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Undefeated Falcons, Even Not At Their Best, Still Playing Winning Football


FentayeJones
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ATLANTA -- Matt Ryan didn’t have his best game Sunday with two interceptions, a fumble in the red zone and a passer rating of 55.1.

That didn’t mean Ryan failed to play winning football. In fact, one play late in the fourth quarter epitomized Ryan’s mentality in a 25-19 OT win over the Washington Redskins. Down 16-12 from the Redskins’ 21-yard line with just over a minute left in regulation, Ryan scrambled right and then lowered his shoulder in an attempt to barrel over Redskins safety Kyshoen Jarrett. Ryan picked up eight yards on the play, and the Falcons ended the drive with Devonta Freeman’s 6-yard touchdown run.

Just in case any of his teammates missed the play, Ryan made sure to give them a reminder.

"I was right there," wide receiver Julio Jones said. "He just asked me (postgame), `Hey, did you see me run that guy over? I was like, 'Um, you’ve got to get a little lower.’ He was too high. He’s not accustomed to trying to run someone over."

Fellow receiver Roddy White was well aware of it, too, and offered a different response.

"It wasn’t good," White said with a laugh. "You never want to see your quarterback go out there and hit people. I would rather him have just run out of bounds and get back to the huddle. We don't need him to get a concussion. ... I told him that wasn’t that smart."

Whatever the case, Ryan stepping out of his comfort zone to even attempt such a maneuver was symbolic of how these 5-0 Falcons are willing to do the little things in order to succeed.

Like Ryan, Jones didn’t have his typical game, with just five catches for 57 yards against another suffocating defensive effort. However, Jones played winning football when he hustled after a fumble by Freeman and fell on it in the end zone for a fourth-quarter touchdown. On the play preceding the touchdown, Jones threw an outstanding block down the left sideline to help spring Freeman for 11 of his career-high 153 rushing yards.

And Jones entered Sunday’s game battling nagging hamstring and toe injuries.

"I just try to be the complete player," Jones said. "I say all the time, if it’s blocking for my brothers or going out there drawing coverage for my brothers, I’m going to do whatever it takes. At the end of the day, I want to win."

Winning football is White, who expressed a desire for more touches, being content with just two catches but making one of those count on a crucial fourth-quarter fourth down. Winning football is cornerback Robert Alford shaking off a 42-yard pass-interference penalty to come up with the game-winning, 59-yard interception return for a touchdown in overtime. Winning football is defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux notching back-to-back defensive stops early in the third quarter to force a 53-yard field-goal attempt, which Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins missed to keep critical points off the board.

All those plays add up when a team known for its offensive explosiveness isn’t firing on all cylinders or when a reliable kicker such as Matt Bryant uncharacteristically misses two field goals.

"Good teams find ways to win, even when it’s not pretty," Ryan said. "I certainly didn’t play my best football today. But we still found a way to get it done. And guys kept competing. And I think that’s what Dan (Quinn) talks about all the time: Regardless of the situation, you have to go out there, you have to compete. I think guys did that today.

"Hopefully, regardless of how the rest of the season shakes out -- we can’t worry about that, we’ve got to take it one game at a time -- but if we continue to (compete), I think we’ll be OK."

The Falcons are undefeated going into Thursday night’s matchup against the rival New Orleans Saints (1-4) for a reason: They refuse to lose.

http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/183370/undefeated-falcons-even-not-at-their-best-still-playing-winning-football

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A win is a win. This is one of those wins that are damnear a loss so it should help refocus our guys. They played terrible. I'm talking the worst game I've seen the offense play in years not due to injury to multiple players.

Definitely not the worst in years, though I get the gist of your post. We made a ton of mistakes but our run game was near flawless, and we moved the ball well overall. Definitely one of Ryan's poorer games though.

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A win is a win. This is one of those wins that are damnear a loss so it should help refocus our guys. They played terrible. I'm talking the worst game I've seen the offense play in years not due to injury to multiple players.

Not even close.

Cards game of 2012 was much worse.

Oddly enough the last time we played the Skins was pretty terrible as well. Both teams were trying to give the game away and couldn't do it until the Skins missed the final 2 pt conversion.

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A win is a win. This is one of those wins that are damnear a loss so it should help refocus our guys. They played terrible. I'm talking the worst game I've seen the offense play in years not due to injury to multiple players.

Offensively the passing game was below par the running game right now with Freeman yes Freeman looks close to a juggernaut right now.

Watching the first 2 QTRs defensively especially against the run YYYOOOUUUUZZZAAA I'm liking it alot.That Run D front with Hageman Tjax Soliai and Beasley looks really good.Throw Durant back in with those LBers I'm liking us alot Stupar has been a very nice surprise.

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Undoubtedly one of the ugliest games I've ever seen the Falcons play on offense and still win. I'm not sure whether to rejoice in our capacity to win so ugly, or freak out wondering if this is the beginning of a mid-season swoon and regression back to playing just good enough to lose, ie Smittyball v2.0.

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Not even close.

Cards game of 2012 was much worse.

Oddly enough the last time we played the Skins was pretty terrible as well. Both teams were trying to give the game away and couldn't do it until the Skins missed the final 2 pt conversion.

yeah I think that was the year there were a lot of 'tanker' threads on their board and Mike Shanny obliged them there

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