by Mike Lederle
Facing the Vikings, I felt like the Falcons had to be close to perfect to come out with the victory. Coming in short handed defensively minus Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole would make for a tough afternoon, right? Seemingly the easy answer is yes, but the Falcons defense held its own for the majority of the afternoon.
Going into the game vs. Minnesota everyone (Falcons fans, players, and coaches) would have signed up for the Falcons defense holding the Vikings to 14 points (granted the end-game kneel down for Minnesota could have resulted in additional scoring).
Decent defensive effort given the circumstances, but not good enough.
The Falcons moved the ball with relative ease early, but field goals were the only scoring taking place. Penalties, and ill-timed drops (a.k.a. drive killers) left Falcons fans, and the scoreboard, unfulfilled.
Starting with the first Falcons offensive series, Matt throws slightly high to Julio and off his hands, for what possibly could’ve been a big gain, possibly a tone setter, but it turns into a harmless incompletion.
Two steps forward, two steps back. Third down conversions during the three-game winning streak were high, and the Falcons were successful. Sunday vs. the Vikings, they were 1-10 on third downs. Insert throw-up emoji.
I wasn’t overwhelmed by what Minnesota brought to the table, but they did bring flawless execution throughout the game.
So, the three game winning streak is over, and the Falcons must reset to get ready for interdivisional play, and quickly.
Four games left—four games vs. the NFC South. A short week and short turnaround, being a Thursday Night Game. The Saints sit alone atop the division after defeating Carolina—this has all the makings of a playoff game.
If there was one game on the schedule where a hiccup was allowed for Atlanta, it was the Vikings game. It’s go time now—now, or never. The Falcons would be best served with a 4-0 run to close out the regular season, but one game at a time, as they say.
Oh when the Saints, come marching in, oh when the Saints come marching in.
Let’s avoid the following, shall we?
Drew Brees pre-game chants.
Swamp people voodoo.
Sean Payton smirks.
Tom Benson umbrella twirls (just because I always despised the umbrella twirl).
Cameron Jordan sack dances.
That would be a good starting point for a successful Thursday Night.
The Saints will, for the first time, also be visiting the real Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s time to rev it up Atlanta! We have the shiny, brand new, top o’ the line, right off the show room floor, Mercedes-Benz Stadium—not the eye sore, paint faded, outdated, rag-tag Superdome.
As Rick Flair says, “To be the man, you got to beat the man!” And right now, unfortunately for us, the Saints are the man. Time to knock them off their pedestal.
For the Falcons to stay on a playoff path, it’s time to send the ‘Aints back to Bourbon Street, minus the crawfish gumbo.