As the Falcons yawn, stretch, and awaken to a week with actual Atlanta football, it’s worth asking how they might fare against the Miami Dolphins. To determine that, it’s helpful to look at the opponent, and heck, it can’t hurt to look back at how they’ve done coming out of the bye in previous years. Let’s see how they looked in 2016 and 2015, Dan Quinn’s first two years in Atlanta.
A year ago, the Falcons beat the stuffing out of the Arizona Cardinals following their bye week, with a 38-19 victory keyed by three rushing touchdowns, a long receiving touchdown for both Tevin Coleman and Taylor Gabriel, and a game effort by an improving defense. The Falcons were beaten a week later by Kansas City, which sparked a whole host of hand-wringing, but turned out to be a pivotal moment in a season that ended in a Super Bowl run.
In 2015, Dan Quinn’s first year, the Falcons dropped one to the Indianapolis Colts coming out of the bye, part of the notable slide that wrecked a very promising start to the season. The final score was 24-21 Colts, in a game marred by three Matt Ryan interceptions (including a pick six) and noteworthy for being a loss not to Andrew Luck but Matt Hasselbeck, who commuted in from the local elder care center for the game. It was one ugly loss in a sea of them, unfortunately.
So how about 2017? The Falcons’ teams of 2015 and 2016 didn’t have any major injury issues that were resolved by the bye, unlike this team, and they were playing vaguely decent teams on paper. I think it’s fair to say this team should be able to make it 2-1 after the bye under Dan Quinn, considering team health, opponent, and the possibility that Jay Cutler throws multiple pick sixes for the fun of it.