There is a perception among the experts covering the NFL that the Atlanta Falcons are slightly fortunate to be atop the NFC at 11-1 and many view them as a team more ranked around third or fourth overall in the league. Like the glass that is half full or half empty, the other side of the measuring yardstick is the Deception side. Being a Falcon fan in New England has opened my eyes a few times of this mindset practice, being subject to the talk radio talk shows in the area Perception of how Coach Bill is the greatest Coach of all time, and there is no question he is by far the second coming in these neck of the woods, but coach of all time ? I often listen and wait for the discussion to include the eight years in Cleveland but it never happens. Intentional deception .?
The Atlanta Falcons win over the New Orleans Saints in the Dome on Thursday night was a fascinating example of this as well. Watching the game you get the Perception that the Defense has many weak spots.
The offense has gone back to the same Mularkey vanilla scheme and the coaching was playing scared.
The Deception was, (first the defense) – It could have been perceived at times that things were unraveling, they were going to fold and succumb to the division rival like so many times before.
Stats like time of possession, first downs and Brees throwing for over three hundred yards would give the look of a loss but the Falcon defense “deception” was not going to let that happen this night.
The defensive unit gave up a lot of yards, some highlight plays that Brees is well known for, and the Saints
moved the ball at will it seemed, but there were five interceptions, crucial drive killers that saved the game. There may also have been one sack recorded in the books, but the perception I took from my view was John Abraham is a lot younger than he’s telling everyone, for Brees was never comfortable, much like when Peyton was in the house, and the defense kept him on the move. One sack is not a lot of heat, but the pressure was there, and it led to a few of those throws that were picked off. When things looked a little tight is when the defense shined the most. They were on the field it seemed all night, but the deception was they never seemed tired, which had to be a done with mirrors, anyone playing at that level covering the Saints offense in a grueling hard fought national televised contest would have to be near dropping in the huddle exhausted. The defense stopped Drew Brees consecutive touchdown mark, held the Saints to thirteen points and never let the score slip from Atlanta’s favor. For Brees to have the worst game of his impressive career that I ever watched and throw five picks, nearly six, the defensive deceptive ‘coverage’ had to be in high gear. I also had the perception that Asante Samual never left the game. Chris Owens did that good of a job !
I also counted only two penalties for the defensive unit, which says a lot on the focus of this bend but don’t break unit in a game of heated rivalry. Stats can give the perception they may have many weak holes, but the solid rank in the league for points allowed per game gives this unit a Deceptive reality.
The Offense.- No smoke and mirrors that they are a passing team this year, but the first quarter showed a tricky deceptive side when an opponent has a game plan to play against the pass. It looked like the Falcons of two years ago, with Turner ripping holes like no game this year. The Saints never saw that opening drive in the study films early in the week. With the old helmet I got the perception I was watching Gerald Riggs.
The passing game was not at the level of most of the year, could have had a chance to blow this game out by halftime, and Ryan was under pressure nearly every drop back, uncharacteristic third down conversion hurt any flow, but he managed to hit seven different receivers and not turn the ball over. Tony Gonzalez, like Abraham is deceiving us about his age as well. Would have liked to see a couple more screen passes to slow the rush, Rodgers only caught two balls !!! The deception is the Saints took Roddy White (1 catch) out of our attack, one of our true weapons, and the Falcons beat the Saints by Ten. The passing game may never have another game as low as this the rest of the year and that’s no deception.
The Coaching, – Nervous, scared, looked like they seen it going down to past script before, except the defense mentioned earlier was confusing to one of the unflappable quarterbacks in the league and the plan on the field worked , maybe not in the stats, but in the end result. I had heart troubles with the offense, but the defense was a rock. Mike Nolan earned his pay. Coach Smith -? Camera shots showed Smitty a wreck, but then were use to those pictures, but what we are not use to is the deceptive gutsy call of a fifty five yard field goal to put the game out of reach with just over four minutes left – a true going for the kill shot that some would have played more routinely conservative with a punt. Reinserting the trust in Matt Bryant and giving him back the confidence of any slip in two misses in Tampa. The Perception of winning ugly, getting breaks, capitalizing on miscues and not dominating like a top ranked team is deceptive when you have a record of 11-1, and I think the Falcons like it that way.