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It might not always be pretty, but self-belief is fueling an undefeated run.
It wasn't pretty, some players looked utterly lost, and yet, none of it mattered. The Atlanta Falcons now sit at a vaunted 6-0, a mark that has never been achieved by the organization, and now Mike Smith is tied as the most winning coach in team history. It would be easy to focus on how uncharacteristically Matt Ryan played, or that Michael Turner made utterly no impact-- but none of it matters.
What separates good teams is a healthy smattering of luck, and a good dose of belief. The Falcons have both in spades. Yesterday's game was a lot like the contest with the Carolina Panthers earlier in the season. It wasn't necessarily a case of Atlanta being the better team, but they were better when it counted.
Each week there has been a clear offensive difference maker that has defined each Atlanta Falcons' victory-- this wasn't the case against the Raiders. One could probably make a labored argument for Roddy White and his 72 yards, but really it was all about John Abraham.
Along with Tony Gonzalez, it's John Abraham who are Atlanta's ageless wonders. Against the Oakland it wasn't just the five solo tackles, the three sacks, or the forced fumble, it was the consistent pressure every single down that Abraham got on Carson Palmer that made all the difference. He got his passing yards, but it stopped the big plays from developing, which have been the Raiders' only real offensive success in 2012.
It took a huge field goal by Matt Bryant in the dying moments, but Sunday's game was yet another test of Atlanta's fortitude, and they came up big again. The great teams each year find ways to snatch games from the jaws of defeat, and so too the Falcons are finding ways to keep their record unblemished. The only question now is "How long will this keep going?"