Pinch yourself, because it’s true: the Falcons have started out the season 2-0.
In doing so, they’ve won a pair of close games, and have done so after blowing leads (some things still don’t change) and then coming back to claim victory (some things DO change). I was in attendance at MetLife Stadium on Sunday for the victory over the Giants, and these are some of the things that stuck out for me afterward.READ MORE: Americans Are Quitting At Record Rates. Georgia Leads The Pack.
1) Just like in their season-opening victory over the Eagles, this was a game the Falcons wouldn’t have won last year. Leadership with a new message can do wonders, and it seems like that’s the case here with Dan Quinn now in control of things. Every Atlanta player I spoke to in the locker room at MetLife Stadium talked about believing even when the Giants jumped out to a 20-10 lead and were knocking at the door again. That’s when the defense (Kroy Biermann) made a play, and the offense grabbed the momentum and scored to completely turn the momentum around. So far through two games, the Falcons have FINISHED strong. That’s why they’re 2-0.
2) Speaking of Biermann, the fan hate must stop. It would be one thing if the guy didn’t give 100% and was a slacker, but Biermann is the antithesis of that. He’s willing to play anywhere and do anything to help the team, and does so with a motor that never stops. Has he been victimized in the past? Certainly. But the guy has fought back from injuries and being miscast by the prior coaching staff, but under Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith, his role is more defined and the expectations more attainable. It’s time that Falcons fans appreciated Biermann a little more, and send some love Kroy’s way.READ MORE: Actor, Comedian Louie Anderson Dies At 68
3) No slight to Matt Bryant — one of the best placekickers in the NFL — but the Falcons won because they kicked only one field goal on the afternoon. As good as this offense has been and can be, failures in the red zone have been a problem in the past. On Sunday they scored three official touchdowns, but also found the end zone on two other occasions before instant replay review wiped them out. The fact that Matt Ryan and Co. got back in for TDs and didn’t fall back on Bryant was a huge factor in the victory. Case in point: in the first quarter the Giants were in the red zone and converted on a 4th and short, but an illegal motion penalty erased it. Tom Coughlin then decided to kick the field goal, and the potential four points that the G-Men left on the field was the difference in the game.
4) As virtually unstoppable as Julio Jones is, he can’t do it alone. Well, maybe he can, but it’s still always good to have help. So on a day in which Roddy White’s 130 consecutive games with a catch streak ended, Leonard Hankerson was reeling in six balls including one for a score. And Hankerson also had one of those TDs that got called back by review. He’s a big and speedy target that has definitely helped upgrade the receiving corps. Now, if Roddy can get back to being Roddy – or even a close facsimile thereof – there’s no telling how dangerous this group can be.MORE NEWS: Peloton Shares Fall After Report It Is Pausing Production Of Fitness Equipment
5) Along with a fresh perspective and attitude adjustment, Quinn has also brought the tight end position back into play. You could see it a little during training camp and the pre-season, that Ryan and Jacob Tamme had developed a nice rapport with one another. It went to another level on Sunday at MetLife as Tamme was a key contributor in crunch time. Ryan certainly missed the retired Tony Gonzalez last season, but it was a fatal mistake by Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter to completely take the tight end position out of the playbook with Gonzo gone. Having worked so well with Peyton Manning in the past, it’s no surprise that Ryan has taken quickly to Tamme. And kudos have to go out to both Quinn and Kyle Shanahan for not only signing Tamme, but also integrating him into the offense.