The Atlanta Falcons were able to bounce back after their bye week on a good note for Week 7 as they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in front of a home crowd at the Georgia Dome on Sunday to earn their second win of the season.
Despite the defense giving up 23 points, Atlanta’s offense finally showed some spring in their step and produced points when it mattered most. But the real story of the day was Atlanta’s backups. Even without the offensive guns in Julio Jones, Steven Jackson and Roddy White, quarterback Matt Ryan still produced some fire power through the air, throwing for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
Ryan even turned wide receiver Harry Douglas loose against the Bucs’ defense. Douglas put up fantasy football stud-like numbers with seven catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers had a field day as well, but not on the ground. Rodgers had eight receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns.
Just the fact that Ryan could make do with what he had is a good sign moving forward. Just two weeks ago, this team looked like it was ready to throw in the towel, especially after the speculation surrounding tight end Tony Gonzalez‘s possible trade to the Kansas City Chiefs this past week. But after a reviving offensive performance, Atlanta is not out of the woods just yet.
When you look at the numbers for the last two games, one silver lining is that Atlanta is beginning to improve in the red zone. The Falcons were 2-for-3 inside the 20-yard line on Sunday. Atlanta surrendered no sacks, but when looking at the running game, there must be some balance in the future. Sure, a win against a struggling Buccaneers team is not something to brag about, but it is a start.
The Falcons’ upcoming schedule is going to be a tough climb moving up the season. They play a dangerous Seattle Seahawks team at home in Week 10, the New Orleans Saints at home in Week 11, the Green Bay Packers in Week 14 and the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16.
It is obviously going to be extremely difficult to split wins against the Saints this season, let alone beat the Super Bowl runner-ups in San Francisco. So, it is crucial that the Falcons find their wings for the next two weeks and establish some sort of rhythm offensively. To this point, with the amount of injuries the Falcons have endured, an 8-8 record would be considered an ideal finish.