Atlanta Falcons: Beating Panthers was historic win
Normally, a Week 16 victory in the NFL means a key win before a playoff season or a win to pad the record for some teams. In the case of the Atlanta Falcons, the victory over the Carolina Panthers was more than just their eighth victory of the season. It was historic.
Let’s not downplay the Carolina Panthers and their history-making season. What they have done up to this point is remarkable. Reaching 14-0 is not easy. Hats off to them and their record-setting season.
However, let’s NOT downplay this win for the Falcons as if it’s meaningless.
The talk of an undefeated season is no more. Panthers QB Cam Newton was reported to still be in the stadium long after the game. By himself. Why? Because the loss meant something to Cam. It was the ending to a chance to be amongst the 1972 Dolphins. Who wouldn’t want to be standing toe to toe with greatness? A chance to truly be distinguished is a rare feat.
Turing to the Falcons perspective, the playoffs are far from fruition at this point. A 5-0 start has been overshadowed by a 3-7 showing the last ten weeks which ultimately decided the fate of the Falcons playoff hopes. With all that said, teams relish in the opportunity of wearing the ‘spoiler’ hat. Although Atlanta won’t be playoff bound after a hot start, the Falcons did what the Panthers dodged 14 times so far this season.
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The win was victorious in several different ways. It showcased the potential influence rookie edge rusher Vic Beasley can have on a game. It allowed the country to see how special Julio Jones really is. It gave us an opportunity to see what coach Dan Quinn is capable of. It allowed longtime Falcon Roddy White to show his value. It displayed Desmond Trufant and how truly effective he is at the corner position.
What I learned was this: Any team can be beat on any Sunday. No the Falcons will not enjoy a playoff season. Yet, 2016 offers something very attractive. The victory over Carolina showed that Atlanta can play with the top teams in the league.
Of course, key pieces are needed here and there. There is no disputing that at all. They are a team still in need to some talent. However, for one Sunday, the Falcons were able to get the last Dab.