October 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) drops into pass coverage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Remember the tremendous start to games that the Falcons had through the first three weeks of the season? Against Kansas City, Denver, and San Diego, the Falcons scored touchdowns on each of their first offensive possessions. They immediately applied pressure to their opponent, and eventually the opponent gave in, or was too far down to mount a successful comeback. The defense pitched in as well. There was nowhere for opponents to go. Once the Falcons had the lead, they kept their foot on the gas pedal, and the defense did everything they could to take the ball away, and give their offense more shots to put points up on the board.
Contrast that with the Falcons first offensive possessions the last three weeks. Against Carolina, Washington, and Oakland the Falcons were unable to put any points whatsoever on the board. They were forced to punt. And against Oakland, they weren’t even able to gain back field possession on the punt due to Matt Ryan’s interception. No points is a bad way to start a game offensively.
The Falcons need to get back to that type of productivity on the first offensive and defensive possessions of the game. They are entering a part of the season where they play much more competitive teams, so points on both sides will be at a premium. The earlier the Falcons can get points on the board, the better. If they get them on the first possession of the game, all the better. And playing from ahead allows your defense to take risks and get turnovers much more easily than when teams are playing keep-away from you.
One thing that is clear is that the Falcons can win when they start fast, keep applying pressure, and then playing keep away from teams. They have proved that they can come from behind and win games when down, especially late in the game. The one thing that we need to see in complete games from the Falcons, games in which they get off to a fast start, keep applying pressure, and don’t stop until the final second of the game and blow out opponents. When the Falcons figure out how to put a complete game together (especially on both sides of the ball) this will be a truly dangerous Falcons team. And they need to put together one of those ‘complete games’ to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles.