By Matthew Asher
It’s been said countless times, but revenge truly is a dish that’s best served cold. Whether or not the approximate 51 weeks since Atlanta’s 24-2 Playoff loss to the Giants is adequate time to be considered cold, Atlanta’s 34-0 shutout of New York proved to the NFL that Atlanta can win against good teams this year.
Oddsmakers had Atlanta favored by about 1.5 points in the game. Many questioned why Atlanta was favored despite the embarrassing 30-20 loss against Carolina the previous week. There were two main reasons and both are definite X-Factors. First, Atlanta is nearly unbeatable following a loss and second, Atlanta is nearly unbeatable when playing in the Georgia Dome.
And while a few seasons ago Bill Belichick famously said “Stats are for losers. The final score is for winners.” this is one time where he’s definitely wrong.Consider the following stats since the Matt Ryan/Mike Smith Era began in 2008:
- Following a loss since 2008, Atlanta 20-3 the following week. All three of those consecutive losses came in the first two seasons.
- The last time Atlanta lost back-to-back games was in the 2009 season. Currently the Falcons are 12-0 coming off a loss from the previous week.
- At home, Ryan is 33-4. This 89.2 home winning percentage in the past five years is second in the league only to Tom Brady’s 93.5. Ryan’s winning percentage for his first 37 home starts is the best of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
As mentioned earlier this week, it’s been a while since the Falcons have been on the winning side of a shutout and an even longer time since the Giants have been on the losing side of one.
In the past decade, Atlanta has won two games via shutout. In November 2008 the Falcons shutout the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum 24-0. The last time the Falcons shutout an opponent in the Georgia Dome was in October 2002 with the Carolina Panthers were on the losing side of a 30-0 blowout. The last time the New York Giants were shutout was Week 2 of the 1996 season in a 27-0 defeat by the Dallas Cowboys.
Members of the media and the Falcons organization have argued if this victory was Atlanta’s statement game of the season. While it’s too early to truly tell, the win is definitely impressive. Why? There are only a handful of teams that were able to do what the Falcons did to the Giants in Week 15.
Only six times in the history of the NFL has the defending Super Bowl Champion team been shutout in the next season. The New York Giants are the third franchise to suffer a shutout loss following a Super Bowl victory the previous season and are the first franchise in the NFC.
The two other franchises are the Pittsburgh Steelers who were shutout in 1980 and 2006. The Oakland Raiders are the only franchise to suffer multiple shutout losses following a Super Bowl victory. All three shutout losses for the Raiders occurred in the 1981 season.
It gets worse for New York. The 34-point loss is the worst shutout loss for all of the previously mentioned teams. Kansas City’s 27-point shutout win over Oakland was the record that stood for 31 seasons.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.