In previous games, we've seen the Falcons get complacent and squander halftime leads, allowing inferior opponents back in to the game and keeping them unnecessarily close. Tonight, I can say with full confidence the Falcons played an absolutely complete game, sixty minutes of outstanding football.
The defense allowed only seven points, the lone touchdown being against the second-stringers in garbage time. Blaine Gabbert was held to only 141 yards passing, and turned the ball over three times. Maurice Jones-Drew, while he eclipsed the century mark on the ground, was also largely held in check.
John Abraham was a one man wrecking crew, racking up 3.5 sacks and forcing two fumbles on a night Gabbert spent mostly running for his life. In total the Falcons sacked the rookie QB five times, and Thomas DeCoud would add to the dominance with a tip-drill interception in the second half.
On offense, the Falcons put up a season-high 41 points and were firing on every cylinder imaginable. Matt Ryan was an impressive 19-for-26 for 224 yards passing and three touchdowns, but the real story was the receiving duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones. Jones finished the day with five catches for 85 yards and a score, while White managed to catch 10 (count 'em) 10 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Whatever Mike Smith and the coaching staff at halftime last week, it obviously worked because this is certainly not the same Falcons team we saw struggle at the start of the year. They've gained a renewed confidence, and are building some real momentum at the perfect time.
Tonight's win is perhaps the best you'll see from the Atlanta Falcons. Heck, this about as dominant as you can expect any NFL team to play. With this blowout win, the Falcons move 9-5 and will be looking strong heading into next week's Monday Night matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
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