In a season of painful losses and complete blow-outs, Atlanta began December with a victory on the road for the first time this season.
Down 14-0, the game looked like just another Sunday in the life of a 2014 Atlanta Falcons fan. But prayers were quickly answered as Matt Bryant kicked a tying field goal as time expired to halftime. The two teams exchanged touchdowns in the 3rd and 4th quarters to send the game to overtime where “Money” Matt Bryant eventually kicked the game winning field goal to end the game at 34-31.
One thing stood out above the rest however, and that was the physical play of the Atlanta defense. Yes, the Bills did score 31 points, but when it really mattered, the defense showed up. With seconds left in the 4th quarter, the Buffalo offense was steadily creeping down the field into field goal range. Stevie Johnson catches a pass that almost guarantees a Buffalo victory, and then BAM… Robert McClain forces a fumble and the Falcons recover. Sadly, Atlanta doesn’t make anything out of it, but killed the Bills chances of ending the game nonetheless. We begin overtime, and Buffalo wins the coin toss. Once again, the Bills are creeping down the field; inching closer to field goal range. Manuel drops back to pass and proceeds to hit his receiver, who then starts taking it into Falcons territory until BAM… William Moore punches the football loose and Robert Alford picks it up, quickly laterals it to Trufant, and begins to block for Desmond down field. This series of unfortunate events for the Bills is not complete luck for the Falcons, but a display of sheer physical toughness that we have lacked all season long.
Atlanta will need this new found physicality against Green Bay next week, as they take on the Packers in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.