It was a good time, but did it mean anything? Our staff roundtable weighs in.
Fun in 2019, important in 2020
In last year’s lost season, the Falcons elected over and over again not to give playing time to young players who needed it. Isaiah Oliver came into 2019 with a small number of snaps to his name and didn’t look ready for the limelight in the first half of the season, struggling in coverage throughout.
Next year, the Falcons should mostly avoid the same fate, regardless of who is at the tiller. Oliver and Kendall Sheffield played extremely well against the 49ers and have been getting a ton of valuable experience this season, allowing them to step into 2020 with more confidence and the kind of play that should endear them to the next coaching staff. Russell Gage, Christian Blake, and Olamide Zaccheaus are getting invaluable snaps that could help them be part of the next receiving corps, and Kaleb McGary and Chris Lindstrom already look pretty damn good.
While this was another incredibly enjoyable win, I’m not sure it changes much for the decisions ahead this year. It does give me more confidence for 2020, and that’s something I very badly wanted. - Dave Choate
I don’t know what to feel any longer
Things were so much less confusing before the game: The Falcons were bad, Dan Quinn was going to get fired, and the Falcons would get blown out by the 49ers. Is any of that happening now? The team went on the road against the top-seeded NFC team and won, and it was pretty fun to watch. There is still a good chance the Falcons get embarrassed again this season, but this team may not be as bad as they were early this season. - Matt Chambers
Falcons landed a nice jab
The 49ers were supposed to wipe the floor with the Falcons. But in actuality, this was the perfect trap game. Did I expect the Falcons to win? No. But I did foresee a four quarter contest that the Niners were going to have to squeeze out a victory. This was very impressive given the circumstances of not having much of a run game, a pass rush, or a reliable #2 receiver. This was the classic Matt Ryan/Julio Jones moment when only those two were able to deliver a victory. Yes, this was an ugly season but this was a damn good win that is worth gushing over for a bit. - Eric Robinson
An exciting victory in a lost season
The Falcons managed to pull off one of the more enjoyable upsets in recent memory in their close, tense victory against the 49ers. I’ve heard a lot of buzz that this game “saved Dan Quinn’s job”, or similar. While it’s an impressive win, are we really going to give Quinn a pass on the season because of a feel-good win? Remember that the win doesn’t help Atlanta at all, because they were all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs before the bye. While all that remains to be seen, we should enjoy a truly special Sunday: usually, it’s the Falcons that are on the receiving end of those types of end-game shenanigans. - Kevin Knight