Here’s a fun fact for you: The Atlanta Falcons have the same number of wins (3) while playing on or near the West Coast as they do at the Georgia Dome this season.
Now, whether that fact is “fun” or “sad” is up for discussion. What isn’t up for discussion, however, is the level of dominance Atlanta displayed in Los Angeles.
Without their top two wide receivers, the Falcons’ offense scored 28 points. That’s impressive. What’s even more impressive, is that Atlanta’s defense added 14 more points to that total.
It was the type of complete performance we’ve been waiting to see from this team all season long, and it came at just the right time. Hopefully, this is the start of a nice winning streak that will carry the Falcons into the postseason.
Here’s another fun fact: There have been 17 games in which a team has scored 40 points or more this season. The Falcons have four such games this season, the most in the NFL. Only 15 teams in the entire history of the league have scored more points through 13 games than this Atlanta team.
But enough about the offense, let’s celebrate something and someone else.
One reason to celebrate
Vic Beasley and the defense: With only one sack through the first four games this season, many began to worry that Beasley might end up as yet another miss on the defensive side of the ball for Atlanta. Since those four games, the second-year defensive end has notched 12.5 sacks and is tied with Von Miller for the most in the NFL.
After his slow start, Beasley has recorded a sack in all but three games and has four multi-sack games. To put that into context, Atlanta’s entire defense only had four multi-sack games during the 2014 season and six last year.
Beasley’s emergence has coincided with the improvement of this young defense. There are still mental mistakes being made, but the athleticism was apparent on Sunday. Since the team’s bye week, Atlanta’s defense has allowed an average of 15.3 points per game.
There were several good performances in Los Angeles. Deion Jones’ pick-six was a thing of beauty, Robert Alford had a couple of nice breakups that didn’t end with a flag on the field(!) and Keanu Neal led the team with eight tackles.
Many have held the belief that the Falcons’ young defense would come together sooner or later, but it might be gelling at just the right time. If this unit can become merely average by the time the playoffs start, Atlanta will look much more dangerous.
One reason to worry
Injuries: Some people might again point to the fact that the Falcons gave up 14 points in the fourth quarter, but that’s bound to happen with a 42-point lead and many of the starters on the sideline.
Injuries are still of greater concern. Although the offense fared well without Julio and Mohamed Sanu, the downfield passing attack didn’t seem as prevalent as it had for much of the season. A horizontal, screen-based passing game might work against the Rams but probably won’t against most teams.
There isn’t much to say about the impact injuries can have, everyone is well aware that they can derail a season. After Sunday’s performance, though, there weren’t many negatives to discuss. This seemed like something to touch upon once again.
If you guys have any reasons to worry, and I know many of you do, feel free to comment below.