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The Falcons looked like the best version of themselves against Washington

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I don’t know if they can keep this up, but it’s a note of hope in what previously looked like a lost season.

Atlanta Falcons v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons never stop believing in themselves. That’s trite as hell, but it’s true, and Dan Quinn kept trying to tell us that this team would not fold and would not quit. They refused to sell at the deadline and they’ve largely resisted calls to bring in outside help, outside of low-grade signings like Bruce Carter and Sharrod Neasman. It’s just one highly encouraging week, but it appears there might have been something to that all along.

Consider what the Falcons did today. They beat up at 5-2 Washington team on the road that was clearly vulnerable, but had played an awful lot of close games. They ran for over 100 yards against a Washington defense that had only allowed two such games all season, in a year where Atlanta had managed just one of those games. And while we all know this Washington offense isn’t great, they still held them to just 14 points, their lowest points allowed total of the entire year, and despite some stumbling stretches never let off the gas.

The result was a 38-14 win, their most dominant of the 2018 season, and a game that defied everything we had seen thus far from the Atlanta Falcons this year. They did it without going out and signing any new starters at any position except strong safety, where former Falcons UDFA and street free agent Sharrod Neasman took over the job just a couple of weeks ago. The likes of Ben Garland, Foye Oluokun, and Neasman have stepped up, the defensive line had gelled, and the offense is so absolutely loaded with playmakers and surprisingly game on the offensive line that they managed to make a good Washington defense look bad.

It was stunning and surreal while I was watching it—and obviously extremely enjoyable—but it also made me think that this Falcons team might be better than the sum of its parts after all. With time and a breather to get things right, Atlanta’s set themselves up at .500 in a jumbled NFC South and can certainly win quite a few more games if they can play at that level going forward. It’s just one game, but it was a game that openly defied all the many limitations of this Falcons team through seven games, and Deion Jones is on his way back. It’s impossible for any fan not to think about what might be coming next.

Do you think the Falcons can keep it up? Sound off.