Falcons just keep winning — has anybody has noticed?

Linebacker Mike Peterson reacts after another defensive stop by the Falcons' defense against Dallas. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Linebacker Mike Peterson reacts after another defensive stop by the Falcons' defense against Dallas. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

OK. Now what?

They have played eight games and won eight games. They have won at home and on the road. In warm weather and cold. On Sundays and Monday, day and night. On national TV and probably when not too many were paying attention because, well, the Braves were still teasing us.

Are they great? I don’t know — what’s great? Halfway through the NFL season, the Falcons are the only team that hasn’t lost a game. So even if they’re just very good, isn’t every other team somewhere south of that?

One week after ending their history of horrors in Philadelphia, the Falcons knocked off Dallas 19-13 Sunday night. And the national analysis figures to focus on the decline of the Cowboys in 3 … 2 … 1 …

“I’m anxious to see what happens, to see if all the networks make it all about the Cowboys,” Tony Gonzalez said. “But that not our primary concern.”

No. Winning is. But it hasn’t escaped the Falcons that them winning often becomes the secondary story to the opponent losing. As Gonzalez said, “I made reference to it [in interviews] because I was a little frustrated after last week. We beat a very good team [at Philadelphia] but after the [television] highlights everything was about Philly. But I understand why. We haven’t done anything. When we get to the playoffs, we’ve lost.”

That hangover, of course, will carry through the regular season. But that doesn’t make what the Falcons are accomplishing any less remarkable. They are doing it with defense (holding Dallas without a touchdown until 5:21 remained), with an increasingly efficient Matt Ryan (who threw for 342 yards despite three sacks and getting beat up by the Cowboys’ pass rush). Even running back Michael Turner finally broke through a 43-yard gain late in the third quarter to set up the go-ahead touchdown.

Their offense didn’t reach the end zone until that score, but it didn’t matter.

“We find ways to win football games,” Turner said.

The Falcons have never been 8-0 before. Then again, not many NFL teams have.

But sometimes streaks this become a search for flaws instead of a recognition of everything that a team does right. The Falcons don’t beat themselves, either with penalties or turnovers. They make plays in the clutch. They are opportunistic. Trailing 6-3, they drove 60 yards in 1:03 to kick a field goal as the first half ended. Things like that often get overlooked.

Through most of three quarters, it was a field goal battle. Each team had two. And then, the team unearthed something rare: a running game.

In the first quarter, Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers combined for eight carries for five yards. Through most of three quarters, Turner had 10 carries for 16 yards. Then it was like a scene from Forrest Gump: He started running from the bad kids and his braces came flying off.

He’s got magic legs!

Late in the third, on first down from the Falcons’ 35, Turner busted through the middle for an eight-yard gain. Relative to the rest of the game, it seemed like a furlong. On his next carry, Turner busted it open for 43 yards before being dragged down by the Cowboys’ Brandon Carr at the Dallas 14. Appropriately, it was Turner who finished off the drive, scoring from the three just 14 seconds into the final quarter, giving a the Falcons their first lead of the night, 13-6.

Some have been slow to embrace the Falcons, at least as an undefeated team. That’s understandable. They don’t dominate opponents. They’re not overly physical. They don’t have a postseason resume that makes you go, “Wow!” More like, “Oy.”

But let’s recap: There were concerns before the Denver game (Peyton Manning), the San Diego game (long trip, short week), the Washington game (road, Robert Griffin III), the Philadelphia game (Michael Vick and city of six straight losses).

If the Falcons wanted to play the no-respect card, they had the comments from Rob Ryan to fuel them. The Dallas defensive coordinator didn’t quite scream, “Guaranteed win,” but he came close, telling Dallas media: “We need to win now. That’s what we’re going to do. We’ve got to win this week and we know it and we’re going to.”

Ryan might have been trying to fire up his players. But is that something a coach from a 3-4 team normally would say before a game against a 7-0 team? Maybe he just didn’t think the Falcons were all that great. But if 8-0 isn’t great, what is it?

