The Falcons did everything they could to lose this one, with all the penalties and mistakes and blown opportunities that added up before the stirring finish. The fact that they still rallied to win late is incredibly impressive, a testament to the team’s improved resilience, and maybe a little bit lucky. Now sitting at 5-3, in firm control of the NFC South, and with a chance to widen the lead and make a statement against the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football, I’m feeling good.
Well, I said the Falcons had to win this game, and they certainly played like they had to win it (both in the good AND bad category). No doubt “experts” will try to discount the win in terms of the Packers not being at full strength, but it’s not like their replacements made mistakes that cost them the game. Matt Ryan was darn near perfect, and the team needed him to be perfect in order to win. I think this win finally cements the Falcons as a for-sure above average team, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before I’ll call them playoff contenders again.
Wins count, no matter how you get them. Many people felt this should be an “easy” win, but those are hard to come by, especially when you’re playing a QB like Aaron Rodgers. The pass rush looked improved against a very good offensive line, and the Falcons offense looked good other than some miscues here and there. If the defense can channel more of their second half selves (8 points surrendered) in the coming weeks, they could surprise some teams. As it is, I’ll take the win - no matter what it may have looked like.
The Falcons desperately wanted to lose this game, but they didn’t and that’s all that matters right now. A 5-3 record looks a hell of a lot better than 4-4.
Man, Matt Ryan is incredible. It’s kind of a shame he has played with such a poor defense for most of his career. This game seemed like one the Falcons were going to lose in dramatic fashion but it didn’t happen, somehow. Despite the fact that the Falcons tried to lose the game in a plethora of ways, they walk away as winners against one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. It feels like the defense is capable of playing winning football (see DW’s note above), but they’ve got to be more consistent if Atlanta is going anywhere of any significance.
Well, this one certainly gave you a heart attack, but the Falcons ended up pulling out the win. Matt Ryan is playing better than he ever has, and that bomb to Taylor Gabriel was one of the best throws I’ve seen from him. Still, there are big problems with this team: namely, the defense. If Dan Quinn can’t get that unit playing better, this team has no postseason prospects. Still, a win's a win, and the Falcons are now 5-3 and in control of their destiny. They have an opportunity to seize control of the division on Thursday Night Football against the Bucs. I’d love to see them do just that.
The script for the season remains intact. The young defense should continue to improve throughout the season as they gain experience. The remaining divisional games are still critical, and the major concern for this roster is still depth. This week will be a major test as the Falcons have to face a division rival - and one that already holds a win over them - on short preparation. Fortunately more rest is on the way though, as Atlanta then has ten days before the Eagles and a bye afterwards.
I’m starting to think the Falcons have it. Maybe not enough of it to make a serious push all the way to the Super Bowl, but they have finally shown a glimpse of what it takes to be successful in the NFL. The players have bought into Dan Quinn and the team is on a path to improvement. It wasn’t just the win against the Green Bay Packers because we’ve seen some great things out of the Falcons this season. The comeback win was just one of the best signs the team has what it takes.
The Falcons weren’t very aggressive during the 2015 offseason. Dan Quinn decided to sign players for depth purposes or being a stopgap starter. Many of their signings from last season are no longer on the team or underachieved. Adrian Clayborn and Andy Levitre are the exceptions. The ferocious defensive lineman has been outstanding for the past month. His ability to create pressure on the interior, yet still be useful on the edge gives Quinn different options. Levitre is playing at a high level as well. Besides Alex Mack, the former Pro Bowler has been their best-run blocker. The Falcons have great success on the ground, when they use Levitre on pull blocks. Although the 2015 additions were largely forgettable, both players are playing crucial roles to the team’s success.