a start contrast to years past, where the team could have easily given up. The Falcons may not be a top tier team, but if this team gains some momentum headed into the playoffs, watch out.
The Atlanta Falcons have their fight back.
After only three games, it is obvious the Falcons got their mean streak back. After a terrible half of football against the Cowboys, they fought back and completely dominated Dallas on offense and defense. Dan Quinn has quickly gotten the team to fight for wins, and the Falcons look completely capable of competing with any team in the league.
The new coaching staff has elevated certain players.
Devonta Freeman is the obvious candidate, when it comes to players that have been elevated under the new coaching staff. Two other players come to mind that haven't received enough credence. In two years as a starting fullback, it was rare to see Patrick DiMarco make a key block to spring a substantial running gain.
Then again, substantial running gains occurred once every four games for the Falcons between 2012-2014. DiMarco has been sensational through pushing linebackers back at the point of attack. He has easily been the most improved player so far this season. Paul Soliai has shown signs of life through making a few key defensive stops in the run game. Even in a situational role, it's important for Atlanta to justify paying Soliai to such a massive contract. He probably won't ever live up to it, but at least the former Dolphin has been a solid contributor this season.
This team's will to win is evident every single week.
Where most teams would just accept defeat, the Atlanta Falcons did not. Down by 14 at three separate points in the game, the 2015 Falcons fought back and won on the road with an absolutely dominant second half. This team is resilient, and they're buying into Dan Quinn and his staff. Not only that, but they are believing in themselves as well. The offensive line is playing spectacular and the defense is nothing to joke about. There's been a culture change in Atlanta, folks, and it's going to win a bunch of games this year.
But seriously: The Falcons are resilient.
With another comeback win over the Cowboys, the Falcons made history as the only team ever to pull out wins after trailing in the fourth quarter in the first three games. We've been conditioned to feel games are over if they play out how they did in the first half. Atlanta couldn't stop the run and Brandon Weeden dinked and dunked them to death. They were down two scores at three different points in the first half: 14-0, 21-7, then 28-14. But something changed in that second half, and Atlanta clamped down on Dallas and had their own offensive explosion. Most importantly, the team didn't abandon the run game, and that decision paid off.
This team has bought into Dan Quinn's philosophies and approach and reaping great results.
When you look at the first three games of the season, one thing is clear -- the Falcons would not have won any of these games in 2013 or 2014. There's a whole new level of competitiveness and a drive to win that we haven't seen of late. The coaching staff also doesn't panic. They didn't abandon the run even when trailing by a couple of scores. They didn't make sweeping, dramatic adjustments after an abysmal first half defensive performance; rather, they got the defense to play disciplined football in the second half. And this team has yet to put together four quarters of quality football. I can't wait to see what that looks like.
The Falcons know what they're doing, finally.
During the waning games of the Mike Smith era, the players often looked lost and useless, Mike Nolan's defensive reputation was quickly obliterated for all-time, and the entire team just looked rudderless. It doesn't really matter whose fault that is, but it's true: This was a bad football team without a direction. This year, the team still farts around and makes plenty of mistakes, but they have the talent, acumen, and the plan they need to climb back in and win games. Maybe this kind of play isn't sustainable, but it sure is beautiful chaos in the here and now.