In earning their league-best 14th win of the season and notching the franchise’s first playoff victory since 2005, the Atlanta Falcons proved that no team in the league takes more care to ensure that their vanquished opponents feel good about themselves.
Most teams—including the lowly Raiders, the QB-poor Cardinals, and the better-than-their-record Panthers—leave the Georgia Dome believing (often with just cause) that four times out of five, they would have won the game they just lost. The Seattle Seahawks certainly have to feel that way after narrowly losing to the Falcons despite coming back from a 20-point deficit by scoring 21-unanswered points in the first 14-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter of yesterday’s divisional playoff game. It’s hometown paper apparently does. The Seattle Times went with the relatively chipper headline: “Playoff loss hurts, but Seahawks will be back.”
After the game, all Russell Wilson could talk about was how excited he was for next season. The Falcons didn’t demoralize the seemingly unflappable rookie QB, they emboldened him. Whoops.
At halftime, it appeared that the Falcons, which in three of the past four seasons have come up small in the playoffs, were about to have their coming out party. But, by the fourth quarter the Falcons that we fans have been in an unhealthy relationship with for decades reared their heads, proving incapable of picking up first downs on offense and not surrendering them on D. They won the game on thanks to a drive authored by the aptly named Matty Ice. Great, but, c’mon man, we had a 20-point lead at home with 15 minutes to play?
Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson put it best, or rather put it as I have many times in the past: “”We’ve got to develop a killer mentality. We don’t put people away well enough when we get the chance.”
A win’s a win, I know, but when you play the Falcons, the NFL’s most considerate franchise, the door’s always open—both to you stealing a win and to the Dirty Birds coming up small.