The Falcons limped into the bye at 1-7, with some expecting that owner Arthur Blank would make a coaching change. He didn’t, and that has helped the Falcons find their footing over the past two weeks.
Quarterback Matt Ryan, who moved to No. 10 on the all-time passing yardage list during Sunday’s 29-3 (better than 28-3) win over the Panthers, told PFT after the game that the consistency and continuity that came from keeping coach Dan Quinn in place has contributed to the sudden and unexpected hot streak for the Falcons.
The bye week brought no specific effort, no players-only meeting or moment of inspiration, to turn things around. Ryan said that the players simply remained confident that, if they keep doing what they’ve been doing and iron out some of the mistakes, the wins will come.
The wins have come. Making it easier to launch a winning streak has been a slate of five straight games against divisional rivals. And they’ve won the hardest of the bunch, with victories at New Orleans and Carolina. Next up: Three home games, against the Bucs, Saints (on Thanksgiving night), and Panthers.
I danced around the concept with Ryan of the Falcons playing the role of spoiler down the stretch, and Ryan pushed back. He said that they will control what they can control, and that they will try to keep building on what they’ve done and see where they are when the dust settles.
And who knows where they will be? For now, the place that opponents won’t want to be is playing the Falcons. Even if the postseason is out of the question for 2019, they could end up laying a solid foundation for 2020.