If you have been watching the Atlanta Falcons lately, there is nothing wrong with your television; it’s on the correct channel, yes those are the real Atlanta Falcons, same players wearing the same jerseys with the same names. To answer your question before you ask it, no, your eyes are not deceiving you. They have been reincarnated and performing at an optimum level. Someone waved the proverbial magic wand and fixed all the problems. They are hitting on all cylinders.
Give credit where its due to the head coach Dan Quinn certainly he has received the brunt of the blame. The Brotherhood has been tried and tested, but there was no finger-pointing or blame. If there was, it was kept in the house. The team essentially was on life support with a 1-7 record; they had a bye week and returned reincarnated with the ability to communicate on defense and execute the entire game plan.
Quinn said, “they were going to look at the bye as an opportunity to reset and view the second part of the season anew in two blocks of four games each. It sounded cliché another one of his catchphrases. I don’t know what he said to the team, but it was one helluva sells pitch, and they have bought in.”
They have taken out two NFC South divisional opponents, the New Orleans Saints 26-9 and the Carolina Panthers 29-3. It is not the fact that they won; they dismantled them. Six sacks of Drew Brees, eleven hits and five tackles for loss. Five sacks on Kyle Allen that forced him to throw four interceptions and seven tackles for loss. Like it or not, you have to admit, it’s working. However, I can’t fault you if you decide to reserve the anointing juice; it’s only two wins.
Dan Quinn was asked about the dramatic change in the last two games compared to the first eight:
“This is obviously a question that I have struggled with for the first part of the season. The analogy I used is that ‘you looked under the hood and everything looked right, but it just wasn’t running like you had hoped it would.’ We made some bigger adjustments to get back in there and start it up. It may sound cliché to say complimentary football, but there is some truth to that.
Creating a turnover, creating a short field, having a punt return go for a touchdown, not allowing big explosive plays defensively, and creating some offensively – that is what I hoped we would look like. For whatever reason, our focus had been up and down. I wish I had a better reason why to say we jumped offsides or had a foul in the red zone or had a coverage that wasn’t communicated to the spot. But, what I can say is the players are the ones who really ramped up their focus, their communication, their cohesiveness, and chemistry that takes place.
When all of those things are happening, that’s when I think the powerful stuff happens. Now, it has only been a two-game set for us to play the way that we are capable, and like we wanted. We felt like we started to make some moves on that in the second half against Seattle – to attack and play complimentary in all three phases. But, by no means do we feel like we have arrived or any of that. It is more like how hard can we go this week to ensure that we can play well. That is really where the team is at.”
During the six-game skid, they did not put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. In their lone victory before the bye against the Philadelphia Eagles, they produce three sacks. With that said, the trend of winning is three sacks in a game. When they pressure the quarterback, it doesn’t allow the backend flaws to be exploited, funny how the frontend has to support the backend, and vice versa.
Jerome Henson answered the question, do you think the big difference the defensive line is putting more pressure on the quarterback, which hides flaws, if any in the backend? “That certainly helps, the more the rush picks up, the better we are going to cover, but I think the coverage looks have been moved around a little more disguised, I think that helps as well.”
The play of the game was the 78-yard punt return by Kenjon Barner to extend the lead 10-0. Momentum invaded the team they played inspired football and dominated the Carolina Panthers. For the second time in as many weeks, a Falcons player has been recognized as the Special Teams Player of the week [Barner]. It was an impressive run, as the green sea parted Barner exploded and ran to daylight.
I was equally impressed by the block ninety yards downfield by Qadree Ollison, the 232 Lbs. Rookie running back out of Pittsburgh, it guided him into the endzone. Those things don’t make the headlines, but it’s that type of hustle that makes a difference.
Barner shared his mentality on being a kick returner and special teams player
“You are not going out there to get a 10-yard return; you aren’t going out there to get a 5-yard return. I am going out there to try to make a huge impact, that’s the mentality of the entire special teams unit. We are going out there to make plays, and the biggest play you can make in the game is a touchdown as a return unit. Every week we go out there, that’s what we want to do.
I think I show that in the way I return the ball. That’s how aggressive I am. I don’t think I have a fair catch on the season yet. Just got to be aggressive, that’s our mentality, it’s not like that is something just started, that’s been our mentality all year, every time we touch that field, we want to get to the end zone?
Interestingly these games were on the road I wonder how the two wins will affect attendance at home, will the bandwagoners jump back this week. If not, will the empty seats spur negatively? That may be a story within itself.
Regardless of the wins, some are wondering if Dan Quinn will win enough games to keep his job others are saying tank for a better draft pick a philosophy or thought process no competitive athlete can understand.
This is quite the turnaround, saying the Atlanta Falcons and winning in the same breathe was a far- fetched idea. They say three consecutive games is a streak guess what that’s what’s being served.
Next up are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team with an identical record [3-7]. They have a trigger happy quarterback Jamies Winston who is leading the NFL in sacks 36 and interceptions with 18. He is fighting to keep his mural on the building as the face of the franchise.
The Atlanta Falcons defense has not allowed a touchdown in ten quarters, and they are getting edge pressure from Vic Beasley and Takk Mckinney, which means pick your poison. Defensively the game plan should be simplified with only one call for the defensive coordinator FEAST.
About the amazing turnaround, Jerome Henderson had the perfect response
No use looking back, at this point, we got to beat Tampa this week, find a way to beat them. What’s behind us is behind us, all we have is today, so we have to have a great practice today, have great meetings today with great focus, and stack days. I think that has been a big key for us stacking days.
Join the group Atlanta Falcons Fix to enter to win the Julio Jones Jersey. After joining answer this question using the comments section associated with the article. The answer must be exact. Only one entry per person. How many receiving yards will Julio Jones produce in the game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?