Friends, I am feeling something peculiar right about now. It’s a feeling I haven’t truly felt since early in the 2017 season, and before that...well, let’s not talk too much about that game, but suffice to say it didn’t end well. I believe it’s called...confidence?
The Atlanta Falcons have done this to me again by playing one of their better football games of the year in the playoffs. They beat the Rams thanks to timely turnovers, decent enough offense, and borderline dominant defense, quietly packing one of the NFC’s best offenses and sending them home until September. They did all this on the road without their starting left guard, and there’s that feeling again.
That’s why we’re seeing articles like this one from The Ringer’s Robert Mays, lauding a Falcons team that has re-invented itself on the fly and calling them one of the most dangerous teams left yet again. When you think about—and I have, a lot—the fact that the Falcons went from a promising but middling defense a year ago to the unit they are today is sort of breathtaking, and it’s done a lot to make up for the fact that the offense looks like someone’s crayon drawing of the 2016 version. Even on Saturday, the Falcons had a small handful of the familiar dumb plays that threatened to define this season, and they still won by 13 points. They really are dangerous.
Dan Quinn said Monday he believes the Falcons are playing their best ball at the right time, and it’s tough to argue against that. If they can continue to do so, maybe this weird confidence I’m feeling will wind up being justified, after all.