Atlanta Falcons: five surprising facts
By Jalisse West
After a great start to the season for the Atlanta Falcons, we look into some surprising occurrences that have led to the Falcons playing so well.
The Atlanta Falcons have won four straight. A huge surprise to many as the dirty birds have knocked off both Super bowl 50 teams in back to back weeks. It’s no question this year’s teams is the real deal.
Their victory Sunday over the defending Super bowl Champs put them at 4-1 and atop the NFC South. This team is different from the 2015 team, who started 5-0 before falling to 8-8. They feature an offense led by the best quarterback, Matt Ryan. The backfield is stacked with two of the best young running
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The backfield is stacked with two of the best young running backs, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. Both guys are dual threats and excel at short pass catch plays. And of course the best receiver, Julio Jones, who’ll put up 300 if you dare to play man to man coverage. And, the defense led by Vic Beasley and Dwight Freeney is progressing and gaining confidence
And, the defense led by Vic Beasley and Dwight Freeney is progressing and gaining confidence every week.
Here are five surprises so far from the 2016 Atlanta Falcons.
Ryan is playing the best football of his career. He is easily setting himself to be an MVP candidate. He has limited the turnovers and his red zone productivity is electrifying to watch.
1st in QBR (88)
1st in yards (1740)
1st in points scored (177)
1st in points per game (35.0)
Coleman has been the X-Factor this season. Last year’s third-round selection has picked up right where he left off. Even with a healthy Devonta Freeman, Coleman is still producing big numbers from the backfield.
Week 1: 22 rushing yards, 95 receiving yards
Week 3: 42 rushing yards, 47 receiving yards, 3 TDs
Week 5: 31 rushing yards, 132 receiving yards
The Falcon’s defense is ranked one of the worst in the league. Giving up 124 points through four games, the Falcons regrouped and took full advantage of the Denver being without their starting quarterback Trevor Siemian. Paxton Lynch made the start behind center and the Falcons’ defense made it known that they were going to attack the Broncos weaknesses.
Vic Beasley recorded 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles
Ricardo Allen had a pick in Broncos territory
Dwight Freeney and Grady Jarret both recorded sacks
Our center to success thus far on offense lies within our center, Alex Mack.
The Falcons have struggled at center since Todd McClure retired in 2012. The offseason acquisition has allowed Matt Ryan to torch defenses through the first five weeks. Ryan is first in most offense categories and he owes his center a lot of credit. The three-time pro bowler continues to offer the same consistency he gave to the Cleveland Browns for seven years.
So we all questioned the direction the Falcons were taken when head coach Dan Quinn hired Shanahan before last season.
Those questions continued, as the Falcons dropped six straight after starting the season 5-0. But with an offseason to address the issues, the Falcons wasted no time building a better offense. The Falcons brought in pro bowler Alex Mack to provide veteran leadership and added Mohamed Sanu on the other side of Julio Jones. The run game is working successfully. Tight end, Jacob Tamme is making an impact. Backups WR Justin Hardy and TE Hooper are getting snaps and playing well. Shanahan is slowly winning back the trust of Falcon’s fan.