They accomplished that feat with one of their most dominant performances of the season. It was a performance that could only be truly enjoyed by fans in Atlanta, because it turned what many expected to be a game of historical proportions into one that was over by halftime.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you punch a ticket to the Big Game.
Atlanta’s offense continued to prove it belongs among the greatest in history. The Falcons punted only twice in the game and scored on seven of their nine possessions, including six touchdowns.
Matt Ryan led the way with 392 passing yards and five total touchdowns in a performance that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. There was another player whose afternoon might have been even better, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
The defense continued its improvement with its best outing to date. Against the red-hot Aaron Rodgers, the Falcons pitched a first-half shutout.
Atlanta’s speed was evident from the beginning. The pass rush was effective and Rodgers was hit seven times during the game, including a couple of kill shots from Brian Poole. This is a unit that has improved with each passing week, but they are already good enough to help Atlanta win a Super Bowl.
One reason to celebrate
Quintorris Lopez Jones: After a historic performance, it’s been determined that neither toes nor opposing cornerbacks can slow down Julio Jones.
When asked about Julio’s status earlier last week, Dan Quinn told reporters that his star receiver would be “ready to rock” on Sunday. I think a more appropriate response might have been, “Julio will be ready to transcend our mortal plane and earn his place among the heroes of myth while leaving a smoldering pile of defensive backs in his wake.”
The All-Pro receiver caught nine passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first player in NFL history to surpass 150 yards in multiple conference championship games.
While the numbers themselves are impressive, how he recorded them was downright badass.
Anyone have the number for missing persons? I want to file a report for Ladarius Gunter. Last seen trying to cover Julio Jones. pic.twitter.com/imSvfNpzyA— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 22, 2017
It was the type of game that deserves to be remembered in the annals of NFL history, and it occurred at the perfect time for the Falcons.
Atlanta has proven that it doesn’t need Julio to succeed on offense, but when he operates at a level that very few receivers have ever been capable of reaching, it’s almost unfair.
New England hasn’t faced a receiver of Julio’s caliber in the Super Bowl before, and it will be interesting to see how the Patriots try to handle him.
One reason to worry
The Falcons are going to the Super Bowl!!