Last night might have set some sort immeasurable record for Falcons wins least in doubt - from the moment Michael Turner rumbled through the Jacksonville line on the first play, it felt like the entire game was effortless for the red and black. But while it was a blowout this emerging offense so desperately needed to justify its costly assembly, it only ranked #20 on the list of all-time Falcon whippings.
The record for points differential in a Falcons win is a 1973 victory over the Saints (because they sucked and no one liked them and this is an inarguable fact of journalism), 62-7, a 53-point differential. Last night's 41-14 effort was good for 20th all-time (27 points total), and despite a feeling that this franchise has turned a corner (combined with the second half of Sunday's win over Carolina, Atlanta has outscored opponents 65-14 in six quarters of football), it's not even a Top 3 blowout in the Dimitroff/Smith era. You could argue these three cakewalks had more significance, too:
- Atlanta 45, San Francisco 10 (October 11, 2009) A hapless Mike Singletary team was ripped up in a cathartic win at Old Candlestick - if you're old enough to remember computers without internet, you're old enough to remember countless 30 points-plus whippings in the 1980s and 90s.
- Atlanta 41, Arizona 7 (September 19, 2010) After an opening loss at Pittsburgh, this Week 2 win at home kickstarted the Falcons' 13-win NFC South title campaign. Coming off a 9-7 '09, this win raised expectations of what the Falcons could accomplish.
- Atlanta 31, Buffalo 3 (December 27, 2009) A forgettable late season thumping, but it was one of two wins that the underperforming '09 squad used to break the franchise's "no consecutive winning seasons" albatross. Consider that last night's win sealed a fourth consecutive winning season, and the otherwise ignored 9-7 '09 season suddenly matters more for fan pride.