What a difference 10 days made for the Atlanta Falcons. They were MIA for three quarters against the Saints and then completely dominated the Panthers Sunday.
Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the Atlanta Falcons against the Saints. Matt Ryan threw two interceptions and the offensive line allowed Ryan to get sacked a career-high nine times.
Fast forward a week later and this Falcons team looked like a well-oiled machine. Devonta Freeman turned in his best performance of the season, including his first rushing touchdown, Ryan threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and the only sack allowed was due to the offensive lineman stepping on Ryan’s foot throwing him off balance allowing Vernon Butler to get the sack.
The defense caused turnovers and got after the quarterback. Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley both got two sacks and Beasley’s sacks were those of the strip-sack variety.
The way the Falcons played Sunday is what fans envisioned at the beginning of the season.
This season has truly been the tale of the two Falcons teams: the team that looks like a high draft pick team playing confused and disoriented and the team that showed up twice against the Panthers; the well-balanced team that plays solid defense and a well-balanced offense.
The team didn’t have to lean on Ryan throwing the ball 40-50 times a game and throwing up prayers to Julio hoping he comes down with him.
The play-calling Sunday was some of the best of the season and for this game, the coaching staff did their homework and took advance of the Panthers’ weak run defense and got Freeman established early.
Performances like Sunday against the Panthers, is one of the reasons why fans are so frustrated, why can’t they always play like this? Why can’t the coaching staff coach like this and game plan like this consistently? The question still remains, which team is the real Falcons team, the one that got the win over the Panthers or the one that lost to the Saints?