Atlanta Falcons: Top 20 games in franchise history

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20) Falcons 19, Broncos 34 : Super Bowl XXXIII, January 31, 1999

Bittersweet ending

When the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl, it was the first time in franchise history, and it seemed as if they were a team of destiny as, under new coach Dan Reeves, they had a tremendous record of 14 and 2. But facing the John Elway led Broncos would be a mile high task for anyone-especially for an Atlanta team that had never been on that level previously.

This game was hyped because of Dan Reeves who had previously coached Denver, but this game was much more about two teams who resembled each other in many ways, and it would be a game that would live on in infamy for both sides.

The Falcons had been carried by the hard-nosed running style of Jamal Anderson whose “Dirty Bird” touchdown celebration swept through the NFL landscape like fire. But Anderson was going against a vaulted defense in Denver who looked poised to shoot down any attempt of the Dirty Birds made to spread their wings.

As the game continued to unravel, Chris Chandler continued to struggle passing the ball, throwing three costly interceptions, and when facing an offense that had three Hall of Famers in Sharpe, Elway and Davis, turnovers can be devastating. And that was the case in this game, as the defense struggled to stop Elway and the Denver offense who continued to move with ball eating away the game clock. But the Falcons defense continued to keep Elway out of the end zone and giving their offense a chance.

Being down 17-6 at the beginning of the fourth, the Falcons had an opportunity to maneuver a way for a historic come-from-behind win. But a costly interception set Denver up for what would be a score that would put this game out of reach for Atlanta. And, though Atlanta would make a last-ditch effort to put pressure on Denver, the time was not in their favor as Atlanta fell to the Broncos, making the their first trip to the Super Bowl a dreadful one.

This was a pivotal game for the Falcons because, even though they lost, it showed that Atlanta was turning the corner as a whole as a franchise under Dan Reeves, who may be still the best coach in Atlanta Falcons history.

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