The Falcons managed to win a defensive battle with the Jets 10-7, and played remarkably well considering the night before they learned that they no longer had a shot at the playoffs. I wrote yesterday that I was curious to see if Atlanta would come out flat, packing it in for the final three games of the season, or if they would play for back-to-back winning seasons.
This win truly says something about Coach Smith; he was able to get this Falcons team up when realistically they had nothing to play for the rest of the way. You can always do the spoiler thing, which Atlanta did by hurting the Jets playoff chances. You can always play for pride; except for the Eagles game Atlanta has played hard all season, but the many injuries have been too much to overcome. Most importantly to Falcons fans, you can hope your team plays to get rid of this damn streak. It is hard to believe; in my lifetime (turned 39 earlier this month) the Falcons have never had consecutive winning seasons.
As Ryan faced fourth and goal in the closing seconds, I really thought this one was going to end in another frustrating loss. The offense did not play particularly well, but Ryan’s pass to Gonzalas was on the mark. On the next series the defense held on to intercept Sanchez for the third and last time. Just like that, Falcons are now 7-7 with a home game against the Bills (5-9) and a season ending road trip to visit the Tampa Bay (2-12). Both are highly winnable games.