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Atlanta Falcons Greatest Moments Bracket: Region 2, Round 2

The greatest moments bracket continues on. Your votes determine who will go to the Sweet 16.

We find ourselves going steadily along, now in the second round of this bracket. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for their favorite plays in the first round, and I hope that this is as fun of an exercise for your to participate in as it is for me to write about.

The first round of the first region has been completed. You can look back at those results here, however, voting has been officially closed. The winners go up against each other in this round, with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line.

The rules continue to be the same. It’s a head to head format and the moment in each matchup with the most wins will advance.

I have also seen your concerns regarding some of the videos which could not be played. I have done my best to put in alternate videos which hopefully will work, however, the NFL has done its best to block off almost all of their videos from being viewed on this platform.


1) Mike Vick scrambles for game-winning 46-yard rushing TD in overtime vs. Minnesota (2002)

(This video will have to be watched on youtube because the NFL has ridiculously stupid media rules. I apologize for the inconvenience).

vs.

8) Matt Ryan throws 59-yard pass to Roddy White from his own 1 to help set up a game-winning Matt Bryant field goal vs. Carolina (2012)

(once again I apologize for the NFL’s ridiculously stupid rules).

Vick’s mad dash proved to be a formidable 1-seed in the first round, winning 92% of the vote over the dual shutout of the Panthers in 2002. That matchup represented the most lopsided margin of the region.

There’s maybe no play which embodies the best of the Mike Vick experience better than his mad dash in overtime to beat the Minnesota Vikings in 2002. This play completed a series of seven wins in eight games for the Falcons en route to their first playoff appearance since 1998, led by the electric second-year phenom Vick. The acceleration to get away from the Minnesota defense and to even make two defenders collide was something the NFL had never seen before at the quarterback position.

While a blowout was expected in the 1-16 matchup, what I didn’t see coming was the region’s 8-seed — Ryan’s incredible pass to Roddy to help beat the Panthers in 2012 — winning 91% of the vote against the 10-second runoff in Detroit. That was the second-most lopsided margin of the region.

Matt Ryan had garnered a reputation for his fourth quarter comebacks throughout the early part of his career, but he really outdid himself in a Week 4 matchup against the upstart Panthers in 2012. Backed up at his own 1-yard-line with less than a minute remaining, he uncorked one of the best passes of his career to Roddy White for a 59-yard gain which helped lead to a game-winning Matt Bryant field goal to help the Falcons stay undefeated. It was the definition of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Poll

Which play wins?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    1) Mike Vick scrambles for game-winning 46-yard rushing TD in overtime vs. Minnesota (2002)
    (72 votes)
  • 64%
    8) Matt Ryan throws 59-yard pass to Roddy White from his own 1 to help set up a game-winning Matt Bryant field goal vs. Carolina (2012)
    (131 votes)
203 votes total Vote Now

12) Wallace Francis scores game-winning TD vs. Philadelphia to secure franchise’s first ever playoff win (1978)

(play occurs at 15:33 mark)

vs.

4) Matt Ryan’s first professional pass is a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins (2008)

The lowest remaining seed of the region to claim victory in round one, Wallace Francis’ heroics in Atlanta’s first ever playoff game indicated that recency bias won’t rule in every matchup, winning a comfortable 60% of the vote against the draft day trade of Mike Vick.

Atlanta’s first playoff appearance and victory came on Christmas Eve, in the franchise’s 13th season of existence. Down 13-0 going into the fourth quarter, Steve Bartkowski led a valiant comeback which saw the Birds score 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. Wallace Francis led the way with 135 receiving yards and the game-winning touchdown on 4th down despite dealing with an injury he picked up a few plays earlier. Atlanta was fortunate that Eagles Punter Mike Michel (who was doubling down as the kicker because they didn’t want to sign one) missed a 34-yard field goal to end the game (he also missed an extra point in the first quarter).

I initially thought the 1980 run would do a lot better in this competition than finishing as first round, but seeding votes weren’t kind and neither was the first round matchup against Matt Ryan’s first professional pass, which garnered 63% of the vote.

Has anyone ever made a first impression quite like Matt Ryan in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions in 2008? The hotly debated 3rd overall selection out of Boston College silenced the doubters briefly when he dropped back and threw what ended up being a 62-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins on his first career throw in the NFL. Ryan would of course prove his worth as the 3rd pick, and this will always be remembered as one of those seminal moments in his career.

