Since I became a fan in 98 all I remember is pretty much owning the Panthers. Even when we were god-awful with Ken Oxendine at RB and getting 4-5 wins a season we would still beat Caroline. The only game that bucked that trend was that epic beatdown they laid down on us during our 2015 season. Other than that all I can recall off the top of my head is complete and utter ownership of that team. Also, I can't recall a single opposing player that has been completely and utterly "sonned" on spectacular deep catches by Julio Jones more times than Luke Keuchely. You'd think at some point they would try to avoid that match-up
Pretty sure that poster meant if we beat the Saints again, it could effect their standing in the playoff race... meaning we could directly be the difference between the Saints securing a #1 or #2 seed w/ a bye for the Wildcard round & playing games in New Orleans during the playoffs vs. them getting a #4 seed, having to play vs a WC team, & then go on the road for any remaining playoff games. So, while beating them may not do much for our season in the long run, it could greatly impact how hard the Saints' road to the SB is going to be this year.
The Saints have been great at home in the Brees/Payton era, but haven't had much luck going on the road come playoff time. Considering it's not out of the question that us beating them could potentially mean the Saints would have to go to Minny or Seattle (where the Saints have been beat & had their playoff runs ended on soul crushing final possessions in recent years), the Falcons upcoming game vs the Saints could actually be pretty significant.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two weeks ago, Dan Quinn said he told his team to treat the final eight games like a new season. The first one essentially went up in flames, with the Falcons stumbling to a 1-7 record. With a bye falling right in the middle of the season, the idea was to hit a proverbial reset button. The players were asked to forget about the horrendous start and to treat the final eight games like a new year.
Sure, it’s coachspeak to tell 63 players — including the practice squad — to start anew and forget what previously transpired. But with seven losses, what else was there for the Falcons to do? They bought in, started over and got back to work.
And during the past two games, with Atlanta’s 29-3 blowout over the Carolina Panthers being the latest example, the Falcons have suddenly started playing their best football. The defense, in particular, has startled the rest of the league by looking like it is among the league’s best units during these past two weeks.
The defense’s trajectory actually began to change in the second half of Atlanta’s 27-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, which came right before the bye week. Trailing 24-0 at the half, the defense held the Seahawks to only one field goal during the final two quarters. In a win over the New Orleans Saints, the defense gave up only three field goals. Through four quarters against the Panthers, only one field goal hit the scoreboard.
In total, Atlanta has allowed only 15 points and zero touchdowns during the past 10 quarters. That alone has the feeling of Atlanta playing like it’s a brand new team.
“A lot of times you grow weary trying to do the right thing when it isn’t working for you,” defensive end Vic Beasley said. “But I feel we kept believing, kept the faith, and it’s working for us.”
Beasley recorded one of Atlanta’s five sacks Sunday, bringing his total for the season to four. He has recorded 2.5 sacks the past two weeks, with the team as a whole notching 11 sacks during this span. Including those final two quarters against Seattle, that’s 13 sacks in 10 quarters. Asked about the sudden uptick in sacks, considering Atlanta only had seven entering last week, Quinn showed off his humorous side.
“More cowbell,” he said, referencing the famous “Saturday Night Live” sketch.
Quinn, whose hot seat has started to cool a bit, was clearly in a much better mood after a second consecutive victory. He also didn’t want to make too big of a deal about these two wins. After all, Atlanta is still 3-7.
Much has been made when trying to figure out why Atlanta was struggling so much defensively. Here’s a team that isn’t devoid of talent on the roster. Many of the defense’s key players were on the 2016 team that nearly won Super Bowl LI. Therefore, it hasn’t made much sense as to why the roster performed the way it did the first eight games.
As the Falcons have gained some confidence the past two weeks out of the bye, it does appear this is a defense that has completely changed its thinking.
Ricardo Allen, speaking for himself, said there were times when he would try to make a big play instead of doing his job. Perhaps this could apply to some of his teammates, too. Allen referenced a deep post he surrendered against the Arizona Cardinals, in what ended up being a 34-33 defeat. Allen said he covered the play with the intent of trying to pick off the pass instead of sticking to his assignment.
Allen isn’t the only culprit of committing plays like that. For weeks, it seemed defenders were routinely out of position, with no one taking the extra necessary step to communicate a call. Offenses, in turn, made Atlanta pay.
This seemed to stop in the third quarter against Seattle. At halftime of that game, Allen said that the defensive leaders spoke up in the locker room.
“They jumped up on us early,” Allen said. “But we got into the locker room (at halftime), as a defense we were like, ‘Enough is enough.’ Everybody was like, ‘Let’s do our job. Let’s not all try to be playmakers. Let’s do our job and see what happens with that.’”
Since then, and with the benefit of a bye week to regroup and reset, this has been a more disciplined and fundamentally sound defense. The Falcons made Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen’s outing nightmarish. In addition to the five sacks, he took an additional five quarterback hits. He threw four interceptions, with Ricardo Allen, Desmond Trufant, De’Vondre Campbell and Damontae Kazee all recording a pick. Atlanta entered the day with only two interceptions for the year. It now has six.
