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The Falcons have two photo finishes in three games thus far in 2017

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Atlanta’s going to have to round into form to avoid more close games like this, but it’s not all luck.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know if you, personally, believe in luck. I don’t know if you believe everything is cosmically ordained or if everything just sort of happens according to the entirely chance movings of subatomic particles. Either way, that Falcons win was lucky.

I say this as a rational, cool-headed Falcons blogger that truly believes in this football team, which I projected to go 11-5 before the season. I say this knowing that the Lions were a bit lucky that the Falcons managed to bobble two Matt Ryan passes that turned into Detroit interceptions. I say that knowing full well that every team gets a lucky win or two (well, not the Jets), no matter how shaky they might be. But even so, if I had told you before this game that...

  • Atlanta would be on the road;
  • Matt Ryan would throw three interceptions;
  • The Falcons would allow the Lions to get get inside their 10 yard line with less than 30 seconds to go in the football game, down just four points.... would have expected a Falcons loss. The same way you would have expected a Falcons loss in the fourth quarter of the Bears game. And given that the Falcons didn’t just get a reversed call with Golden Tate down at the 1 (which was legitimate), but a runoff that ended the football game, you can make an awfully convincing argument that they should have been 2-1 after this. I know that our friends at Pride of Detroit will feel that way, and I really can’t blame them.

But I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Atlanta just won a game in which they turned the ball over three times. I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that they scored 30 points, once again managed to clamp down when circumstances were dire at the very end of a game, and that the defense allowed under 20 points yet again, this time against a perfectly capable offense. The outcome was fueled by luck, sure, but the Falcons played a very solid game that was only close because of turnovers. That merits a long look in the mirror, as I noted at the end of this game when I thought the Falcons might lose, but not a ton of hand-wringing.

My point is simply this: The Falcons are 3-0 thanks in no small part to fortune, but that’s not atypical. What is atypical is the way they’ve hung on in road games thanks to defense, and while they need to play better to knock off some of the NFL’s best when they’re not in the cozy confines of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, that’s a hopeful note for the future.