What the Falcons can teach the Broncos

Back when Falcons soared: Julio Jones rises up over Carolina's Luke Kuechly en route to beating the Panthers. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Back when Falcons soared: Julio Jones rises up over Carolina’s Luke Kuechly en route to beating the Panthers. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

The Falcons of 2015 showed us how to build an impressive fire. And how to douse it just as quickly. Smokey the Bear was appreciative.

The lessons for everyone else were few and forgettable, other than this: Those Falcons provided a blueprint for how to take down the Carolina Panthers. The fact that this modest team was the only thing standing between the Panthers and a thus- far unbeaten season still seems like a whoopee-cushion-level practical joke.

So, just imagine Peyton Manning studying at depth the Falcons plan of Dec. 27 (which seems a little like Stephen Hawking poring over the details of your kid’s science fair project volcano).

Denver will be without the added incentive of having played Carolina recently – as did the Falcons, who were drubbed 38-0 in Charlotte just two weeks before they turned in a 20-13 victory. The Broncos will not be able to catch Panthers yawning. Nor will they possess the taste for vengeance that comes from being so thoroughly whipped and having their noses so completely rubbed into the result (Trademark: Carolina Panthers).

Otherwise, when looking ahead to Super Bowl 50, both Denver and a semi-interested public can ask some important questions:

Can Peyton Manning stand up to the Carolina defense as did Matt Ryan for one afternoon? Ryan was beat up in that second meeting with the Panthers, cementing his image for toughness while completing 23-of-30 passes for 306 yards a touchdown and – most importantly – no interceptions.

Can the Broncos balance their offense as well as the Falcons of Dec. 27, running the ball 30 times and throwing it 30 times?

Do the Broncos have a play-maker of the caliber of Julio Jones, who turned a somewhat desperate heave into a brilliant touchdown grab over Luke Kuechly. A replay of that one will be required viewing during Jones’ future Hall of Fame induction.

Will the Panthers, a normally bloodlessly efficient team in the red zone, suddenly develop an aversion to the endzone? After an initial 80-yard touchdown drive, Carolina settled for only field goals the rest of that afternoon at the Georgia Dome.

Can Denver invade Cam Newton’s happy place. The Falcons did, eventually extinguishing the last Panther hope when Vic Beasley emerged from Witness Protection to sack Newton and force a turnover in the game’s last minute.

Can the Broncos, as much as six-point underdogs to the rampaging Panthers by certain early reckonings, win?

Of course they can.

The Falcons did.

Reader Comments 0

8 comments
Onetyme
Onetyme

They can teach them absolutely nothing!

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

The pass rush was good all day the second game. Cam is just a monster. Barkley was on the dp show today talking about how someone should just knock his block off for all the celebrations.. Who's going to do it? He's 3 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than the average nfl linebacker. I'm guessing he's not the funnest guy to hit even when he's standing straight up in the pocket.

UGA76
UGA76

This should be the reverse.  Carolina built a Super Bowl team by fortifying their trenches.  They form a nice secure pocket for Cam to use while having plenty of time to find a receiver.  Meanwhile Matt Ryan is running for his life and getting hit or hurried on half of his pass attempts.  Denver proved to the world that you can take arguably one of the top 5 QBs in history and turn him average by making him uncomfortable.  Brady was hit for just one game like Ryan has been hit every game for 3 years.  The results from both QBs were similar.  On defense, Carolina harrassed Palmer and turned him into an ordinary QB for one game.  

I don't believe it is a consequence that the two Super Bowl teams excel in protecting their QB and also rushing the other team's QB.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@UGA76 

So you don't believe it's a "consequence"???

Well, I don't believe you know what you're saying.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

This story mattered as much to us as that Falcon game mattered to the panthers. Panthers had no incentive to win that game.   final score for the superbowl   Panthers 34, Denver 20

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TrueFan1 

An undefeated season, which has happened only once in NFL history, is plenty of incentive. 

Educate yourself.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

@DawgNole @TrueFan1  Gut feeling, they didn't want the game.... Atlanta did.... Play sports and understand it boy.


Kenneth Thompson
Kenneth Thompson

Dont fool yourself they wanted that game more than you think. Falcons just were ready that game and played mistake free football. Any team can be beaten no matter how good they are.