I am having trouble explaining this. I can barely believe it. Except I have seen the Atlanta Falcons dominate game after game against opponents no one gave Atlanta a chance at beating. They shellacked the Super Bowl loser at home, and the next week mopped up the Super Bowl winner on the road.
The numbers are incredible. The Falcons haven't been favored in the last four weeks. They went to the west coast to beat the Raiders. No one thought they would score than the 45 they put up on their second away game in a row. The Falcons were going to come down to earth as soon as they played an elite defense. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones scored on the Carolina Panthers like it was Madden, so clearly the Panthers just don't have the defense anymore. Atlanta had to go to Denver the next week against the Super Bowl champs. The number one defense in the league.
It didn't matter. The normal Falcons killers didn't matter. Great defenses. Deep passing offenses. Mobile quarterbacks. Multiple road games back to back. Atlanta won them all. I'm ready to call the Falcons legit because this is a different team from last year. This is a better team than last year. They should be a shoe-in for the division title and have the type of team that can win playoff games.
How did this happen? For the first time in over a decade the team has a plan. We can see the pieces come together and improvements on the field. The young players are showing up: Tevin Coleman, Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, Austin Hooper, and Keanu Neal, among others, look like great players. 2016 looks like the team's best draft class since 2008, and I can't wait to see how they look later in the season.
The offense looks deep enough that no team has been able to slow them down. If last year's problem was a lack of options, Kyle Shanahan has fixed that. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are easily the best running back duo in the league, Jacob Tamme is a nice booked to Hooper, and Julio... well, Julio is always there. Even though Mohamed Sanu was
overpaid expensive, cheap additions like Taylor Gabriel and Aldrick Robinson provide pass catching depth Atlanta has not had in a long time. Even undrafted guys like Brian Poole have been making an impact.
I can't point at one single improvement the Falcons have made because they have made multiple improvements at so many different places. This team reminds me of 2012. The team is no longer so one-dimensional that they can be shut down by better teams. One week the run game is unstoppable. Then we see Julio have a record day. The next week Atlanta's defense steps up and harasses the opposing quarterback.
It is finally enough. The coaches have a plan. The additions are paying off. The Falcons are finally for real. And it finally feels so good to watch them every Sunday.