When it comes to the NFL and bye weeks, there’s never a bad time for one. The league is so brutal, that these players can get so much out of just an extra week of rest. Especially for these 3-4 Falcons, who have a multitude of guys hoping to get healthy for the season’s second half.
There are several coaches who clearly make the most out of the bye. Andy Reid, infamously had not lost a game following a bye week until his final season in Philadelphia, where he lost to the Falcons in 2012. He followed it up with his second loss in 2013 to the Denver Broncos. Those two teams had a combined one loss, and are the only blemishes compared to 16 wins the week after a bye.
Similarly, former Falcons coach, Mike Smith, was notoriously better following a bye week, going 5-1 in the regular season.
Dan Quinn, on the other hand, has yet to figure out how to turn that extra week of practice and rest into wins. Since taking over as the Falcons head coach in 2015, Atlanta is only 1-2 following a bye week, including last year’s disappointing loss to the Dolphins, that saw the Falcons blow a 17-point lead in the second half.
His only win came in 2016, a 38-19 drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals. In 2015, the Falcons lost a close game to the Colts at home 24-21. To say it nicely, that was a game loaded with miscues, much like their performance versus the Dolphins last season.
Falcons fans would like to think this is nothing more than a mere coincidence; however, it’s no accident Andy Reid, or Mike Smith or Ron Rivera are nearly perfect, in a league where it’s impossible to be perfect, following a bye. It’s also no fluke that the Falcons have come out flat following the bye week.
Atlanta has the opportunity to get a crucial win in Washington next week, facing a team coming off of four straight games and two tough divisional matchups. The Falcons should be the much fresher team with everything to play for in a virtual must-win if they want to stay alive in the Wild Card let alone the NFC South. We will see if Quinn has what it takes to make the most out of the extra time and earn a critical road victory, that would put the Falcons right back into the playoff conversation.