Shh…listen closely….hold your breath, silence your minds, and free your thoughts….what’s that sound??? Shhh….do you hear it??? You hear it faintly, gradually increasing??? What’s that sound????……It’s the sound of thousands of Atlanta Falcons’ fans jumping back on the bandwagon and off the back of Michael Vick and hopping back onto the Michael Vick Experience ride. Fans in Atlanta can be very fickle, and it hits home no closer than with the Falcons. Fans began to deride this team, calling them everything from overrated to underachievers. Hearing sports talk radio throughout the week gave you the impression that the Falcons were the Arizona Cardinals, the Raiders – a barely competent team with wasted potential. Fans forgot how talented this team is and questioned the makeup and fortitude of this team. The win yesterday had to be the gutsiest, ballsiest (that should be a word) performance I’ve seen in the Vick-Mora era. Sure, the Steelers did make some mistakes, but so did the Falcons. The Falcons capitalized on all the Pittsburgh mistakes and made a few more big plays than the Steelers, and they won. The Falcons showed more heart yesterday than they had the whole season combined. The secondary was getting profusely gashed for big play after big play (some of that had to do with the notable absences of John Abraham and Rod Coleman), but the offense didn’t give in. They went toe-to-toe, mano a mano with the World Champions and came out victorious. Michael Vick shut up the naysayers (at least for a week) and delivered his best game as a professional, maybe ever as a quarterback. He threw 3 first half TDs and another second half one. But the most telling play of why Vick is one of the most exciting players in the league had to be in overtime when Polamalu came in on the blitz and Vick simply outran him to the sideline and then threw a perfect lob pass to crumpler for a big gain, which set up the game winning field goal. The Falcons did not play the perfect game and made a lot of mistakes, but they didn’t back down and continued to fight. Alge Crumpler was an absolute beast and finally had the statement making game that we are used to seeing from him.
He finally came out of hibernation and made some huge plays. Is there another QB-TE connection as good as Vick and Crumpler?? It seems like they are always on the same page….I said before the game that this was a must-win game, a game that could build the character and show the strength of this Falcons team and guide them through the rest of the season, or a devastating loss that would have set the team off after a long week of controversy and second-guessing. The Falcons now need to focus on beating the Cincinnati Bengals, which will be a tall task, especially considering that Cincinnati had an equally impressive win against the Panthers. Has there been a more anticipated DB-against-WR matchup this year than the one that will take place this weekend with D Hall and Chad Johnson?? They have been talking trash the entire offseason, so it should be an entertaining game. The Falcons HAVE TO avoid a letdown after this big win and focus on next week. Sunday was a team victory with everyone stepping up. Even the offensive line played huge, only allowing 1 sack to a ferocious Pittsburgh defense, and for all the talk about Pittsburgh’s great run defense, Atlanta still totaled almost 175 yards of rushing offense. It is too early to make any definitive judgments on this team, but the Falcons are 4-2 and if they play consistently like they did on Sunday for the rest of the season, then watch out….this could be a special season….