Skip to main content

Falcons Embody the 'Next Man Up' Philosophy

Several Falcons played a role in Atlanta's win over Green Bay on Sunday and perhaps that's what made the victory so impressive.

Not only did Matt Ryan put together one of his best games of the year by throwing for 288 yards with three touchdowns good for a passer rating of 129.5, but he did it all with limited production from his No. 1 WR, Julio Jones.

Jones drew double coverage on almost every play at the Georgia Dome and caught just three passes for 29 yards.

And as Jones and Ryan have said ad nauseam this year, when Jones draws that type of attention, opportunities for others to step up occur, and that's exactly what wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Mohamed Sanu did.

On Atlanta's game winning drive, Ryan completed five passes for 50 yards to Sanu, including the go-ahead score with :36 remaining.

In his first game back since suffering a concussion in Week 6, Gabriel looked as if he hadn't missed a beat.

While most of his production came early on in the game, Gabriel's 47-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter gave Atlanta its first lead of the game. The speedy receiver finished the day with 68 receiving yards on three catches.

Although Gabriel's success might have surprised those outside of Falcons' locker room, it didn't shock his head coach and teammates in the slightest.

"We sensed Gabe would have a good day," head coach Dan Quinn said. "He took some shots down the field in practice and I thought it was really one of our better weeks overall. As a team practicing, there were some deep shots from him and from Matt to Gabe. Generally, that performance follows that kind of focus. So, the focus was right and the performance followed."

The Falcons also showed that they don't just have depth at receiver; it's at every position. Atlanta's locker room is a tight knit group of players whose respect for one another ultimately helps them find ways to win games.

Running back Terron Ward's performance on Sunday tells you just that.

After spending less than a week on the active roster, Ward led the Falcons in rushing yards with 46.

"Our motto here is next man up, and that's the motto I live by," Ward said. "You always have to be ready. You do your job and you don't worry about anything else."

Altogether, 263 of the Falcons' 367 total yards on offense came from Atlanta's role players, showing just how versatile and dynamic this team is.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content