Entering Sunday afternoon against the Redskins, the Falcons knew a victory would ultimately get them back to .500 and put them back into the fold for the NFC Playoffs. After a 1-4 start to the season, Atlanta had won two-straight games versus the lowly Bucs and Giants but needed this win over the first place Redskins to legitimately swing the momentum back in their favor.
Knowing that they delivered their most dominant showing of the season.
Matt Ryan continued to boost his MVP-bid with a 350-yard, 4 touchdown performance, but the most impressive part about the win was the offensive line. For the first time since Tevin Coleman went for over 100 yards against the Panthers in week 2, Atlanta was able to establish a reliable running game, and they did it against a Washington defensive front that prides itself in stuffing the run.
Coleman led the Falcons with 88 yards on 13 carries and added 68 more yards on 5 receptions with 2 touchdowns. Ito Smith was also a major contributor, rushing 10 times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
With Atlanta’s 38-14 road win over the NFC East-leading Redskins, the Dirty Birds have now won three-straight NFC games, putting them just a half-game behind the NFC’s sixth-seeded, Minnesota Vikings. With eight games left, these Falcons have fought back from the dead and have a fighting chance of making the playoffs for the third-straight season.
I will be honest, when the Falcons took a pounding in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, I thought the season was more than over. The defense couldn’t get on the same page, the offensive line looked terrible, and Devonta Freeman left the game with another major injury. From the outside, things looked pretty darn bleak, but for the Falcons, they never gave up.
With eight games remaining versus the Browns, Cowboys, Saints, Ravens, Packers, Cardinals, Panthers, and Bucs – I really like Atlanta’s chances of getting into the postseason. As of right now, the only teams on that list who will definitely make the playoffs are the Saints and Panthers. We will take each game one week at a time, but things are finally trending upward for the Falcons, and a Thanksgiving trip to New Orleans with a 6-4 record is looking more and more likely.