by Mike Lederle
We witnessed a near perfect start for the Falcons on their eight-game, second-half, regular-season quest in returning to form. The Zeke-less Cowboys came to town, but for the Falcons, it really didn’t matter who was the opponent. This was as close to a “must win” game you could have at this point in the season.
And just a quick side note, it was a Devonta-less Falcon team as well. Not going into the game of course, but Freeman was out of the game after just two carries with a concussion. Let’s hope that Freeman’s time away from the team is short. But hold up, the title of this article was “good” vibrations, so let’s stay there, shall we?
The Falcons haven’t had nearly enough to smile about in 2017, and when you’re able to wipe a little bit of the shine off that “star” decal of America’s team, every minute of it should be savored.
There were strong signs of a coming out party offensively for the Falcons despite an early miscue on a tipped ball interception. The offense moved smoothly, clutch catches were made, explosive plays were again part of a formula that made the Falcons so successful last season. This is how it’s supposed to be—this is Falcons football. The Falcons have the players capable of going on a roll and the time to do so could not have come at a better time. Dare I say, the Falcons had some fun?
There was Dontari Poe being featured as the goal line fullback. Then Turbo Taylor on an end around, Turbo Taylor on a crossing route, ping, ping, ping, Ricochet “Taylor” Rabbit. And a certain Falcons defensive end was going off!
Defense! Defense! If you could get inside Dak Prescott’s head on Sunday, I think one song would be playing on a continuous loop, David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”. The Dallas QB was running for his life in the Benz. Adrian Clayborn set a Falcons franchise record with 6 sacks in one game.
Sprinkle in a Poe and Reed sack and that’s quite a day for the defense! Trufant looked better, and he also had an interception which was wiped away by an offsides call against Vic Beasley. Tru had another potential pick along the sidelines when he broke perfectly on the out pattern, but he couldn’t come down with the change of possession.
Ricardo Allen had potentially what could have been a pick six the other way had the ball not been batted down at the line of scrimmage. The run defense was solid. Rookie Takk McKinley again flashed with takedowns of Dallas running backs at and behind the line of scrimmage. Takk also had a fumble recovery on a strip sack by Clayborn. It’s always easier to play defense when you get a lead and can rush the passer. Let’s hope this becomes the norm.
Next up are the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. The last time these two teams met in the regular season was in Seattle, October of 2016. That game featured a no-call take down of Julio by Seattle’s secondary and Dan Quinn going crazy on the sideline in what eventually became a two-point loss. A tough loss, but a game that also showed the Falcons can play well in a hostile environment.
The 12’s will be out in full force on prime time, and weather could potentially also play a factor. But remember this, the last time the Falcons played the Seahawks was in the 2016 postseason in Atlanta, where Russell Wilson had his share of face plants on the Georgia Dome turf.
One key factor going into this matchup is a weak offensive line for the Seahawks. Seattle did however upgrade their line with the acquisition of Duane Brown from Houston. Brown will continue to help give Wilson time to work his magic.
The rejuvenated Falcons pass rush and flyin’ around the ball that arrived in Week 10 better not be sleepless in Seattle. The Legion of Boom awaits, but that defense may not be exactly what it used to be when Quinn was still defensive coordinator in Seattle. Richard Sherman is out for the remainder of the year with an achilles tear, and Earl Thomas remains a question mark for Week 11 after missing Seattle’s last game vs. Arizona due to injury.
Another story line in this one will be Seattle’s other new recent addition, ex-Falcon Dwight Freeney. Spin move, anyone?
Game two in the “flip the script” stretch of the Falcons season I previously preached. It’s the battle of the birds. Here’s hoping the Falcons’ D starts tossing around Russell Wilson like they do fish at the Pike Place fish market, while Matty Ice and company continue an offensively balanced attack.