Poll

Which play wins?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    12) Wallace Francis scores game-winning TD vs. Philadelphia to secure franchise’s first ever playoff win (1978)
    (46 votes)
  • 57%
    4) Matt Ryan’s first professional pass is a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins (2008)
    (61 votes)
107 votes total Vote Now

6) Matt Ryan completes the comeback against Packers a with game-winning TD pass to Mohamed Sanu (2016)

(please view on Youtube)

vs.

3) Falcons execute draft day trade to select Julio Jones (2011)

Sanu’s finest hour as a Falcon flexed its muscle as a superior seed, blowing out the Keanu Neal hit on Willie Snead by a 76%-24% margin.

The 2016 Falcons put everything together in Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan’s second year coaching the team. Following a series of impressive wins in what seemed like an early season gauntlet on the schedule, Atlanta lost back to back games before making a statement with a win against the Green Bay Packers. With Julio Jones relentlessly doubled, Mohamed Sanu stepped up, particularly on the final drive, in a comeback victory. Sanu hauled in five receptions for 50 yards on Atlanta’s final drive, including an impressive turnaround game-winning catch in the end zone with 32 seconds remaining. It was Sanu’s finest moment as a Falcon.

Two dueling Julio Jones moments matched up in the first round, but the moment that began it all — the famous 2011 draft day trade — won as a resounding favorite over his first two career touchdowns, taking 67% of the vote.

Following a disappointing finish to a wonderful 2010 season, the Falcons went into the draft looking to draft a second WR opposite Roddy White for Matt Ryan to work with, as the Falcons looked to make the transition into becoming more of a passing team. Thomas Dimitroff made his most audacious move as the team’s general manager, trading first- second- and fourth-round picks in 2011 and then first- and fourth-round picks in 2012 to Cleveland in order to move up 20 spots to select Alabama’s Julio Jones, who ended up becoming the best WR in team history. The Browns did nothing with the treasure chest of picks they received in this trade.

Poll

Which play wins?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    6) Matt Ryan completes the comeback against Packers a with game-winning TD pass to Mohamed Sanu (2016)
    (61 votes)
  • 42%
    3) Falcons execute draft day trade to select Julio Jones (2011)
    (45 votes)
106 votes total Vote Now

10) Expansion Falcons draft Tommy Nobis with their ever first draft pick (1966)

vs.

2) Matt Ryan puts together a scoring drive in 6 seconds to come back against Chicago (2008)

(please view on Youtube)

It was a battle between two famous acquisitions when the Tony Gonzalez trade faced the inaugural Falcons draft selection of Tommy Nobis and that made for the closest matchup of the region. Mr. Falcon won out with 55% of the vote.

As an expansion team, the Atlanta Falcons had the 1st overall selection in the 1966 NFL Draft. With it, they selected the legendary Tommy Nobis. Nobis was a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first three seasons and was a First-Team All-Pro selection at middle linebacker in his second season. He played for 11 seasons, all with Atlanta, was one of the four inaugural members of the team’s Ring of Honor in 2004 and was appropriately known as Mr. Falcon. It’s a travesty that he is not in the Hall of Fame.

It’ll be incredibly difficult to defeat Matt Ryan’s heroics against the Chicago Bears in 2008, and the Osi Umenyora fumble recovery touchdown against the Saints saw that first hand. It was a resounding 90%-10% margin.

You can’t describe what the “It Factor” is in words, you kind of just know it when you see it, and the NFL saw that Matt Ryan had “It” as early as Week 6 of his rookie season. Down 20-19 against the Chicago Bears, with 6 seconds remaining and the ball on his own 44-yard-line, Ryan launched a pristine sideline pass, while getting leveled, to Michael Jenkins 26 yards down the field with one second to spare (shoutout to Jenkins for the wonderful toe tap catch as well). That set up the game-winning field goal which was nailed by Jason Elam, and it demonstrated to Falcons fans that they had something special with the rookie out of Boston College.

Poll

Which play wins?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    10) Expansion Falcons draft Tommy Nobis with their ever first draft pick (1966)
    (41 votes)
  • 59%
    2) Matt Ryan puts together a scoring drive in 6 seconds to come back against Chicago (2008)
    (61 votes)
102 votes total Vote Now

The winner of the 1-8 matchup will face the winner of the 4-12 matchup in the next round. The winner of the 3-6 matchup will face the winner of the 2-10 matchup in the next round.

Our next article will be looking at matchups in the second round of the third region of our bracket.