Because the last time I looked, the NFL hasn’t had another NFL undefeated team for a few weeks.

– By Jeff Schultz

159 comments Add your comment

@DanWeiner

November 4th, 2012
11:45 pm

Will anyone give them respect? Who cares. This ain’t the BCS. What people think of you doesn’t matter. Go to work. Get the job done. Keep working on the very apparent flaws that get you beat in January and do your job. Let everyone else worry about outside nonsense.

David R

November 4th, 2012
11:46 pm

Playoffs. Period. Falcons can crow about respect all they want. I don’t care how they do it, but this needs to be a year where they reach the NFC Championship, at the very least. It’s all lining up to get it done. But until then, national media’s not going to crow about 8-0 for an outfit with a disastrous playoff resume like this one.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

BobDawg

November 4th, 2012
11:50 pm

JS… you didn’t just pull out the “Forrest Gump” card, did you??? Nice!!! Let’s see what Skip Bayless (picked the Boys) and Stephen A (Falcons) say tomorrow… should be a good topic… Let’s face it… with this coaching staff and Matt Ryan the MVP of the league… We will do well in the postseason….

Kelly

November 4th, 2012
11:53 pm

Just keep winning, baby.

LOL at the Aints

November 4th, 2012
11:59 pm

No one has noticed. Its all about whats wrong with the Cowgirls,, They have so much talent. How can this Be!,,, Did i mention i hate Chris Collinsworth,, one excuse after another.. not what a clutch player Matty Ice is.. oh well.. One game at a time.

HONDURAN FALCON

November 5th, 2012
12:00 am

Amazing victory! I prefer the no respect card. We can do just fine in keeping our heads into the week by week philosophy Mike Smith preaches… Tough games, tough wins. We will take them! GO FALCONS!!

Falconsfaninaugusta

November 5th, 2012
12:01 am

Totally agree that the Falcons need to win a playoff game before anyone gives them credit but who cares? Just think where we were when Smith arrived….these are indeed the Golden Years and I savor every win

AtlantaDuse

November 5th, 2012
12:01 am

The Falcons may not have won a playoff game yet, but the Cowboys treated this game like a sudden death playoff, and the falcons were able to take their best shot and still come out ahead. Great win.

Keith

November 5th, 2012
12:04 am

yes playoffs, but ya know I sick and tired of you people downplaying the Falcons, they ARE ThE BEST TEAM IN THE NFL. Nobody’s said we already won the damn Super Bowl nobody’s said we have won in the playoffs. If this was the Packers or the Giants or the Patriots everybody would already have given them the superbowl ring, alls any Falcons fan is saying is they have earned the respect that they deserved they have beat all comers so far, so y’all get off you high horse and bow down

Matt

November 5th, 2012
12:09 am

Was so glad to see the Falcons pull this one out, if for no other reason than to shut the NBC announcers up. They obviously wanted the Cowboys to pull it out, the disappointment in their voices was obvious there at the end.

Blackoutanyone?

November 5th, 2012
12:10 am

Chris Collinsworth was an embarrassment. Guy was one sided all night. Hopefully the team will continue to use the lack of national respect as motivation.

Falcony

November 5th, 2012
12:10 am

Way to go Angry Birds! Way to make adjustments in the 2nd half on defense “Nolan”. You can tell that Sports Announcer Cris Collinsworth was rooting for the Cowboys. It was never about what the Falcons were doing but about what the Cowboys needed to do to win the game. 8 & 0 baby! Cris need to pay up the bets that he lost

REAL FALCONS FAN

November 5th, 2012
12:11 am

I DON’T CARE HOW THEY WIN ,THEY JUST WIN. THIS TEAM CAN PLAY ANY WAY THEY NEED TO,THE MORE CARRIES TURNER GETS THE STRONGER HE GETS {REMEMBER THIS} .I LOVE THIS TEAM I WISH WE HAD OVIE BACK ,OTHER THAN THAT THIS TEAM JUST WIN’S ! GO FALCONS !

