The first quarter of the Falcons season is done, and, yes, I admit it, I am totally gob smacked. Completely bumfuzzled. Perplexed, agog and maybe even a little flabbergasted.
Perhaps such reaction is unbecoming a professional sports journalist who has too many years in, witnessing all manner of the unexpected. But this 4-0 start is that kind of mind-altering experience.
Actually, it’s kind of nice when you realize you are not too old to be surprised.
Do you find yourself, too, even now – and four games is a pretty representative sample – wondering what kind of mirage is this? Are you looking around, up and down, for the trap door to open or the safe to fall on your head? Are you, too, a little unsure how to react?
Are they for real? People keep asking me that. And I am too stunned to give much of an answer beyond: Their record says they are; that’s all that matters in this league.
OK, the Falcons have beaten no one of heft – combined record of the vanquished four is 6-10. And the way the schedule is assembled, it’s possible that we will get no substantial read on this team until it faces Carolina twice in the second half of December.
It’s just that what they are doing is so far from what we expected that the only reaction is one of slack-jawed wonderment.
Matt Ryan was supposed to be in traction by now, but he is running around, making plays on the move with coltish enthusiasm. Through scheme and surprising amount of cohesion, that patchwork offensive line that was supposed to be the downfall has been as solid as Elberton granite.
The defense was supposed to get an upgrade through Dan Quinn’s influence, but to see it now running around with its britches on fire is still a bit of a jolt.
And they seem to be improving each week.
It’s stupefying, really.