It’s Wednesday morning, so it’s time to pour a cup of coffee taller and deeper than the laws of physics allow and talk defining moments again.
This week brings the Giants to town. For one of the league’s marquee franchises, the Giants are an easy team to forget about if you’re a Falcons fans, given that they’ve mostly stunk for years now and have done so in an NFC East where the Cowboys and Eagles have caused us the most frustration and bitterness in recent seasons. Still, this has quietly been a fun little rivalry.
The Falcons have a one game lead in the all-time series—I hope that becomes a two game lead in short order—so it’s hardly been lopsided. There have been some huge blowouts in this series alongside some real nail-biters, and while you don’t think of the Giants except to think of the 2011 playoffs, the truth is this has been a surprisingly quality series over the years.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible for me to think of the Giants without thinking of the 2011 playoffs. Atlanta may well beat Daniel Jones and the Giants on Sunday and run their winning streak in this series to three games, which would be extremely welcome, but that playoff victory is seared into the mind of every Falcons fan who lived through it. Mike Mularkey and Brian Van Gorder had helped Mike Smith pilot the team to three playoff berths in his first four seasons in Atlanta, but Mularkey and the offense in particular were pantsed by New York. After getting a safety, the Falcons would not score a single point the rest of the way and lost 24-2, with my defining image of the game being Matt Ryan being sacked to force a turnover on downs with just over a minute to go in the game.
That’s pretty grim, I know, but obviously the happy note is that the Mularkey and Van Gorder firings brought Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan to town, and that duo almost helped get the Falcons to the Super Bowl the very next year. You wish every coaching change could bring about such immediate and positive change, cough cough.
If you have a more positive defining moment, please do share it here! If not, well, we can all remember that lousy game together.