Thinkaboutit

November 5th, 2012
12:15 am

Espn actually posted “dallas def falcons” on the headline scroll for three mins before it was fixed. Then it was romo news conference. Wheres ryan interview? Then its cowboys fall to 3-5 instead of falcons improve to 8-0? Pathetic!!

Big Crimson 75

November 5th, 2012
12:16 am

Great defensive effort by our squad tonight, without our best player.
No Spoon, no Jerry for more than a half.
This team is special.
Don’t be scared!!!
Stand up & be proud of this Team.

Thomas Brown

November 5th, 2012
12:17 am

Elite Consensus # 5 Georgia Bulldogs and the Falcons, both, keep winning if anybody has noticed.

Pj

November 5th, 2012
12:18 am

@bobdawg – Stephen A and Skip picked against each other ??? Stop the freaking press – breaking news from bobdawg. Yo. Sheep. That’s what they’re paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to do.

St Simons

November 5th, 2012
12:19 am

My best throw was in 1980 in the gator bowl when i hit that d’bag
Chris Collinsworth with a drink cup at the Ga/Fla game.

I looooooove it when the team Collinsworth is shamelessly
pulling for gets beat. Hate on, Chris. d’bag

Ole Smoky

November 5th, 2012
12:20 am

NBC’s coverage of the Falcons reminds me of what they’re doing with the election…

Big Crimson 75

November 5th, 2012
12:21 am

Looking ahead,
The NFC is the superior conference.
5 really good teams:
Falcons, Bears, 49ers, Giants & Pack.
Bring em on!! We can beat any of them.

HONDURAN FALCON

November 5th, 2012
12:21 am

I have been a great fan of Turner over the years, but I am concerned we are weak here.
This game produced an ironic twist, our passing game opened up the holes for the running game. So as much as I want to keep myself on the Michael Turner bandwagon, I would rather wait it out and see what else he gives us. Maybe with the saints?

Olde Fan

November 5th, 2012
12:37 am

Bhahahahahahaha~ FINALLY we beat Dallas!!! Our team is on a Mission, and there are a WHOLE lot of folks on this bandwagon behind them. So good to see the packed stadium and the loud cheers!! If is just killing the so-called Sports Media to admit it – The Falcons are Good. They aren’t stealing anything – they are just plain out Winning. And long may they run!

Smitty

November 5th, 2012
12:52 am

Go falcons!!!!!

Voice of Reason

November 5th, 2012
12:56 am

I suppose CHOKE has crawled into his deep dark hole . . .

Barkin' Dog

November 5th, 2012
1:00 am

This what I wrote at 2:47PM today to Colin Cowherd…

Subject: Where Colin Was WRONG

Colin…

I will probably jinx my team by writing this, but it had to be done before game time (for time stamp proof).

You said Friday you have the Atlanta Falcons rated no higher than seventh. You also picked against them in your Blazin’ Five Friday (even the Wise Guys have the Cowboys as a Best Bet). You, nor they, see what I see and have seen. Neither have the majority of the other ‘talking heads’ (sportscasters) in radio and TV.

No, the Falcons have not PROVED anything worthy yet this season (nor the past 3-4 years), as they have not won a playoff game with their team and staff. But, they do show the same ‘dedication to perfection’ I once witnessed (closely) with the Miami Dolphins, which led to their “Perfect Season” in 1972. Theirs was a ‘no-name defense’ with a back-up QB (Earl Morrell for injured Bob Griese). But they adhered to Coach Shula’s mantra of “Strive for perfection, settle for excellence.” The Falcons are about as precise as it gets in the NFL this year, and you know it.

Do they cut some games close at the end? Yes, but they still win! Will they go undefeated this season? It remains to be seen. Will they win tonight against Dallas (DC Ryan Guaranteed a Dallas win)? Absolutely – about 34 to 17, I predict… The same score they will have in the next Super Bowl… against your darling Patriots… Or Houston… Or Steelers… Whomever.

