The Falcons can never make wins easy. By any means.
That statement cascaded through my brain as I witnessed the Atlanta Falcons celebrate as a result of Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh missing a game-tying 52-yard field goal with two seconds remaining. A game in which the Falcons got out to a very early 14-0 lead seven minutes into the Monday night contest against Seattle. Which had many thinking blissfully.
From this point in the season, every game remaining on the Falcons schedule has a playoff-esque cloud hanging over. A 4-4 start to the season will do that.
So after handing the Dallas Cowboys a shiny 27-7 defeat in week 10, the Falcons entered the Monday night matchup against Seattle with the mentality that everything was on the line. Hanging in the balance was the sixth seed in the current NFC playoff picture but for the Falcons themselves, it may have felt a little more personal than that with a confidence-building win as an end result as well.
As usual, all eyes were on the offense and how they attacked a Seattle defense without two All-Pros in strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Richard Sherman, both out for the season with injuries. The statistical output was not enough to excite the masses (279 total yards) but what we all saw was a Falcons offensive unit that made plenty of plays to place the Falcons in winning position.
Much was asked of the defense to place a vice grip on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson for four quarters which is more of a mission and not a simple task. There is a reason why Wilson is such a respected quarterback around the NFL. The man either has magic dust in his socks or he is simply that amazing of a quarterback. Either way, he is difficult to game plan against and that was quite evident on this night. In their favor, the defense totaled three sacks and two critical turnovers that resulted in 14 points. That young nucleus of defenders are turning a vital corner in development and it showed.
Overlooked in this contest between the two teams was the fact that the offense, which has received most of the team's questions about the rugged start to the season, committed no turnover and only allowed one sack. Which so happened to come with two minutes remaining in the game. The past two games for the Falcons have not been the greatest showings by that side of the ball. When you account for the fact that Devonta Freeman has been sidelined with a concussion, it is still impressive that the group posted 54 points in two games.
Beating Seattle feels different. Beating Seattle in Seattle feels even more different. Beating Seattle in Seattle in the midst of a possible turnaround point in the season feels noteworthy. Maybe these Falcons are growing at the right time. Wins such as this will do just that.