The 12th man is real
I am going to start off with this because, unfortunately, this is what everyone is talking about. With the game on the line on a 4th and 10, Matt Ryan launched a ball downfield to Julio Jones in a desperate attempt to reclaim a game that had seemingly slipped from their grasp. Richard Sherman clearly holds the arm of Julio Jones and commits pass interference, but there was no call. The play sealed the 26-24 victory for the Seahawks.
To start things off, the NFL has to fix this. There is just no way a game should end like this. Defensive pass interference should be reviewable. Name a case where adding replay has hurt the game of football? There is not one. Fans want to see the game called right, and adding a extra couple minutes here or there would only help the game. It is not like the number of challenges per team is going to change. It just has to happen because this was just an unfortunate ending to a terrific game.
Secondly, the 12th man is REAL. Not only is this crowd absolutely raucous for three hours every Sunday. If not in CenturyLink field than probably at some bar annoying way too many people wearing some sort of feathery outfit that might be a Seahawk?
This crowd legitimately has an effect on the game, and not just in a creating false starts and making it hard for opponents to communicate on offense type of way. On that final fourth down for Atlanta, the referee had to make a split second decision on a play happening faster than his mind could think. He did not pull that flag because with that crowd and that reputation, he is a dead man if he does. There are very few places where home-field advantage is that great, but Seattle is one of them, remember the famous Fail Mary.
Lastly, this one hurts. Not just because the pass interference, but because Atlanta had this game in the bag and wasted a huge opportunity to make a statement. The Falcons have had trouble really closing out teams all season, allowing several teams such as the Panthers, Saints and Broncos to hang around a lot longer than they should have. This is obviously something Atlanta needs to continue to work on, so this should serve as a terrific learning experience for a young team that looks to be headed for great things.
The Atlanta Falcons are legit
I am tired of hearing analysts comparing this Falcons team to last year. There are just way too many things wrong with it. I had to listen to Ronde Barber talk for 5 minutes on Fox during the game about why the Falcons are not really legit, and that this task in Seattle was just a little too much for them. He kept his mouth shut about that in the second half. Analysts have picked a part this team looking for why they are not going to win on a weekly basis, and the Falcons just keep exceeding expectations. It’s time for everyone to take notice, Atlanta is a legit Super Bowl contender.
The Falcons offensive line has been terrific at keeping Matt Ryan clean, and when he has time he has been absolutely deadly. The offensive line struggled in the first half on Sunday, but rebounded in the second and the Falcons offense took off. Atlanta can score on anyone now. The addition of Alex Mack might be the single most important free agent addition of the whole offseason for any team thus far. He has solidified not just the Falcons run game, but their passing game as well. The additions of receivers like Sanu and Gabriel, along with the breakout ability of a healthy Tevin Coleman has made this offense almost unstoppable.
However, this defense has shown signs of significant improvement as well. Keanu Neal may turn out to be the defensive rookie of the year if he continues his stellar play. The Falcons second-round pick, Deion Jones has also excelled early in the first few games of his career. The Atlanta defense now has a burst of youth and speed that it did not have before Dan Quinn took over. The Falcons are not going to be known as a defensive team, but do not be surprised if they keep taking major strides in the right direction as these young players continue to gain confidence.
Matt Ryan is the hands down MVP through 6 weeks of the season
I do not know what got into this guy, actually I do. I have been saying this for years, Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback when given protection. He is as good as it gets and right now he is on absolute fire. His third quarter against Seattle (when he was finally given a few seconds of time) was an absolute thing of beauty.
He has already thrown for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns, and really has only one interception that was of his own doing. The other two were on passes that should have been caught but were tipped up in the air. Matt Ryan and Kyle Shanahan are in such a groove right now, that they were throwing on first down with 3 minutes left and a one-point against the vaunted Seattle defense. It does not matter who the Falcons play now, you can pencil Matt Ryan in for a big day. I do not think this stops, and its time to legitimately start thinking about Matt Ryan as an MVP candidate.