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A Tdwii Observation: The 0:31 Near-Death Experience Of January 13, 2013


TheDirtyWordII
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In no uncertain terms, the credibility of the Atlanta Falcons franchise and regime was at stake with 0:31 seconds left to go and the Falcons having unbelievably surrendered what should have been an insurmountable 20-point 4th quarter lead. There wasn’t a soul in the Georgia Dome that didn’t know this. A soul. To the Falcons credit, all was not lost in that moment. For 5 years, willingly or not, the Falcons have dug themselves out of holes that resembled this. It was during those moments that allowed a tortured fan base to believe that these Falcons and this franchise was turning a corner. That it wasn’t going to be same old Falcons. But never had the hole been bottomless.

For 5 seasons, the Falcons have labored to dispel the notion that the Falcons were pretenders on the NFL landscape. They could point to the vanquishing of the back-to-back winning season mark as proof of change. They could point to the stellar regular season mark during a 5-year stretch that could only be bettered by the gold standard of NFL franchises, the New England Patriots. And the Falcons would be right in feeling vindicated to an extent that they had changed the culture of a franchise, perhaps a city, by nature of the work and the accomplishments of this regime.

But two years ago, the Falcons learned that on the canvas that matters, the aforementioned NFL landscape, whatever success the Falcons achieved…that would be accompanied by ‘BUT’. When the Green Bay Packers, on their way to a SuperBowl title steamrolled these Falcons, it was if the door to a whole new world opened up. The feel good nature of the Falcons ‘process’ which had been completely focused on matters only they could control within the confines of their comfortable surroundings in Flowery Branch, was replaced by the stark realization that ‘feel good’ was no longer good enough. And so the Falcons have toiled since that dark day in the NFL’s version of purgatory. A team that at face value appeared to have the attributes of a major NFL player…a franchise that should be poised to achieve the only level of success that matter in the annals of NFL lore – playoff success, but had fumbled away it’s chance to experience it.

And as such, after coming full circle to be hosting the same game that caused the Falcons to be stuck in neutral for the past two seasons, the Falcons stared down the barrel of a gun that would have blown their self-esteem to shreds. It would have meant 0-4. It would have meant doing it via the type of significant organizational collapse that gets immortalized by NFL Films. There would have been no recovering from that. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice…shame old Falcons.

So on January 13, 2013, these Falcons were near death. There was no recourse for them but to take these 0:31 seconds and find a way to avoid a torturous fate. And while in the postgame interviews, the Falcons expressed glancing relief that they’d avoid the fate and the questions that would have been amplified to triple digit decibel levels had they not come through, it’s fair to say that these 31 seconds became the most important in franchise history. More important than Morten Andersen’s FG, more important than anything that occurred both positive and negative during the Michael Vick era. There is simply no comparison. Whatever happens next Sunday, no outcome compares to enormous consequence that would have befallen this franchise had history written a 28-27 result.

We all know this team is far from flawless. It’s entirely reasonable to see the Falcons flaws as fatal as it relates to their ability to be the last team standing this season. Their inability and refusal to put teams away belies a killer instinct which has been a primary complaint that has dogged this franchise now for years. Against any of the 3 teams remaining in this NFL season, well, you wonder how the Falcons could get through 120 minutes of football victorious. But they’ve also showed the ability to be dominant and that is what is so tantalizing to anyone who watches this team. While it’s their resilience that keeps their chances alive today, it’s these stretches that keep the flame of hope alive. At their best, the Falcons are as tough a team to beat as any other team…it’s just that their best seems to have a shelf life of one half for the most part. The other half is to be endured. It’s a precarious recipe for success and invites doubters by the millions. But it’s who these Falcons are for better or worse. But at least today, the chance of better lives on.

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Its the ebb and flow of F/Ball though I guess.

I'd love to see a 60 minute performance to but for some reason this team just very seldom seems to be able to put it together which if I'm honest is very disconcerting.

But TDW MS & yourself have used the word resilience and if you look at it not a truer word spoken.

Edited by kiwifalcon
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I need the Cliff's Notes version of this post.

we had the lead, we let it slip away, with :31 seconds on the clock we got the ball and drove down for a winning field goal. As Falcons fans, we knew from history they could do this.

pretty much sums it up. do yourself a favor though, and read it, it's worth it

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Very well put, and I agree on all points.

I've have waved the Falcons flag since my late father (a season ticket holder) took me to games 35+ years ago. Now I take my son, for the last 5 seasons, since he was 5.

As the Seahawks were driving, I just sat quietly amidst the mayhem and seriously pondered whether I could subject myself and my son to any more devasting collapses. It really felt like the end of the road. I was feeling like it wouldn't be emotionally healthy for me to remain a fan if we lost that game in that way, and I would hate for my son to go one step further down that path. I really was pondering emotional self-preservation at that point. I even thought about getting my son out of the Dome ASAP because we saw some really ugly behavior (and arrests) at halftime of the Packers playoff defeat.

The Seahawks scored and he teared up. Then I told him to look at the clock and remember the Chicago '08 game. We call it the "NEVER GIVE UP" game. In hindsight, I feel like the biggest sucker in the world for daring to have any hope in the Falcons at that moment. But, it paid off. Thank heaven, and the Falcons, it paid off.

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as usual, TDWII hits the mark.

Falcons credibility was on the line......thankfully we pulled that game out - the collapse before the comeback - was epic.

I really think Nolan is doing the best he can with an understaffed front seven - Falcons really need to figure out a way in the offseason to bring some "stoutness" to this defense.

Maybe we can go skinny on the O-Line if it can keep playing like that. Do we need another RB? YES - Turner found his game finally but he is at the end and we would be fools to go into 2013 with Turner still on the roster at anything close to his $7 million salary.

This team needs a real pass rush threat outside of Abe - and we need a real thumper in the middle on run downs and a pass rusher in the middle on passing downs. Otherwise, the script will stay the same on Falcons.

Give credit, we hung on and the offense bailed the defense out at the end.

Hopefully, we can "scotch-tape" this defense together for two more wins - but its very flawed.

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Quizz and Turner still should be getting at least 20 carries a game each. We were running the ball well and we just abandoned it trying to pass on arguably the best secondary in the league. Then came another INT (don't know why Ryan threw that) and quick three and outs, and before you know it Seattle was knocking on the door of victory.

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On this one I'm gonna give some props to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks,most teams wilt after scoring 7 and having the Falcons drive another 7 plus minute drive and answer with & point score of their own.Not saying it isn't worrisome but that was a **** good team the Falcons beat.

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On this one I'm gonna give some props to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks,most teams wilt after scoring 7 and having the Falcons drive another 7 plus minute drive and answer with & point score of their own.Not saying it isn't worrisome but that was a **** good team the Falcons beat.

we made it fairly easy on Russell Wilson though. Tight End was open ALL DAY.

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