That’s the way I see it and feel it. Hope I’m right. If not, I know I’m righter than you are about the Falcons ranking this season.

birdofafeather

November 5th, 2012
1:12 am

Man, I feel like punching out that collinsworth guy. just like this guy in this music video. too funny to not watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCGLBqCegEA

Banned by Mark Bradley

November 5th, 2012
1:29 am

Enter your comments here

Banned by Mark Bradley

November 5th, 2012
1:29 am

Dunta Robinson must go.

GTPhenom

November 5th, 2012
1:34 am

Win a playoff game. Then you might get some of the respect you feel you deserve. Let’s not forget this team went 13-3 just two years ago before getting stomped in the playoffs by a six seed . . .

bcinbuford

November 5th, 2012
1:35 am

Chris Collinsworth is the Chris Matthews of Football. Maybe he should go stroke Tony’s EGO to get the tingle up his own leg!

bcinbuford

November 5th, 2012
1:41 am

What the national media does not want to promote is the way the Falcons are not beating themselves. Smart disciplined football. No penalties, no turnovers, and doing what you have to do to win is a credit to the coaching staff as much as the players. Yes, who wants to recognize a team that shows the characteristics of intelligence and non self-destructive behavior is the right choice to be a winner.

gulfwavesgary

November 5th, 2012
2:00 am

The biggest stat that came out of the Pro Dallas announcers was the shocker that Mike Smith in his games as Atlanta Head Coach is 43-0 when leading by at least 6 points in the 4th quarter. The Falcons this year are focused on what happens after the regular season ends. When we lost to Green Bay 1000-10 in the first round fiasco we did not have Julio Jones who is a major threat every play. And Rodgers makes nifty spins to make big plays. Our coach has kept the team on a even keel. Thie is the year to go to the Super Bowl. I am very proud of The ATLANTA FALCONS. GO FALCONS.

Thomas Brown

November 5th, 2012
2:01 am

1st, there Notre Dame has no Aaron Murray, and dropped in the BCS as a result.

2nd, Kansas State is not winning out.

3rd, all you need is for Oregon to lose.

Unfortunately, this is where the water hits the wheel because you are talking now Monday that the BCS has been released, unlike the entire premise base of this blog, that we must beat # 1 Alabama in The SEC Championship Game.

If you do that, and Kansas State loses as I guarantee – we are down to Oregon, and don’t forget they have a re-match in the PAC-12 Championship Game coming too and down to Notre Dame.

We’re only talking about 2 teams folks.

When you are # 5 and playing # 1 – albeit I am confident Kansas State loses even without a conference championship game with the Big XII down to but 10 teams and cannot therefore have a Conference Championship – you need to get a BUMP up from beating # 1.

And, need pass only 1 of the 2 remaining as I lay it out. Yeah, sure I am basing this on Kansas State losing. But, any of the 3 can lose and you have the same scenario.

LSU and Ole Miss played Alabama well, on an aside here; that game is not played before it is played. Georgia through the years has done far better against Alabama than everyone in the history of college football. Of all teams to play Alabama in The SEC Championship Game, Alabama did not want to play us the most.

We’ll simply throw the ball more to Malcolm Mitchell, which we should have been doing anyway. I miss Marlon Brown and Marcus Lattimore and Michael Bennett, but this is a team which could and should get Keith Marshall on the edge – not runs off-tackle, as those should have been reserved all season for Todd Gurley.

Aaron Murray is something we have the other teams, other than Alabama, don’t have – especially notably Notre Dame has a sorry Quarterback and dropped them in the polls, as a direct result.

Team of Destiny ? Notre Dame ? They beat a 4-5 team in triple-overtime at home. Get over yourselves Notre Dame. You dropped in every single poll.

And, should have.

(1) Kansas State is going to lose. This is not what if, but what is going to happen. I have studied the in-depth Kansas State phenomenon many years. They have beat no one.

