I’ve been accused of being too optimistic many times in the past, but for once, I was too pessimistic. I didn’t honestly believe the Falcons would or could go into Denver and win this game, much less destroy the Broncos along the way. Happily, I was wrong, and at 4-1 and playing out of their minds, this Falcons team feels like they’re playoff bound barring any major injuries or collapses. I’m ready to embrace good Falcons football again.
The Falcons have once again played better than I expected. They have slowly climbed the mountain that is their first 6 games and, despite a stumble at the very bottom, they now approach the summit (@Seattle) having answered the bell at every single stop along the way. I wouldn’t put the Falcons in the highest tier of teams just yet, but suddenly they look like they are a threat to any team anywhere, and that’s a damn good feeling.
I’m not one to say “I told you so,” but, yeah. This team looks very different from the crew last year. Ryan is confident and poised. Freeman and Coleman are explosive and multi-talented. Our offensive line looks incredible. Add onto that a break-through performance by Vic Beasley and the rest of the defensive line and you have a game that could be the “catalyst” for the rest of the season. Make no bones about it: this was an impressive win.
Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Woooooo woooooooooooo woooo! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!! Wooooooooooo wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
When I heard Deion Jones was going to miss the game, I felt that Atlanta would have a very tough time against Denver. But the defense stepped up in a huge way, with Ishmael, Reynolds, and Wheeler filling in admirably. That is depth, and it’s something the Falcons have lacked for years. Meanwhile, the pass rush exploded against a weak offensive line, and Vic Beasley looks like the guy we drafted in the top-10. This team is legit, it is OK to say that. Many of you may still be skeptical because of last seasons 5-0 start, but the Falcons didn’t play one team in that stretch that was as good as Denver, Carolina, or Oakland. Buckle up, this could be a special season.
After being out-coached by Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith, the pressure was intensifying for Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan. They’ve responded by being aggressive and exploiting the opposing team’s flaws. Besides the fourth quarter of last week’s win over Carolina, the defense has played outstanding over the past two weeks. Inserting Kemal Ishmael as a weak-side linebacker proved to be a great decision. Utilizing Dwight Freeney and Adrian Clayborn on the same side is starting to generate a steady pass rush. Shanahan’s success has been well documented over the past month. Quinn and Richard Smith deserve more credence for the improved performances.
After the Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I thought this team could start the season 0-6. Now I can’t wait until Matt Ryan and the Falcons are hoisting that Lombardi. On an unrelated note: I’m in full control of my reactions.
I predicted a win for the Falcons but it a wasn’t very confident pick. This win really showed the power of the Falcons offense: it doesn’t matter what a defense takes away because they have so many weapons and are so versatile. The real story was the defense, though. If they continue to play that way and get a turnover or two, this team could be really scary. More than anything else, this team is fun to watch on offense and looks like it is hitting its stride defensively. Next week will be another tough test, but this team hasn’t shown any signs that they can’t handle it.
Dan Quinn’s decision to go for it on fourth down during Atlanta’s first drive is one of my favorite decisions in this franchise’s history. In a game like that, the Falcons knew they needed to take the fight to the Broncos and it worked out beautifully. The team never looked outmatched and never looked rattled. That was the type of performance that validates a coach’s message to his team and builds confidence for the future.