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Falcons Daily: How the Falcons respond to 49ers win will be vital in understanding culture in Atlanta

Arthur Smith has said this is a big week for a Falcons team coming off one of its most complete games in two years. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- When Marcus Mariota made it to the podium for his postgame press conference following the Falcons win against the 49ers on Sunday, he said something that holds a certain foundation in this offensive identity.

He was talking about his 50 rushing yards that went with his 13-of-14 completion rate on the day. He was commending the young backs the Falcons are using right now: Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley, but he also added this note: "Today was one of those days where the defense presented a couple opportunities for me to run a little bit. It's going to change week to week, and we understand that."

This may ultimately be the microcosm of this offense. It takes what opposing defenses give it.


Even though the Falcons run game has been its calling card in 2022, even within the folds of the run game there are variables that the Falcons are looking to take advantage of. Mariota's scrambling ability being one of said folds.

"In this offense we do a lot of different things," Mariota said. "So, depending on who we're playing each week, maybe we might throw it, maybe we might run it. I just think that we have a lot of versatility that allows us to create advantages." 

For the Falcons offense, when it's firing on all cylinders, it's tough to defend because of the mystery behind the pre-snap motions, alignments and packages that Arthur Smith deploys. So far, it's an offense that's more competitive (and productive) than it was a year ago.

So, six games in, with a .500 record, the question was posed: Is this offense a sustainable one with teams gathering more information and film on this new-look Falcons offense?

Falcons quarterback coach Charles London didn't hesitate to answer that, yes, it absolutely is.

Why? Because of exactly what Mariota spoke on above.

"Whatever mode that we have to get into the win the football game? We're going to do it," London said. "If that means we throw is 20 times this week? Great. If we need to throw it 40 times this week? Great. I think this offense is more than sustainable because I think we're going to take what the defense gives us. We are going to find whatever niche we can to help us win the football game."

So far, that has been the case. And even when it's not the case, the Falcons problems are not ones that cannot be fixed.

Any problems that have arisen for the Falcons this year do not have a basis in culture.

Smith has said time and time again that being objective after a win is just as important as it is after a loss. The difference? It's more difficult to be objective after a win, particularly a good one.

How the Falcons respond to a promising win over the 49ers - how they sustain success - is vital in understanding that culture in Atlanta. It's why Smith said on Wednesday that this week is a pretty big one for the Falcons to find out more about who they are.

"We want to see how we respond this week, and can we make the corrections?" Smith said. "Can we execute the plan? And improve to go beat a really tough team on the road."

Because facing Cincinnati won't be easy.

They have one of the league's best quarterback/wide receiver packages. Like the Falcons, the Bengals are a team that has been in their fair share of one-score games this season. Their record could look very different than it does right now no matter how you look at it.

The Falcons who showed up on Sunday against the 49ers has to be the same team to show up against the Bengals this Sunday: A team that's versatile, physical and sustainable.

If that's the team that shows up, does this mean the culture is set in Atlanta? Smith said the culture of an organization is something you have to work on every day, but a win against the Bengals on Sunday? That could mean a lot to where this organization currently finds itself.

"Just because you won a game on Sunday, and it's hard to win, you have to turn the page, same thing if you lose," Smith said. "We'll find out more with the way they respond this week. How you handle success is just as important as how you handle any kind of failure, too."


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