Hurry-up offense? Explosive passing game? Julio Jones? What's all that fuss worth when Atlanta can grind out a two-touchdown win over a division opponent? Sunday's 31-17 win over the Panthers was vintage 2010 Atlanta Falcons, when Ryan took to the air with reserve and hit just enough key third down passes to keep defenses honest against workhorse Michael Turner. It might be regression in terms of this team's offensive evolution, but it was undoubtedly a win.
Fullback Ovie Mughelli, who caught a touchdown pass:
"This is what we do. This is what we enjoy doing. We practice running the ball hard. We practice moving guys off the line, and scoring.
Turner was impressed with the play of the offensive line, and obviously has no problems "reverting" back to a run-heavy offense:
"I saw a lot of green as a running back today. The offensive line provided huge running lanes to make big runs. We wanted to give the team a big spark by producing a good amount of yards on the ground, and controlling the clock. We wanted to play hard for the team and I am very pleased with the performance.
"I believe [running more than 20 times a game] wears defenses out. It also plays to one of our biggest strengths as an offense. There is no question the rushing attack is a big part of our team identity. That said, we do understand the importance of having a strong passing game and being multi-dimensional.
Head coach Mike Smith admitted that run-first was the game plan all along:
"We wanted to run the football and control the line of scrimmage, and that was what we wanted to do in the ballgame. It was our game plan, and that allowed us to control the clock."