The 28-3 jokes have become a common part of any Atlanta Falcons fan's life. You see the three numbers spammed on every social media post relating to the team but that took place six years ago and a lot can change in six years. The Falcons have changed as they were quietly among the best third and fourth-quarter teams in the NFL.
Their defense, shockingly, was the driving force behind the second-half dominance. They were able to shut down just about every team they played following the halfway mark of each game.
*Make sure to stick around for the bottom portion of this article as there is a lot that will shock you*
The Atlanta Falcons were quietly really good in the second half of games in 2022
The Atlanta Falcons have a lot to build upon going into the third year of their regime. Last year they were able to run the ball down against every defense they saw, they were excellent at not committing penalties, and they played great at home, but the one thing that might be most impressive was their ability to control their opponents in the second half of nearly every game they played.
Through their 17 games in 2022, the Falcons outscored their opponents by 29 points in the third quarter and 24 in the fourth quarter.
The big issue? The Falcons were dominated in the first half, especially the second quarter. They were outscored by 21 points in the first quarter and 56 in the second quarter.
The reason for those vastly different numbers was the defense which was bad in the first quarter and downright awful in the second quarter, allowing 88 and 163 points respectively.
Once halftime ended and they made their "halftime adjustments," they were able to turn things around allowing just 59 points in the third quarter and 76 in the fourth.
Take out two games and the Atlanta Falcons defense looks even better in the second half
There were two games that really inflated the points allowed in the second half by the Atlanta Falcons, both against division rivals. The first came in week one when the Saints made a fourth-quarter comeback and the second came in week eight when the Panthers made a miraculous comeback to force overtime.
Take out those two games where the Falcons allowed 20 points in the second half to the Saints and 24 to the Panthers, and the defense allowed just 91 points after halftime. That is good for just three points per quarter.
Really think about that. I know we took out two games and we are only talking about a half of each game but if the defense could have matched that in the first half of games, they would have only given up 12 points per game.
Again, minus those four wild quarters against New Orleans and Carolina, the Falcons allowed seven or fewer points in 29 of those 30 quarters and eight points in the other quarter, and only five touchdowns overall.
Heck, even if you include every game, the defense only allowed ten touchdowns in 34 quarters. Add in the overtime quarter against Carolina and that is 10 TDs in 35 quarters.
Considering the Falcons managed to keep each game close, except for the game in Cincinnati, if the defense could have been just slightly better in the first half, the Falcons would have won a lot more games. It truly would have totally flipped last season.
The good news is that there is a lot more talent on that side of the ball so they will be improved in each game as a whole. It should result in more wins which is something we have been looking for for a long time.