In the third quarter of Sunday's 19-17 victory against the Carolina Panthers, Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas found himself in a precarious position.
On the ground after the play had been blown dead, a Panthers defender was on top of Douglas, shoving his facemask into the ground. Fellow Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester saw Douglas down and didn't think twice about coming to his defense. Later regretting the personal foul he was called for, Hester refused to just stand by and watch.
"When you're around these guys more than you're around your own family, it becomes more of a brotherly bond," Hester said.
Roddy White, Julio Jones, Douglas, Hester, Eric Weems and Freddie Martino make up the group's brotherhood of wide receivers. In 2014, the group has done more than its part to convey the tough, won't-back-down mentality that head coach Mike Smith has preached from Day 1.
" We are brothers," Jones said. "We're not going to let guys push us around, especially in our group and on this team. That's just the way we are. We practice together and we're with each other every day. It's a family out there and if you don't have any camaraderie, togetherness, you're not a team and you're not going to get very far in this league."
The receivers' brotherhood isn't just on the field. In July, HBO's Hard Knocks followed White, Jones and Douglas to the bowling alley as the group continued developing a chemistry off the field, something Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan says benefits the team on game days.
"Our guys are tight-knit at that position," Ryan said. "They spend a lot of time together, and they're really good friends. But professionally, they're great teammates. They really are. They care about winning, they're unselfish, and they're all in it together. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by guys like that."