The only offense Carolina could muster was getting the ball to all-world running back Christian McCaffrey, who totaled 121 receiving yards and 70 rushing yards. But those empty yards came in catch-up mode. From the beginning of the game, Atlanta had Carolina chasing from behind.
“We’re doing it at all levels,” Trufant said. “The D-line’s rushing, the linebackers are hitting and covering. And the back end, we’re covering and tackling in space. We’re just doing what we practice. What the game plan is, we’re executing. We’re playing with energy, we’re having fun. It’s starting to come together for us.”
It was one thing for the Falcons to defeat the Saints in a big rivalry game, which could be seen as a one-off moment. To replicate the performance a week later suggests that perhaps this team has turned a corner defensively.
“We started slow. We weren’t executing like we are now,” Beasley said. “That’s really what it is. It comes down to execution each and every week. Last week, people probably thought it was a fluke. But we bought into the process, worked hard the next week and we came out here and performed well. We’ll go back and try to do the same thing against Tampa Bay.”
This recent turn of events doesn’t make it any less puzzling. If anything, it has a lot of people wondering how and why it took so long for the Falcons to play the way many expected them to before the 2019 season began.
Sure, moving Raheem Morris from coaching receivers to defensive backs turned out to be perhaps the best move Quinn could have possibly made. And allocating play-calling duties to Morris and Jeff Ulbrich has freed up Quinn to spend even more time with some of his other head coaching duties.
But it’s not like anything from a schematic perspective is different. It’s still the same defense. The calls, according to the players, haven’t changed. Atlanta is just a different team at this stage of the season. It no longer resembles the bad team that hit a six-game losing streak, which, barring a miracle, will be what keeps it from having a shot at a postseason berth.
“And that’s what makes it bittersweet, really,” cornerback Isaiah Oliver said. “We’re finally playing the way we expected to play back in September. It’s not like we have new players or new plays. It’s the same thing. We’re calling the same thing back in Week 1.
“It’s just working.”
I don't think off-season momentum exists for a team that scraped together three wins against the Cardinals, Bucs, and Panthers - teams with a 2018 record of 15-33. I don't think it's a thing when one of those wins required a historic comeback, you follow it up by firing your OC and DC, and you pay Beasley an undeserved 13m. I don't think it's a thing when you ignore all but one weakness - your OL - in the off-season.
I do think it's a thing if blowing out two division rivals on the road - both with winning records - turns into a 6-2 or better end to the season. I think it's a thing if the combination of individuals that led to this turnaround is retained and hones what works. I think it's a thing if we use our massive draft capital well and make good moves in the off-season.
There's a lot that still has to happen to say this team will have "momentum" going into next season. You can't gut a team and still have momentum; that's why acting like we would after last year doesn't make sense. But look at the 1997 Falcons. Started 1-7, ended 6-2. Kept what they had to finish the season going. 1998 was a special year. Marked by typical Falcons dumb****ery at the end, but a special year regardless. I think if we keep the defensive arrangement we have right now and close the season strong, then have a good off-season...absolutely, we could have great momentum.
One NFL Beat Reporter Had The Worst Mason Rudolph-Myles Garrett Take: TRAINA THOUGHTS
BY JIMMY TRAINA , NOV 15, 2019
1. We now live in a world where it's completely routine for people to tell you that you didn't see something that you actually saw with your own two eyes.
What happened last night was as simple and as straight-forward as it gets. Myles Garrett took a football helmet and tried to slam it on top of Mason Rudolph's head. Nothing else needs to be explained. Nothing else needs to be said. Nothing else matters.
Naturally, fans will try to spin it. Players will try to spin it. People who know Garrett will try to spin it.
However, you'd expect an NFL beat reporter to be above it all. So it was stunning, to me at least, to see Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionFalcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter die on the hill that Mason Rudolph was just as much to blame for what happened last night as Myles Garret.
Again, as you read these absurd tweets, keep in mind that this take isn't coming from some wack-job fan. This is an actual NFL beat reporter. Congrats to Ledbetter. With just six weeks remaining in 2019, he has clearly wrapped up the "Dumbest Sports Take of the Year" award.
It's actually a tie, but Lebetter is responsible for both winners with "Mason Rudolph should get suspended" and "Mason Rudolph should get the same suspension as Myles Garrett."
I know his times probably up mate.
Thing I respect about him right now I think he understands he’s made a lot of mistakes but is fighting to the bitter end.
Hes put his ego and everything else aside and whatever it takes to get the team across the line he’s doing his best to get it done.
I don’t see any give up from him and I can respect that.
Heard you’ve been through some tough times good to see you back.
I'll only say this once.. If this team Signs Crapernick.. I'm done
I've endured a ton of crap as a Falcons fan and many putrid seasons.. but sign that Kneeling piece of poop to this team and I am 100% done