Early Bird Report: Credit Falcons players for defensive turnaround

Falcons Saints Football

Atlanta’s defensive turnaround in New Orleans was remarkable. The Falcons not only sacked Drew Brees six times but they became the first team since 2005 to prevent the Saints from scoring a touchdown in the Superdome.

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Before the game, a report surfaced that coach Dan Quinn had turned the play-calling duties over to linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, something that has been happening since the Arizona Cardinals game in Week 6, leaving many to point to the change in play-calling for the defensive success. During his press conference on Monday, however, Quinn wanted to reassert his belief that credit should go to the players for the performance.

“I know outside a lot has been discussed on play calling, but I think you guys have been on it for a few weeks, know there have been adjustments made over the last few weeks,” Quinn said. “It's not so unfamiliar or uncommon that a team has collaboration. We're just fortunate we're able to have some guys that can do that. I don't want to get glossed over into this. This was the players. They made some excellent communication and had a terrific performance. I don't think anything should ever distract away from that.”

Vaughn McClure wrote more about the Falcons’ defensive adjustments and players for ESPN, which you can read here.

Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:

NFL.com: Saints ‘outcoached’ in shocking loss

The Falcons’ surprising 26-9 victory against the Saints was earned in every sense of the word. Atlanta beat New Orleans in all three phases of the game, earned a season-high six sacks and established the run in a way they haven’t all year.

For the duration of Sunday’s game, one would be forgiven for not realizing which team had entered the contest with a 7-1 record. Even Saints coach Sean Payton could only tip his hat in recognition of the performance the Falcons put together.

"It's kind of one of those ... it's not a lesson, but this league is too good week-to-week where you can go in and not be focused and ready," Payton said, according to NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman. "This has always been a game that's always played with emotion and I thought they outplayed us. They outplayed us, they outcoached us and they deserve to win."

This is a win Falcons fans should savor for a while, because it was as complete a performance as any.

ESPN: Falcons look like different team in upset

All season the Falcons have searched for a game like the one they played in New Orleans. The coaches and players have steadfastly stated that they believe the preparation has been to the level needed to win on Sundays, and it certainly looked that way against the Saints. Atlanta reminded people of the type of talent it possesses on its roster, and perhaps this performance can provide a spark.

“The Falcons didn't look like the same team that started the season 1-7 and had dropped six games in a row,” ESPN’s Vaughn McClure writes of the game. “This was a team determined to silence the critics and show it had enough talent on the roster to take down the mighty Saints, even on the road.”

To read the rest of McClure’s piece from Sunday, click here.

AJC: Falcons give us Sunday to savor

There weren’t many who saw that performance coming from the Falcons, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Whether that proves to be a sign of things to come over the final seven weeks or an aberration to look back on fondly, it’s a victory that certainly is sweet. In his column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mark Bradley tried to make sense of the Falcons’ performance before ultimately arriving at the conclusion that this is a moment to just enjoy.

“If nothing else — and it’s entirely possible there won’t be much else good from these Falcons — they offered a glimpse as to why we’d believed this team would be capable of making the playoffs. Of being 2-7, Ryan said, ‘Our backs are against the wall,’ and that’s sugarcoating it. But in a building that has been a house of horrors for this annual visitor, against an opponent that loves to gig the Dirty Birds, they acted as if they owned the place. You wonder why it took nine games to play like this, but you’re glad for their sake they finally did.”

To read the rest of Bradley’s column, click here.

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