When it comes to solid offensive players, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson are at the top of the list. So when the Falcons had to be without them at Sunday's game against the Buccaneers, it was time for backup players to step up in their absence and show off what they're capable of doing.
With Harry Douglas having a career day, Drew Davis making a nearly impossible one-handed catch and Jacquizz Rodgers scoring two touchdowns – that's exactly what they did.
Tony Gonzalez has been the first to notice their progression, praising them for their work and adding that he hopes they can keep the momentum going as they move forward in the season.
"That was great, that's exactly what you want from backup players like that," Gonzalez said. "Everybody's stepping up. That's what you need. That's exactly what you want when any type of starter goes down."
When they face the Cardinals on Sunday, the tight end hopes they can carry their momentum from their previous game so they can come out on top after their next game.
The tight end knows it won't be easy, however, as the tough Cardinals defense poses a big challenge for them by being equipped with players like Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Patrick Peterson, Yeremiah Bell and Tyrann Mathieu.
"Those are guys that we have to focus on and hopefully contain," he said. "You're hardly ever going to stop a real good player, you just want to contain and not let them have that big of an impact. But this is the NFL and that's the nature of the beast. They're always going to have some good players on the other side of the ball. It's going to be a challenge for us, but hopefully we're up for it."
A good week of practice and a solid game plan is what you need to face a defense like that, and Gonzalez is confident that the Falcons have both. He's also pleased with how much the offense feeds off each other and with the progress they've had, while once again reiterating that he's with the only team he wants to play for.
With a win at home last weekend, the next step is arriving at Arizona prepared and being able to win their first game on the road and then taking the rest of the season from there. "We can't afford to lose too many more games around here," he said. "Everybody knows that, it's no secret. So if we want to get to where we want to go, we've got to put it together. We've got to get on a roll here. We have to take it one game at a time and try to get one win at a time because that's the only way to get to where we want to go — and that's the playoffs."