Amid missing playoffs, still reasons for Atlanta Falcons to be optimistic about the future
With a win Sunday in Tampa, the Atlanta Falcons will finish just like they did in 2018 – on a three-game winning streak and an overall record of 7-9.
There are plenty of Atlanta Falcons fans that refuse to acknowledge some of the good that has come out of this season because they will miss the playoffs for a second consecutive year. While that is understandable, at this point we should take what we can get and hope that a potential 6-2 post-bye-week finish leads to a better 2020.
That said, there are a couple different reasons to at least enjoy this season.
Earlier this year Julio broke Jerry Rice’s record for the fastest receiver to get to 11 thousand career receiving yards. Then in Week 16, Julio broke Rice’s record for the fastest receiver to collect 12 thousand receiving yards.
As we all know, Jerry Rice is the standard for which all wide receiver’s past and present are compared to. Through nine seasons, Julio is on track to break nearly all of Rice’s NFL receiving records.
Julio came into the 2019 season with five consecutive 1,400 yard receiving seasons. With 86 yards this week against the Bucs, Julio will record his sixth straight and extend his NFL record.
Matt Ryan has broken several records this season as well. Despite missing his third career start and the second game overall as the Atlanta Falcons quarterback.
Earlier this season, Matt Ryan became the 10th quarterback in NFL history to throw for 50 thousand yards and passed Warren Moon all-time. Last week against the Jaguars, Matt Ryan went over the four thousand yard threshold for the ninth consecutive year. No other player has a current streak that long; Drew Brees has the record at 12, which ended in 2018 after he sat out Week 16.
There were a lot of expectations on Oliver coming into 2019. We wrote back in the summer that Isaiah Oliver was going to be the most tested corner in the NFL. Sitting opposite of Desmond Trufant and being a second-year corner meant opposing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks were going to come after him.
Oliver struggled mightily under Dan Quinn’s system. Since Quinn moved Raheem Morris to coach the secondary and take over the defense, Oliver has been a completely different player. He has shown flashes as being the corner everyone was hoping that he would be when he was drafted out of Colorado in 2018.
Dare to say, Oliver is the most improved player in the Falcons roster in 2019.
After a 1-7 start to the season, there didn’t seem to be anything going right for the Atlanta Falcons. Dan Quinn finally got out of his own way and turned the defense over to coaches who put this team in a much better position to be successful.
The Atlanta Falcons have the two biggest wins of the season and both happen to be on the road. The first one came the week after the bye-week in New Orleans. The Falcons embarrassed the Saints 26-9, holding the Saints to nearly three touchdowns under their season average.
Two weeks ago the Atlanta Falcons went to Santa Clara and upset the NFC leading 49ers 29-22. This was the first time that the Falcons have faced former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan since Super Bowl LI.
Beating the top two teams in the NFC amid a terrible season gives hope that the Falcons can compete with anyone in the NFL and gives fans a reason to be hopeful heading into the 2020 season.