What it means: The Falcons simply took care of business against a struggling team. They ran their winning streak to three games and the arrow appears to be pointing up in all areas for a team that struggled to be consistent early in the season. That’s a good thing because the 5-3 Falcons play a crucial division game against New Orleans next Sunday.
What I liked: Rookie receiver Julio Jones returned after missing two games with a hamstring injury and gave the Falcons precisely what they expected when they drafted him -- explosive plays. Jones had the first two touchdown receptions of his career. One was for 50 yards and one was for 80. The Falcons made a big deal of how they wanted more plays of more than 20 yards when they drafted Jones. The 50-yarder was a deep throw and the 80-yarder was a short pass on which Jones broke free. The Falcons weren’t forcing deep passes like they were earlier in the season. They established Michael Turner and the running game and the big pass plays flowed naturally from that.
What else I liked: Atlanta's defense. Yeah, I know the Falcons were playing the Colts without Peyton Manning. But Atlanta's defense has been playing much better the past few games. That could come in very handy down the stretch.
What I didn’t like: Other than the big plays, quarterback Matt Ryan wasn’t particularly sharp in the first half. He had an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Ryan completed just 5 of 14 passes in the first half. He came on in the second half and finished with good numbers, but I’m sure the Atlanta coaching staff would like to see a little more steady play from Ryan.
What’s next: The Falcons host the Saints next Sunday at the Georgia Dome.