The Falcons closed the first half of the season with a win over the Panthers on Thursday night that leaves them with a 2-6 record halfway through the season.
It’s a familiar spot for the team. They were 1-7 halfway through last season and then won six of their final eight games to give head coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff more time in their jobs.
Quinn and Dimitroff were fired after an 0-5 start to this year, so there can’t be an exact repeat of last year. Quarterback Matt Ryan said on Thursday night that he hopes things play out in an otherwise similar fashion.
“I hope it’s the start of something,” Ryan said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “I really feel like, although we’re 2-6, I feel like we’ve been in some tight ones. We’ve played some good football. I think we can play some really tough football here in the second half of the season. . . . We’ve been in every game we’ve played this year. We’ve had some crazy losses, just to be frank, and I really believe that we’ve got the caliber of team to go be in the games we’re going to play the rest of the season.”
The Falcons blew big leads in two losses and could have beaten the Lions in Week 7, so it’s not hard to see why Ryan and others with the team would see the potential for better outcomes in the final eight weeks of the season.