There’s nothing like a game against your division rival, but Sunday’s matchup delivered a few extra surprises. Before the game, owner Arthur Blank was given a LEED Certified Platinum plaque for Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Julio Jones put up another 250-yard receiving game with two touchdowns to boot, and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu threw a 51-yard touchdown. The game literally had everything.
The Falcons, just six days ago, were at Century Link Field in Seattle shooting for a pivotal away-win against the Seahawks. Fast forward to Sunday after they snuck away with a “W”, they handle business against division rival Tampa Bay.
Quarterback Matt Ryan went 26 of 35 for 317 yards and a touchdown on the day. Another solid performance by the Falcons offense shows how dangerous they can be when firing on all cylinders. “We knew we were going to get some opportunities to get Julio Jones the ball for sure,” said Matt Ryan after the game. “The way their scheme sets up shows that they’re sound in what they do. They don’t change, in terms of personnel that they go against, all that much.”
Julio Jones had a monster day with a staggering 12 receptions and 253 yards. One of his two touchdowns (pictured above) was a one-handed diving extension across the corner pylon.
Running back Tevin Coleman held down the run-game in Devonta Freeman’s absence and ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Today’s victory proves that the Falcons can get by with above average defense as long as their offense is firing on all cylinders. Their record improves to 7-4 while the Bucs fall to 4-7. It would seem like the division is for the Falcons to lose at this point.
“To date for us, you hear us talk and use the word brotherhood, but that’s exactly the style and attitude of what this game was,” said Head Coach Dan Quinn. “We had some guys go down defensively, had Tru (Desmond Trufant) go down and (Brian) Poole go down. Some guys stepped in and made plays.”
His reference to Trufant was about a collision with a teammate while making a play. It was kind of reckless but since they won, I’m sure it won’t be made into ‘a thing’. Had they lost it’d be another story.
Next Sunday, December 3, the Falcons will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and host the Minnesota Vikings. We’ll see what the brotherhood has up their sleeves next week.
Photo: Hakim Wright