December Kudos to the Falcons
The Atlanta falcons are the number one seed in the Powerful NFC -( Four of the last Five super bowl winners have come from the NFC) – for the second time in three years.
Forget the debate on why, how, what got them to this point – it’s an achievement that is only accomplished via Strong coaching, very good players, solid back ups, and team focus each game.
After the perfect game over the New York Giants, the Falcons went on the road and showed no sign of a letdown and flew decisively to laying claim to the number one seed and look like a December team that any Atlanta Fan would have on their Christmas wish list. If Matt Ryan has had his name slip in MVP talk, then the last two games has put him back in the spotlight. We know four touchdowns and two hundred seventy yards on a twenty five for thirty two night with no interceptions is a great game. But there was a moment that came in this game that makes for an MVP candidate. In the fourth quarter after Detroit had cut the Falcon lead to 21 – 16, Ryan took the Birds down the field on an eleven play, seventy eight yard drive eating over six minutes of clock up in doing so. It was on a second down and twelve that Matt hit Roddy for a fourteen yard gain to the Detroit one with a dart that was so perfect it should be reviewed by anyone with a tape of the game. It set up a easy touchdown instead of maybe settling for a field goal, that nailed the victory and the top seed in the upcoming playoffs. I must give Kudos to Roddy and Julio also for this night, because when Superstar Calvin Johnson was breaking the remarkable receiving yard record, the game showcased how very Dangerous the Atlanta duo is in the passing attack. Tony G caught one pass, but the wide-out aces caught and ran for added yardage so often that any defense looking at film to prep against this attack will need Excedrin when study is over. The offensive line allowed only one sack, and with the passing attack just mentioned it is a stat that should not go without mention for it is a vital part of the aerial machine. The entire defense under Nolan gets Kudos for the bend but don’t break show they have put on in most weeks than not. With Weatherspoon and Robinson being the nights heavy hitters and the energized play of Nicholas and Dent showing why the linebacker group is a team strong point, they may have given up twenty five first downs and five hundred twenty two yards, including Johnsons mammoth night, but in the end only gave up sixteen points and never let the score even be tied. Chris Hope again did a nice back up job and when Asante intercepted Stafford to set up Bryant’s twenty yard field goal the Lions and their fans would Roar no more. The yards and first downs are only a concern if inside the red zone and this unit has proven that they are very stubborn with giving up touchdowns, which with the powerful offense is a recipe for the success the team has had so far in 2012. I’m sending a special Kudos to Matt Bosher, who has one great booming leg. Field position is very important and he sets us up nicely.
Two years ago, Atlanta was in the same lofty situation going into the playoffs as they are now but I argue that this crew is a much different team starting with the experience of Coach Smith and the veterans that learned a lot from the loss to Green Bay. The sting of the Williams interception to end the first half of that game still must linger in many hearts. That experience was a little different than last January’s loss to the Giants in New York. Winning on the road in the NFL is tough to do, the Packer loss was in a place where the Falcons play very solid football and there are signs that shine on this years team.
Two years ago the birds lost to the Saints at home on Monday night right after Christmas.
The Falcons started this years December with a turn around game against the rival Saints that all but eliminated New Orleans from playoff hope and handed Brees his worst defeat on National Television.
Atlanta has not lost at home this year. The Dome is a nest that is loud and crazy for this team and just as hungry for a playoff win. That 2010 horrible loss saw the Falcons turn over the ball four times and commit seven penalties. That has not been the case in those categories this year, in fact the birds shine at protecting the ball and not committing costly mistakes. Mike Nolan’s defense has improved and the play of Weatherspoon and McClain and Asante are all improvements at those positions for this playoff run. In the 2010 game Turner had thirty nine yards rushing – similar numbers to what we’ve seen in many of this years games but two years ago he was the major part of our offense. This year the rushing attack has taken a secondary role with the flight of the Atlanta passing attack under Ryan and there is no doubt that Julio being added after that packer defeat so teams can’t just shut down Roddy is one big step in not repeating our playoff woes. The addition of Jaquizz is also a weapon we never sent into playoff warfare the last two seasons. We know coach Smith will let players get needed rest, (Moore especially), but also know the focus and execution will remain high priority in practice in the weeks ahead, so that 2010 lesson will not repeat.
Kudos to the Atlanta Falcons 2012 season and the experience gained in hope of a special January 2013.