Whatever happened with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday felt really good.
It felt so good because of who the opponent was, but it also felt so good because of what we’d seen in the many weeks prior.
Whatever team that showed up Sunday was, by and large, just a completely different outfit from morose group we’d had to suffer through post-Eagles win.
The Falcons looked like a busted light bulb that suddenly shined again, and it gloriously glowed at the best possible time against the Saints.
So here’s the big question: Can this last?
Unfortunately, we can’t know that based on a single week. The defense has new voices with more responsibility in Raheem Morris and Jeff Ulbrich leading the charge in the gameday play calling, and the offense seemed to have a real plan for the first time in a little while, even if it still didn’t look like the best one.
Now, because it’s 2019, the offense is now without Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper for the next two weeks. The Hooper loss hurts in particular, considering how vital he has been all year, especially in the red zone. It’s like this team can’t win for losing this year.
But again, Sunday felt good. It showed a team that had its act together and could play with one of the league’s better outfits, and that’s just not something you see often with 1-7 teams.
If this is how the Falcons are going to look from here on out, Dan Quinn may save his job, or at least put guys on his staff in a position to save theirs. If this is only a flash in the pan, it’s yet another reminder of what this team can do when it’s actually playing well, which will not work out in his favor.
It’s a great thing regardless that the team embarrassed the Saints, and you don’t take that for granted whenever it happens. But one thing none of us considered was the possibility that the Falcons might figure things out in an aggressive way after such uninspired play and coaching.
What if this is the new norm? It feels more than a little unlikely, but that’s what we said about the Falcons winning against the Saints this past game, much less holding them to no touchdowns and sacking them many times.
So right now, it’s a mystery. Sunday’s game against the Panthers will tell us if there’s a new Falcons team in town, or if we just got one bright moment in the midst of a lousy year.