The Atlanta Falcons coaching staff had said it was going to encourage quarterback Matt Ryan to throw the football vertically and the regular season did not disappoint. The main catalyst for this incredible season at the Georgia Dome has been that passing game. Ranking sixth in the league, the connection with Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez has helped make Atlanta Falcons available to fans to enjoy the postseason from the view of a number one seed in the NFC.
Ryan managed to post the fifth-best QB Rating in the NFL this season. He did so by tying Peyton Manning for the highest completion percentage (68.6), throwing for the fifth-most yards (4,719), and completing the fifth-most touchdown passes (32). The only glaring mark on his season is his interception total, which numbers 14 and puts him in the middle of the league. The Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith was so eager to open the game up vertically because of the compliment of receivers and the overall makeup of the football team.
White and Jones are both Top-10 caliber receivers. White is a little more of a possession guy while Jones is the playmaker. That is why White led the team with 92 receptions, 142 targets and 1,351 yards while Jones led the team in touchdown receptions with 10. Seemingly ageless tight end Tony Gonzalez caught 93 passes for 930 yards and 8 touchdowns. In years past he would have picked up more yards per receptions, but he still remains one of the best receiving tight ends in his 16th season in the NFL.
Atlanta needed these three to produce because of an offensive line that could pass protect but had issues creating holes. It does not help that Michael Turner is no longer as much the burner as the burger. Still, the running back managed to use his new found force as opposed to his former speed to his advantage. Turner has become a goal line back, scoring 10 touchdowns over the course of the season schedule, scoring in six of the last seven games of the year. This offense and a defense that plays much better than its numbers indicate are hopefully going to make Atlanta Falcons playoff tickets available for the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XLVII.