The Falcons picked up their second win of the season with a 34-29 victory over a division foe, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here is what was learned.
A massive sigh of relief was heard over the crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
As the train horn blared that signaled the completion of the game, the Atlanta Falcons soaked in a moment that they have not encountered since Week 2 of the season. A three-week stretch with losses to the Saints, Bengals, and Steelers left a bland taste in the mouth of everyone on the team, staff, and fan base.
Of course the injuries that the team has stumbled across this season is enough to make you cry. During this rendezvous against Tampa Bay, the team saw their excellent rookie receiver, their star kicker, and their hard-working No. 2 receiver all go down with injuries. It’s almost becoming the norm, which in it’s own right, is gut-wrenching.
The one constant this season has been the play of quarterback Matt Ryan. In each of his last five games, Ryan has completed at least 74% of his passes and has eclipsed well over 300 yards in three of his last four games. In a season that is comparable to his MVP season, it has somewhat taken a backseat to what has been damaging season so far.
The contest against Tampa Bay started off in somewhat of a discouraging fashion with the Buccaneers driving 75 yards in eight plays to take a 6-0 lead on a Cameron Brate touchdown reception. On the mind of many was “different week, same script” as the Falcons found themselves in a hole early with a defense that is obviously having significant trouble trying to find their footing. Whether this unit grows or not is arguably the biggest question the team is facing at this point because with how things are going with Ryan, Julio, Ridley, Sanu and company, the dangerous offense could use a little assistance at the current juncture.
Growth is what is coveted from this defensive unit of the Falcons and in short sprints, they showed it. From the middle of the first quarter until the top half of the third quarter, the Buccaneers offense was held scoreless on four drives, including a couple of the drives ending in interceptions. Again, growth is needed from this group and they provided that in small samples.
So we learned that this Falcons team is still willing to fight a little bit. With the schedule in front of them, the Falcons can slowly turn things around at least record-wise. Playing a part in that is the health of the team going forward. With the way things have gone so far this season, who really knows.