Sports and music share many common denominators. Flow, pacing, tempo, mood — you see it on the football field and hear it when you pop in your headphones. For this season we’re trying something a bit different, putting together a quarter-by-quarter playlist for each and every game. One that attempts to capture what we saw on the field — a sonic memento, if you will. At season’s end all of these songs will be compiled into a Spotify playlist available for download. Let’s hope for a great year, otherwise this whole thing is going to be a massive downer.
A bit of a disclaimer: I have to restrain myself from time to time from going on profanity-laden tirades on The Falcoholic, as SB Nation’s standards prevent me from doing so. These artists aren’t constrained by those same tethers, so keep that in mind before throwing this on in the car with the kiddos or stodgy in-laws.
Pregame: Big Boi - Shutterbugg
What better way to herald in the home opener than with Sir Lucious Left Foot himself? Coming off a week that belongs more in a garbage can than our memories, the cameras were out in force at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, capturing the Falcons’ first win of the season. It really was risky business in the A, as we prepared for how the defense would respond after the injuries to Keanu Neal and Deion Jones. The unit made plays when it needed to, but the overriding story is the offense that moved down the field for the majority of this one. 31-24, good guys. Here’s Week 2 of The Falcoholic Mixtape.
First Quarter: Phoebe Bridgers - Motion Sickness
The first quarter had the bile slowly rising in my belly. Deion Jones’ absence was felt heavily on the Panther’s opening drive, as they marched down the field with ease and went right at Atlanta’s linebackers. The defense buckled down and Carolina came away with only three, but it was an ominous start for a defense lacking both of its pivotal cogs in Jones and Neal.
As was the case in the opener against the Eagles, the Falcons offense was in sync on their first possession only to encounter the scoring issues that have been the prevailing story line since last season. Ever-reliable Matt Bryant splits the uprights after a bizarre 3rd-and-1 wildcat play that saw Mohamed Sanu stuffed behind the line of scrimmage.
Emotional motion sickness is right. 3-3 score to end the quarter.
Second Quarter: The Struts - Could Have Been Me
The chorus of this one defines the second quarter. “Pride and shame” — Damontae Kazee’s late hit on Cam Newton as he was fully into a slide was egregious, to put it lightly. Kazee’s aggressive play is what gave us confidence in light of Keanu Neal’s injury, but he’s going to have to control it if he hopes to be a productive player on this defense.
But pride? Yeah — this offense completely kicked into gear in the second quarter. The Falcons went 2/2 in the red zone, including Calvin Ridley’s first career NFL touchdown.
Kazee’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Cam Newton — and the subsequent ejection he deservedly received — was an extremely sour spot in the second quarter, but Steve Sarkian dialed up some creative plays, and Matt Ryan put the offense on his back to get Atlanta into the end zone twice.
17-10 heading into the half.
Third Quarter: Gatsby’s American Dream - Meet Me At The Tavern In Bowerstone
Save for a Matt Ryan interception as he was hit while releasing the football, this quarter flew by. It was capped by Ryan channeling his inner Michael Vick and scrambling for his second rushing touchdown of the day. The offense was moving at a rapid-fire pace, I desired celebratory strong drink, and this song is 28 seconds long.
24-17 Falcons into the fourth.
Fourth Quarter: The Bronx - Heart Attack American
A feel-good fourth turned quickly frenetic, as this game got much closer than it should have been after Ricardo Allen seemingly sealed it with an interception. I have high blood pressure as it is and was not prepared for the Panthers to be in a position to knot it up with :05 on the game clock. Thankfully D.J. Moore dropped the would-be game-tying touchdown, and the Falcons secured the win.
Deep breaths, everybody.
Final: 31-24 Falcons.
Post-game: Cartel - Luckie St.
Are there worthwhile bars near Centennial Olympic Park? Either way, a celebration is definitely in order. The Falcons’ offense looked damn good, the defense did enough when it had to, and Atlanta comes away with a win at home against the Carolina Panthers. It’s 90 degrees outside, but roll the windows down and savor this one.