1. The defense, long considered our achillies heel, played outstanding. The offense, we should trust, will come around, they’ve been too good and have too many players. But our defense was flying around the ball, and tackling well (everyone but Drew Brees of course), and making life rather miserable for Brees. Yes, Brees put up really good numbers against the blitz, but he made some pretty ridiculous plays himself to do that. Those were plays most quarterbacks don’t make, and on most days, I’m not sure Brees doesn’t make. We just about got to him so many times last night, you have to like that formula. If our defense can turn out performances like that, I like our chances going forward.
2. Did we really want to have to beat the Saints three times this year? That’s a tall task. Has anyone ever beaten a defending Super Bowl champion three times in one year? It’s highly unlikely. Do we want to have that task staring us down in our first home playoff game in six years?
3. How many teams are really going to be able to come in here and win a game? How many quarterbacks can handle this crowd noise in this building? Do you really think Michael Vick can orchestrate the offense as well with this noise and this atmosphere like he can in Philadelphia at home? Jay Cutler? The easily rattled Jay Cutler? Drew Brees played well, and yet even in playing well, it wasn’t that well. There were huge mistakes too. And I’m not sure Brees can even come in here and win twice.
4. We learned our secondary can hold up okay in one on coverage, or while we are blitzing. Yes, Brees completed a ton of passes, but as mentioned before, he made some ridiculous plays that 9 times out of 10 nobody in the league can make. There were a lot of completions, for very little gain. If the guys in the secondary tackle, this approach works. Make a team go 10 or 12 plays for a touchdown. Odds are good, they won’t be able to. They’ll commit a penalty, or turn the ball over, which the Saints did a lot of both. The strategy worked perfectly, well, until the end that is. I’ll gladly let a guy complete 9 of 11 passes for 65 yards if those two incompletions are turnovers. That’s a trade-off I’ll make any day of the week. I’m curious to see how many blitzes were called on that final drive by the Atlanta defense though that allowed the go ahead score. Our strategy was to make the Saints patiently move the ball down the field without the benefit of the big play. It worked the entire game, until the end, so I’m curious if we stopped blitzing as much at that point.
5. Teams with chips on their shoulder and something to prove become even more dangerous. Apparently ESPN has forgotten that the Falcons are 12-3, in first place, can still be the one seed if they simply beat the worst team in the league at home, and BEAT the Saints earlier this year in New Orleans. Now, suddenly, after a three point loss to a great football team, in a great game, the Falcons are frauds, and overrated, and exposed. Okay. Tell them that. Tell this team they are nobodys. Good. They like it that way.
See you in January.