The second half in the Georgia Dome is setting up to be one long celebration of the Falcons grabbing the fifth seed in the playoffs.
Barring one of the unlikeliest comebacks in football history, Mike Smith will take his Falcons to the NFC East champion next weekend for a first-round game in the NFC. The Falcons lead 42-7 behind an overwhelming effort against a fairly pathetic Buccaneers team that clearly has no interest in competing any more this season. That likely spells the end of Raheem Morris’ time in Tampa, as the Bucs will end the year on a 10-game losing streak without looking remotely competitive in most of those games.
That’s for the 2012 season, though. The more immediate issue is this year’s playoffs and the Falcons are doing themselves a solid with this rout of the Buccaneers. Instead of going to the Superdome for a date with a Saints team that just crushed them, the Falcons will be playing either the Giants or the Cowboys. While a road playoff game is never easy, those opponents have bigger and more obvious flaws than the Saints and should give Atlanta a better chance to win.
Matt Flynn deserves some thanks for helping the Falcons out, but they’ve done plenty all by themselves. They opened the game with a clear purpose and put it into motion immediately. They knew the Bucs would be half-dead when they took the field and they finished the job by the halfway point of the first quarter.
Michael Turner is one of the guys responsible for the onslaught this Sunday. Turner has 172 yards and two touchdowns, including an 81-yard scamper that’s the second-longest in franchise history. He isn’t likely to build on those numbers as the Falcons have put Chris Redman in at quarterback and appear content to cruise on to next week without risking their biggest names to injury in the second half this week.