By: David Schiele
True Falcons fans are used to it, or at least they should be. Others, well, it’s best that you stop acting surprised when it happens.
After Tevin Coleman’s short touchdown run gave the Falcons a 27-6 lead over Tampa Bay, the mood around Mercedes-Benz Stadium lightened. Folks in the stands gave sighs of relief. In the press box, writers sitting around me started to write their game stories and joyfully declared that it would be a short day for them.
Then the Buccaneers scored 14 straight points, followed by a forced fumble that cornerback Brent Grimes returned to near midfield. Six plays later, Tampa Bay’s offense found itself inside the Falcons’ 20-yard-line. They were on the brink of tying the game at 27. Fortunately for the Falcons, the Buccaneers could not muster just two more yards and turned the ball over on downs. The Falcons used an 11-play, 82-yard touchdown drive the seal the 34-20 victory.
Just six days prior, the Falcons were in a similar situation. The Seattle Seahawks diminished Atlanta’s 11-point lead down to three points in the fourth quarter. Seattle was on the brink of tying the game at 34. Fortunately for the Falcons, kicker Blair Walsh did not put enough power behind his 52-yard field goal attempt, and his miss allowed Atlanta to escape with a win.
Are you noticing a trend? Oh, not enough evidence?
How about in week six when the Falcons blew a 17-point lead against the Miami Dolphins and lost 20-17? Did you see Super Bowl LI? If not, Google it.
The list could go on and on, stretching years back. However, the point is, obtaining a big lead and letting their opponents back into the game is the Falcons’ thing. Sometimes the Falcons hang on and win…other times they do not.
On Sunday, the Falcons hung on.
“Ain’t no reason [this] game should’ve got as close as it was,” said rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley. “Biggest thing for us is that we got the ‘W.’ And that’s all that matters.”
He is right, getting the “W” is always the most important thing, especially in the loaded NFC South. The race for the South crown is intense with both the Panthers and Saints having at least eight wins so far.
No matter how they come, the Falcons just need to keep winning. Although, winning next week will be a tough task, as the 9-2 Minnesota Vikings come to Atlanta.