Atlanta Falcons First Takes : How the Falcons Found Their Stride

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Matt Ryan
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Matt Ryan /

"Atlanta Falcons have found their stride after two wins against teams ahead of them in the standings."

This has been an extremely weird season for the 2017 Atlanta Falcons. They started the first month by looking like the class of the NFC, and perhaps even the entire NFL.

Then they proceeded to hit a skid in October, losing four of their next five contests. With each loss came a series of unfortunate events that led to the Falcons’ demise.

From fluky turnovers versus Buffalo to execution flaws in the Miami, New England, and Carolina games, Atlanta just could not get out of their own way.

Then came the last two weeks. The breaks the Falcons were not getting in the first half of the season are all coming up Atlanta right now.

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Take for instance last week’s win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Dirty Birds had the good fortune of playing Dallas without their Pro Bowl left tackle, running back, middle linebacker, and kicker.

Atlanta proceeded to take full advantage of their opponent’s misfortunes and dominated a depleted Dallas team, 27-7.

A similar situation unfolded in Monday’s Falcons versus Seattle Seahawks match-up.

Seattle entered the game without two-thirds of their famed Legion of Boom secondary. As a result, the Falcons had their way with the Seahawks’ backup defensive backs, especially on third downs.

It finally appears like the “Bird Gang” has their mojo back, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With that said, let’s examine what the Falcons have done to turn themselves around in this week’s Falcons First Takes. 

Offense Takes Flight

In the early season struggles, it was a tough challenge for Atlanta to convert their drives into points. Whether it’d be unlucky turnovers, untimely penalties/sacks, or dropped passes, the Falcons were their own worst enemy on that side of the football.

Well, in the last two weeks, the offense has gotten out of its own way and decided to take its frustrations out on two banged up foes. But before we put a disclaimer on the Falcons’ last two offensive performances, keep in mind they’ve done all of this without the services of their second best playmaker in running back Devonta Freeman.

Since Freeman went down on Atlanta’s opening possession in week 10, the Falcons have converted 16 of 27 third downs (59.3%) and 5 of 7 (71.4%) red zone opportunities into touchdowns. On the season, Atlanta now sits 6th and 13th, respectively, in both of those categories.

Being Plus in the Turnover Margin is a Big Plus

In addition to being more efficient on offense, the team has made strides in the turnover department of late. Aside from the Detroit and Buffalo games, the team as a whole has taken care of the ball quite well.

The Falcons currently rank tied for eighth in fewest giveaways with five other teams. Where they have been particularly inept this season has been with the takeaways.

However, in their last three contests, Atlanta has doubled their production in that regard. More importantly, they have finished with a positive turnover margin in each of those three games.

So while the Falcons continue to fall in the bottom half of the league in turnover differential, they are clearly trending in the right direction.

The same can be said about the Atlanta Falcons team in general. Thanks to two strong performances by the Falcons’ offense, the Brotherhood has found its stride with six weeks left.

Next: What the 2017 Falcons’ Draft Could Have Been

Better late than never, right?