The Atlanta Falcons sported a sub-.300 winning percentage on Monday Night Football coming into last night’s tilt with the Denver Broncos. Moreover, Matt Ryan, the most successful QB in franchise history was 0-3 in Monday night games. It’s not just the playoffs, people. The Falcons, as well as their Atlanta sports brethren seem to shrink on the big stage. (Why do you think this blog is called “Coming Up Small”?)
The trend ended last night. For three quarters, the Falcons defense buzzed about, confused Peyton Manning, and swarmed the ball as if it were Tippi Hedren in The Birds. The offense was less impressive early on, leaving points on the field during a first quarter in which the Broncos turned the ball over four times. The score should have been 20-0, at least, at that point, but the Falcons, who might still lack a killer instinct, were only up 10.
Still, they gutted out the win, and the season’s first two games have now featured one outstanding turn by the offense and one outstanding turn by the defense. If coordinators Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan ever decide to bring it on the same day, the Falcons would have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
But, please, can I at least have a second to savor this win?
Michael Turner says, “No.” It took him roughly four hours to go from sealing the game with a first-down run in the last two minutes to getting a DUI 30 miles away from the Georgia Dome. The offense would have killed for that level of efficiency. And I’d guess it takes a substantial amount of moonshine to get a man his size over the legal limit.
What that means for the next few games, I don’t know. But, Jacquizz Rodgers is probably the only football-aware person in (or from) Atlanta who woke up this morning to the news without shaking his or her head.
Add to that my perpetual frustration with the Falcons-related cut downs levied by Sports Guy Bill Simmons. To Mike Lombardi, on last week’s B.S. Report podcast after last week’s crushing of the Chiefs: “You’re not buying the Falcons yet, are you?” And on Twitter after last night’s game, “Atlanta took care of business but left me lukewarm. Night game, up 20-0 at home, get 4 1st half TO’s…and they’re sweating out last 5 mins?”
A win’s a win, Bill. Especially when it comes against probably the best NFL QB of all time, who was 11-3 on Monday Night Football up until last night. Oh, and I’d wager that the Falcons would have been able to handle Kevin Kolb at home, no problem.