(2) There is a BUMP up winning The SEC Championship Game. Pardon me, this 2012 season, there are now today in the BCS Rankings : 5 of the Top 8 BCS-ranked teams, SEC teams. Opponents of the winner of The SEC Championship Game get a team in the BCS National Championship Title Game, refuse to acknowledge this or even discuss it; but, Georgia or Alabama could make the BCS Title Game if Alabama is beat by UGA.

3. If Kansas State loses, all you are asking is that the BUMP up by beating # 1 is over 1 team. Fans are upset at Notre Dame having beat no one of consequence in the BCS Rankings. Fans of college football. Fans of college football are made up of a whole lot more than just simply Big XII or PAC-12 or Notre Dame fans. Oregon passed Notre Dame, jumped them today. The Consensus prevailing view among all voters and that also is how the man who creates the so-called computer polls all believe too – go look at their individual polls – That The SEC by far 2012, not 2002 when The SEC was down, is the Dominant Conference. They get their 4-team play-off soon enough; not this season. And, were it this season UGA would 100 % be one of the 4, no matter what if we beat Alabama. After what Alabama did last season, dropping 1 place only to LSU in a re-match, the prevailing view is that this 2012 season, The SEC gets 1, not 2. They’ve accomplished that, thanks to rolling over against South Carolina. We jumped Ole Miss 37-10 with 37 unanswered points after the boos early on a beautiful Autumn Day before we Fall Back.

Ok, there is an assumption. I see no one discussing my assumption. But, with that assumption, we need only jump either Notre Dame or jump Oregon.

I don’t really care which. Only need to be 1 of the 2. Discussing who wins that game, can happen all December and January until the game is played. But, I would not want to be :

1. Kansas State with no top team beat
2. Notre Dame with no top team beat
3. Oregon with no top team beat

And, face-off against a team with a real quarterback Aaron Murray who also has tailbacks to rely upon as well, with a top-notch defense who has gone out and beat a team who beat # 15 Texas A and M, who beat # 7 LSU and who beat # 8 South Carolina.

None of the 3, two with my assumption Kansas State loses, has any type of a win all season long that they can point to that hey we beat the # 6 in the BCS Rankings Florida with all 3 of their great wins this season.

Hell, they cannot even match Florida’s wins against top team this season, let alone a team who BEAT FLORIDA at the stadium where they hold the Gator Bowl every year.

No. No, it’s not a foregone conclusion by any manner whatsoever that The SEC is shut-out of the BCS Title Game by a loss by Alabama to UGA. It’s not and you know it, and that is why no one discusses the obvious points about all this, a month before we play Alabama.

This discussion will only grow bigger in the next month; and, at no point will this discussion become old. My brain can follow this discussion. This has been my hobby from the time my Daddy had seasons’ tickets at UGA, and has done nothing but become more intense for me personally since I started buying my own seasons’ tickets. We’ve played Alabama 63 times and they have beat us only 36 of the games. Unfairly, 36 of the games have been AWAY games for us on their home field. At home, we’ve win 11 of the 25 games. While the Dome is not home, it certainly is better than JAX is for Florida – and we damn sure beat them for a better win than any team in the BCS Top 5 can offer-up as to why they should be playing in the Title Game.

Ultimately, the voters have to look at whom it is these 3, I say 2, teams have beat. I know our win looks far more impressive than their wins. Facts are Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame would already all have 2 SEC losses and it still would be UGA vs Alabama for The SEC Championship Game, and the berth The SEC gets in the BCS Championship Title Game after The SEC Championship Game. And, since we are only talking about that including UGA or not, Alabama drops maybe to # 3 and UGA goes up maybe to # 2. Alabama could drop to # 2, depends on how they lose. Today, that means that UGA jumps Oregon. Who the hell did Oregon beat compared to our win over Florida ? Sure it can happen. It also can happen that Alabama can lose and still represent The SEC in the BCS Title Game. Either way, with 5 of the top 8 BCS-ranked teams today, The SEC gets 1 slot and the other 3 teams are vying for 1-slot.

The Falcons have their own issue that they have not won a play-off game with Matt Ryan yet; they will get their win like Aaron Murray did against # 2 Florida.

