What did we take away from the Falcons win over the Panthers besides a big goofy grin thanks to that Mykal Walker pick six? It depends on who you ask, and since we asked ourselves, here’s what we came away with.
Do share your big picture takeaways, if you have any, from this game.
A balanced offense
Against a very good defense, the Falcons found a way to strike a perfect balance between the run and the pass - and be mostly successful at both. The team ran the ball 36 times (4 from Matt Ryan) and put over 100 yards on the stat line for the third straight game. They passed the ball just 28 times and were able to secure a road win even with Matt Ryan playing a mostly pedestrian game at QB. This is exactly what we envisioned Arthur Smith could do and his play-calling was very good for most of the game, particularly at the end when he used Kyle Pitts athleticism to perfection to close out the game. If the Falcons can continue to build on this, they could finish the last four games with a bang. - David Walker
This team doesn’t suck
I’ve been pulled it earlier this season after the Falcons beat some bad teams. The Falcons did the same on Sunday — they beat a bad Panthers team. The good news is these players haven’t given up. The coaches aren’t making perplexing decisions. This team is watchable. Those three were not guaranteed last year. The Falcons were beaten up by the lowly Chicago Bears and the even lowlier Detroit Lions. Atlanta had only one win in the NFC South the entire season. This roster may be bad (and let’s be honest it is a disaster) but these coaches have these guys playing. Shocking to see this team is somehow in the playoff race but they have earned it. The Falcons would most certainly be blown out in a wildcard match but they haven’t been in playoff contention since 2017. We’re at the bottom but the arrow is pointed up. - Matt Chambers
Some of this progress feels real
Suddenly, this team can run the ball. They’ve now done so three weeks in a row, including against a very good Tampa Bay run defense, and appear to be capable of getting quality contributions from Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Davis and Qadree Ollison. They also have a defense that, while embarrassed pretty handily against Tampa Bay, is starting to show a knack for coming up with big plays when presented with the opportunity to make them. This team went out very, very sad against the Panthers the last time out, managing just 13 points and not doing much of anything well, so the fact that they ran confidently, cobbled together a good-enough passing game and punished Cam Newton and P.J. Walker for mistakes feels like progress. We love progress. -Dave Choate