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Bair Mail: On Falcons and the NFL playoffs(?!?), killer instincts, Younghoe Koo and Kyle Pitts


Just got back from South Florida after that crazy comeback win over the Dolphins. What a win for the Falcons.

As I wrote in my postgame column, that one could look like a narrative buster in hindsight. While they missed an opportunity to close out a convincing win and they gave up a fourth quarter lead, the Falcons don't lay down and die. Nor do they feel sorry for themselves.

That's a good combination and sets them up to rebound well if things go awry. That's a good thing for these Falcons, who are in a transitional phase where things often get wonky and complete games are hard to come by.


You can win without them, as the Falcons have shown over the past month. And I don't want to hear the "who have they played" complaint. They play who's on the schedule. The end.

Would you rather be a fan of the Falcons or Dolphins today? 3-3 or 1-6? There's only one answer and you know it.

I love asking for Bair Mail questions after a game like Sunday, because the mailbag fills fast with passionate commentary. That's what happened here, with so many great submissions I can't fit them all in one installment. Thanks, as always, for the questions.

Let's get to a few questions in Monday's Bair Mail:

Brian Metcalfe from Smith Falls, Ontario, Canada

Are (the Falcons) strong enough strong enough to strive for a playoff position? The Dolphins victory will surely build character in future games. What do you think?

Bair: I got a similar question in Friday’s installment, and immediately quoted Jim Mora. Playoffs?!?

After Sunday's win, I'll admit that I typed NFL, playoff and picture into a search engine to see what popped up. As of Monday afternoon, they were the NFC's No. 8 seed. So, you know, we can say they're on the bubble.

That's something you couldn't have said at any point last season. Being here, at 3-3, on the bubble for the seventh and final playoff position, is a step in the right direction.

Advancing will be tough, considering the top 5 seeds are virtual locks with an unbeaten squad and four one-loss teams. The battle for the last two spots will be tough and super competitive. Will the Falcons still be on the bubble in a month? The next few weeks will be telling. If they can beat Carolina, that sets up a HUGE game against the rival Saints. If they get through those with wins, then we'll talk. Right now it's just a Bair Mail conversation between friends, a fun exercise without much heft behind it. But even mentioning it is a positive point for a franchise that struggled mightily last season.

Steven Simmons from Atlanta

Happy for the win and the end of game comeback. However, why is it we don't exhibit a killer mentality? Prime example is taking 2 knees rather than running the ball for what should/could be a touchdown. If unsuccessful then you can then rely on the field goal. Probably no other team would have taken knees, but rather would have gone for the TD. Am I wrong in this thinking and strategy?

Bair: I'm going to agree with you and then disagree, Steven. I do think the Falcons are missing out on opportunities to show a killer instinct. They could've closed out the Jets and Dolphins far earlier than they did. Both games were too close for comfort instead.

I think the Falcons were smart to set up that field goal. They bled the clock to nothing and won it with a field goal. You also have to recall that whom the Falcons at the kicker spot. Younghoe Koo is automatic. The coaching staff trusts him completely. As we've seen this season, that faith is well earned. It was a sound strategy that paid off perfectly. On that final drive: the Falcons connected on deep shots, ran efficiently, killed the clock and executed well with the game on the line.

Devan Strickland from Monroe, Ga.

Let's talk about Kyle Pitts for a second, not like people aren't already. He is on track to break almost every rookie tight end record. His last catch against Miami shows who he is going to be. Double coverage with one of the games top corners on him, [Xavien] Howard, and it doesn't matter. With a safety over top and it still doesn't matter. I don't really have a question, just wanted people to realize they are watching a Hall of Famer in the making. I'd say that's a better choice than choosing Justin Fields.

Bair: There was no question, but I like the comment. And, you're right. We can't talk about Kyle Pitts enough after a star turn like that. I'm not ready to hire a sculptor for his bust in Canton or anything – I don't think you are, either, Devan -- but you can see he's an elite talent capable of taking over a game. Talent-wise, he belongs in the same class as Kelce, Kittle and Waller. He has to dominate, rinse and repeat time and time again prove he belongs.

He is earning trust in his quarterback and head coach, which is the finest compliment you can say right now. They go to him when it matters most and believe he'll make the play required.

Call for questions

That was a fun one. Sorry I couldn't get to more. It has been a long day, with NFL power rankings up next. Keep an eye out for that and for Wednesday's Bair Mail, where I'll try to do more of a rapid-fire style that addresses a bunch of your questions.

Submit more of them to the mailbag right here.


Falcons Final Whistle | A Postgame Podcast

Break down the hottest topics surrounding the Atlanta Falcons and how they can impact the team's success with Falcons Insiders Scott Bair, Tori McElhaney and Terrin Waack. Like and subscribe to join us for the lively debate on Falcons Final Whistle.

Welcome to Falcons Final Whistle – an Atlanta Falcons football postgame podcast during the season that shifts gears in the offseason to answer a pressing question about the team's future each week through free agency, the NFL Draft and the offseason program.

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