3lanes2nj

November 5th, 2012
2:13 am

If the Cowboys were 8-0 and played our scheduled and won the exact way the Falcons have, they’d be the story, they’d be Superbowl front runners, they’d be commended on winning late and being clutch, Garret COY, Romo MVP, etc..

I’m glad it’s like this, keep doubting them, let them have this chip on their shoulder all the way into January( you know it”ll be there) it only fuels their fire. RISE UP

Rodney Johnson

November 5th, 2012
2:31 am

let me state this for record . THE GRAND WIZARD OFF THE K.K.K. WILL HOST THE BET AWARDS ON MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.S BIRTHDAY ON AUBURN AVE GIVING HANK ARRON A SPECIAL AWARD ON BLACK FRIDAY BEFORE ANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ATLANTA SPORTS FRANCHISE GETS ANY RESPECT FROM THE MEDIA. THAT BEING SAID TO MY DIRTY BIRDS TO QUOTE AL DAVIS”WIN BABY WIN”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Singletary

November 5th, 2012
2:57 am

I guess the summary is we don’t need respect. We are Fierce Falcons, and we deal in stomps downs.

(I use Fierce also in honor of our young Olympic Gymnasts who took their name as the Fierce Five, and got the gold.)

Stevereeno

November 5th, 2012
3:19 am

Don’t look for respect, stay an underdog. We’ll sneak up,….take the golden cup and leave our opponent to pick his jaw off the floor.

SawThat1nce

November 5th, 2012
4:12 am

The Falcons won a fixed game tonight.
They had to beat 18 men on the field.
Eleven cowboys, and seven NFL zebras.
They also had to contend with the reviewing official, up in the box.

[...] original post here: Falcons just keep winning, if anybody has noticed – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) .GG_func_widget_weather_and_weather_forecast {padding-right:0px;padding-left:0px} [...]

SEC EAST Champs

November 5th, 2012
5:46 am

Thomas Brown……glad you are a loyal Dawg fan but…….dude, get some sleep cause that was a bunch of jibberish!

Mitch (the one in Rome)

November 5th, 2012
6:13 am

How many playoff games have the cowboys won recently? Wait, they can’t get there. Yet they are America’s Team…

Fact

November 5th, 2012
6:14 am

The Falcons will likely play in the Super Bowl this year. Everything falls in their favor, really.

harleyman

November 5th, 2012
6:24 am

Spot on Shultz. As for Collinsworth, he’s been a Falcon hater his whole career. Guy holding up the Michaels/Collinsworth for president sign last night must not have been a bird fan because he would have known that. We left some points on the table, but otherwise good, solid win. How bout some live coverage of the Monday night game. Sure would like to hear the you know who’s bloggers to see where their loyalty really lies. Ha Ha

Tennis Rodman

November 5th, 2012
6:31 am

You had Hines Ward sitting there as a Dawg with Super Bowl rings and MVPs and Collinsworth who is a sorry arse Gater hating on everything. Typical Gater trash.

Dr. Warren

November 5th, 2012
6:36 am

Thomas Brown—I like UGA well enough, but this is a Falcons blog. Jeff, why not delete obnoxiously long, misplaced posts?

Buddy Landel

November 5th, 2012
6:43 am

Thomas Brown, I don’t post transcripts of my dreams and neither should you.

Buckeye

November 5th, 2012
6:45 am

Run Forrest, Run!

Tennis Rodman

November 5th, 2012
6:48 am

Buckeye: you boys done cheating up there or are you all just getting started?

drew

November 5th, 2012
6:48 am

Great win for Falcons…let’s keep it rolling!

And to all you thin-skinned media haters pouting about the lack of respect the national media gives the Falcons: STOP IT! Quit whining about lack of press…you sound like a bunch of needy little crybabies. Why do you need the press to validate what you already know? I think it’s great…Falcons need to just keep their heads down and their eyes on the prize. It’s coming…

Thomas Brown…lay down the meth pipe my friend…it’s getting the best of you.