Falcons for real? Well, uh, I guess so

Matt Ryan making all the right calls with one-fourth of the season down.  (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Matt Ryan making all the right calls with one-fourth of the season down. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

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.

Reader Comments 0

23 comments
SeanLB
SeanLB

Further, during our two down years (last 2 seasons), we took solid players (Matthews and Beasley) to really help bolster this roster.  There was talent, but Smith and his staff simply weren't maximizing it.  We moved to a simpler scheme, adopted the zone blocking concepts, and are now running the football effectively, which must make planning for Ryan/Julio an absolute nightmare.


Will we win the SB this year?  Probably not.  But, with another off-season or two, Quinn may have the defensive pieces he needs to build a juggernaut.  

Peachs
Peachs

Falcons are riding the surf of parity, you can go from worst to first easier now days than the historic days that taint our thinking. We trash the Hawks or the Falcons and then find out they are race horsing making us look stupid. There are no Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers in this generation, it is all a show for the masses. 

reckingball
reckingball

The Giants and Eagles are really, not that bad. Two or three plays turn out different for NY, and they could be 4 - 0.

Cowboys are 2-2.

As far as the cumulative record for the Falcons opponents being 6-10, it is that way because the Falcons defeated them.

it would be 10-6, if the Falcons had lost to each one of them.

reckingball
reckingball

They won the first two games that they were picked to lose. They came back from a 11 point deficit and held the cowboys to 0 points in the 2nd  half of the game, played in the House of Jerry. The next week, they stomped a mud hole in the Texan's behinds in the first 3 quarters, then put the 2nd and 3rd string teams in the game, instead of walking the mud hole dry.

reddjonn68
reddjonn68

Not really surprised.... Mike Smith was not really a good coach at making in game adjustments. We will see what happens the other 12 games

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

All they have to do is get in the playoffs and win games and the Media will give them all the respect they deserve.

Dman
Dman

Falcons are in the drivers seat for the season. Looking at the schedule, we should be favored in 11 of the remaining 12 games left. We are 4&0 today and if we finish the next 12 games with a 9&3 record, 13 wins should be good enough for a first round bye and a home game against either the Rams, Seahawks, or Cardnals. If we can win that game, we will have a ton of confidence going to Greenbay. If we are the number one seed, we would get a first round game against Carolina or the Giants and then play at home against Greenbay. Those are my early predictions but that is way in the future and we have a lot of football to play without getting a major injury to a key player. One game at a time and I will enjoy it every week until the season ends.

RISE UP FALCON FANS....

7&5 = 11&5 record

8&4 = 12&4 record

9&3 = 13&3 record

10&2 = 14&2 record

Schedule

Skins

@ Saints

@Titans

Bucs

@Niners

Colts

Vikings

@Bucs

@Panthers

@Jags

Carolina

Saints

Thanks you schedule makers. :)

RangeRover
RangeRover

Matters not the schedule, when you beat the Giants in New York and the Cowboys in Dallas you're a good football team.  We will find out soon if this is a great football team.

I don't think for a moment they're the 3rd best team in the NFL talent-wise.  However, with the coaching-up they're receiving paired with an elite QB they're good enough to make the playoffs where anything can happen if while there a team gets hot and on a roll.

rollon15
rollon15

First of all, the 6-10 cumulative record of opponents is a bit misleading.....They'd be .500 if they hadn't lost to us. Secondly, no one goes undefeated, no chance of that. 11 or 12 wins though is quite doable. Great improvement and a fun team to watch. If you had said the Falcons would have a realistic chance of making the playoffs this year - I would have laughed at you. Definitely a pleasant surprise. 

reckingball
reckingball

@rollon15 According to my ciphering, the cumulative record of their opponents would be 10-6 if they had not lost to the Birds.

EricEllis
EricEllis

I don't really know what's stupefying about it honestly?  This team has always had talent, its just that Smith and Company really squandered almost all of it over the past two seasons with bad decision making, clock management, personnel calls, etc.  With the new coaching staff in place the same guys who were underachieving under Smith are now overachieving and we are seeing the results.  I mean, those first 3 victories were more victories of "heart" than scheme or talent.  They were all three games that they would have lost last year but they now believe in the men leading them and that has paid dividends in so many intangible ways.  This is a talented football team that is now beginning to believe in themselves and that could be trouble for the rest of the NFC, up to and including the mighty media darling Packers.  We will see how it shakes out but, looking at the schedule, its hard to see them losing more than 2-3 games this year.  Then again, as a Falcons fan I will NEVER take for granted this team's ability to find a way to disappoint....



Richbirddawg66
Richbirddawg66

@EricEllis I totally agree, but I am loving the way these guys are playing!  The football season is fun again

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Right, Jeff. And what about the Oline cobbled together from the departed ashes of Dimitroff's failed picks? Amazing.

extremus
extremus

You're only as good as your NEXT game in the NFL; forget last week and your record, and don't read your own hype when things are going well.  The same folks praising you today and jumping on the bandwagon can and will turn on you the instant something goes wrong.  If the Falcons can just stay healthy and keep doing what they're doing one week and one opponent at a time they'll be fine, and who knows, maybe even have a shot at a truly special season.

sacks
sacks

Yes they have won 4 games..the soft schedule because of last years poor performance..is what it is!

Matters not who the team is or what their record is..The Falcons still have to go out and play 60 minutes of football

to the best of their ability!!  Very possible to go 16-0..the only variant being 2 games against Carolina..For some reason there is a stumbling block when it comes to playing Carolina..In the past, the mindset was" well we will be happy to split with them"

I don't think that will be the mindset with This current coaching staff..He want's his team to FINISH and I think the birds will do just that..FINISH Carolina in Both games..Now no reason to Not finish 16-0!!

EricEllis
EricEllis

@sacks No team goes 16-0 (well, only one team EVER has done it so yeah).  Looking at the schedule though I don't see them losing more than 2-3 games this year.  The Colts could be trouble as will Carolina.  We will see...

DisplayNameChosen
DisplayNameChosen

This team looks like its headed to a but-whupping from Green Bay in the conference championship game.

EricEllis
EricEllis

@DisplayNameChosen Seen it before but remember, this coaching staff already appears far more competent than Smith and Company.  That team had Mularkey instead of Shannahan after all...

reckingball
reckingball

@DisplayNameChosen How do you know that they will make it that far in the playoffs?

I'm talking about Green Bay, of course. HAHA, not really.