I feel like we spent all week pumping the brakes on fans freaking out after an uneven win on the road. Luckily, we won’t have to be doing that this week. The team had a few injuries, but replacements played well enough for a statement win to prove there is no Super Bowl hangover. Dan Quinn’s team culture very real, and it is apparent when we see a similar, if not improved, Atlanta Falcons take the field against the always problematic Green Bay Packers. The team still needs to make some improvements, but they were fun to watch and are now 2-0.
Remember when I told you not to panic about Week 1? Sunday’s game gave us yet more proof that Week 1 is often a mirage with strange and ultimately unimportant results. The Falcons offense returned to its 2016 form for most of the night, and the defense looked very stout for most of the evening against a very dangerous Packers offense. Yes, the Packers were missing their starting tackles, but that doesn’t negate the very good performance of the defense. Atlanta doesn’t seem to be suffering from any “hangover”, and they’re now 2-0 with a pretty solid chance of entering the Week 5 bye 4-0. Hopefully none of the injuries the Falcons sustained in this game are long-term, but the depth is there to weather the storm in the meantime.
We all wanted to see how this Atlanta team would play once they had a large lead and a team started a comeback, and what we saw last night was a clear indicator that the Falcons are ready to move on. The Falcons were able to run the clock down to the point that a Packers comeback was basically impossible, and that was when every fan in the stadium started to hold their breath a little bit waiting to see if this was really about to happen again. It didn’t happen again and the Falcons looked like a really solid, if not great, team last night. Sark called a fantastic game and the defense, for the most part, looked really good as well. Injuries are a concern but let’s hope none of them is anything too serious. This season should be a lot of fun, especially since this team seems to be just getting started.
Let’s put this endless Super Bowl hangover talk to bed, please. I’m looking at Cris Collinsworth, specifically, here.
I got to see fans freaking out in real time on Twitter Sunday night as the Falcons frittered away a huge lead, which became...well, still a double digit lead. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t feel more than a momentary pang of worry throughout the entire second half, and I hope everyone can get there after the Falcons continue to reel off quality wins. This team is the real deal, still, and their dominance over some of the NFC’s elite teams of late has been nothing short of a true delight.
While the team’s new mantra, “All Gas, No Brakes” is a fitting one for what this team desperately needs, I’m going to pump the brakes a little on this win. I’m not sure that first pick play was illegal (granted, I hate that play with a passion) and, yes, the scoop n’ score did go forward, albeit about 6 inches. Collinsworth was absolutely correct in that if it had been ruled an incomplete pass, it would’ve stayed that way as well. Those two things alone are dramatic swings in points that both swung in our favor, and remember, we ended up not winning by 30, but by 11.
Yes, we did our usual race out to an early lead and yes, we did much better at managing the clock, but I’m not going to parade around too loudly about winning. We beat a playoff team at home, and that’s great, but I wouldn’t say we dominated them by any stretch. The game could have very easily swung the other way if the refs hadn’t been on our side for those two calls. They did well at managing the clock for themselves, and once again several bonehead defensive issues allowed the Packers to linger just enough. A positive: the defense harassed Rodgers quite a bit on the night, but there’s still work to be done on that end.
The Falcons are good and they are very fun to watch. Let’s all just try to enjoy this team.
Falcons won. Learn what qualifies as a pick play before saying the refs were “on our side” in the game. Puh leeze.
So… guess I’m gonna be watching the nationally broadcast games on mute. Which is fine, because I prefer Wes & Dave if I can sync the audio up. I get a mention. I get multiple mentions. I don’t necessarily understand A FOURTH QUARTER SUPER BOWL DRIVE CHART DURING A WEEK 2 GAME.
And that’s the kind of vibe I’m stuck in right now - even as the fan base and (probably) the team and franchise have found a way to put one foot in front of another, there’s no way to stop the outside world from contextualizing every, single, damn, thing the Falcons do with the Super Bowl.
I was never worried about losing the game after the Trufant fumble return. At all. Even with one of the best QBs in history ripping up the soft zones we gave them. Maybe it’s because of the field goal drive in the third quarter that’s almost certainly a TD without the sack on Ryan. Maybe it’s because of the 4-plus minute drive to punt in the fourth. We didn’t score, but the offense ate up clock in a manner that makes me really warm up to Sark.
But you know what? To hell with responding to the outside world’s response to Atlanta. Sunday night was two weeks in a row in which the bend-bend-bend-almost-break defense created a massive, game-changing play by getting to the quarterback. The Rodgers lateral/fumble was a product of pass rush. So was Reed’s game ending sack last week. And now we’re 2-0 after a road opener and a huge home opponent. To hell with everyone else.
The Falcons are good and I told you the Packers didn’t stand a chance.
A lot of the Falcons questions from week one were answered during their 34-23 win over Green Bay. The red-zone issues were taken care of in the first half with three touchdowns. The defense not just rattled Rodgers enough by providing pressure but they made two game-altering turnovers that led to 14 points. The injury bug was annoying as usual and the team will have to dig into their depth early in the season but beating Green Bay for the third time less than a year made a clear case that the Falcons are a contender in the NFC, whether many rather discuss the ending to 2016 or not.