The Atlanta Falcons needed to make a statement. They needed to a game to quiet their critics. They needed a victory that let the league and media know the Atlanta Falcons are the best team in the NFL. They finally proved it against Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles with a 30-17 win, sending them to their first 7-0 start in their 47 year history.
Even though the Falcons came into the game with a 6-0 record, they were still considered undeserving of being named the best team in the NFL. Some said Atlanta not a great team because they have not played anybody. Others felt the Eagles would win this game because they needed it. Normally, bye weeks provide the opportunity for teams to get some rest, make some adjustments and get better. The Eagles spent their bye week firing their defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo and answering questions about quarterback Michael Vick’s production.
To his credit, Vick had a good game in that he did not throw any interceptions. Guess the argument will be made now that Philadelphia plays better when their QB turns the ball over. The fact of the matter is Atlanta just flat out beat the Eagles. They came in with the better record and the better team and they proved it. Falcons QB, Matt Ryan threw for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. Julio Jones had a monster game catching five passes for 123 yards and scoring a touchdown and the rushing attack added 146 yards on the ground. Atlanta’s defense even did their part. They applied just enough pressure against the pass and were excellent against the run, only giving up 92 yards.
This was an important game for Atlanta not only because it quieted their critics but because they did it on the road. Four of the Falcons victories have come on the road. While none of the teams Atlanta has played on the road have winning records, going into someone’s house and getting a W in the NFL is no easy task. Atlanta seems to make it look easy and it would not be too much of a stretch to say they play their best on the road.
With such a convincing victory over Vick and the Eagles, Atlanta proved they really are much better without him and that Matt Ryan is definitely the right man for the job. It should also be noted that Atlanta is 15-0 when Ryan throws for 3 TDs or more. Ryan and the Falcons offense also proved that Phily’s D just isn’t very good, no matter who the coordinator is.
Getting a statement victory over the Eagles was also critical to the Falcons because of their next few upcoming games. Atlanta’s next four opponents are the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. All of those teams are struggling in some form or fashion but each are formidable opponents who can show up when you least expect them.