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The Hat Trick

October 30th, 2006

Once again, I look like a fool. I did not expect the Falcons to win against the Bengals. Not because of any perceived lack of offensive ability, but because of the defense. The defense gave up 38 points to a 2-5 Steelers team, so what would they have given up to a 4-2 Bengals team? The defense wasn’t lights out, but it did just enough to allow Vick & Co. to win the game. Jim Mora also had a 33% winning percentage in games like these (road games following home wins), which did not inspire me with much confidence in this team’s potential focus this week. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Chalk it up, I’m officially back on the Falcons Bandwagon of Optimism. I’ve said it numerous times over the past month, that the Falcons needed to win two of its most recent trio of games, if they wanted to show they were a playoff-ready team. And they did so. Things are starting to come together, on offense, on special teams, and on the sideline with the coaches. I can’t be too proud of the defense, as they’ve given up 89 points in the past 10 quarters, but I can live with 75% of the pieces fitting together. This team has 9 more weeks to get the defense playing back to the level that it was during the first 4 weeks of the season.

Vick hasn’t really made me into a true believer yet, but it is nice to see consecutive good games from him that actually resulted in 2 Falcons wins. He’s played very well, but can he keep this up? I don’t like holding him to such lofty standards, but if we are going to compare him to those that are the best in the league like Manning, Brady, and McNabb, then two games isn’t anywhere close to cutting it. He is going to have to play like this about a dozen times per year.

The near-300 yard passing games are all fine and dandy, but I’d like to see Dunn get back into his groove, and the defense step it up. I think this team has shown they are playoff-ready, meaning they can match up with the best teams in the NFC (namely the Giants and Bears), but they need to show a bit more if they want to prove to me they can make a deep run into the playoffs.

But as I said, I’m feeling much more optimistic, and I won’t automatically assume anymore that Vick is going to falter, the defense is going to choke, and Mora will be outcoached like I was so quick to do before.

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